Program Profile: University of Kentucky

August 7, 2012

Recognizing the need to tackle global health burdens from a multidisciplinary perspective, the University of Kentucky, which calls itself “UK” established in May 2008 a twinning partnership between its School of Journalism and Telecommunications and the Zambia Institute of Mass Communication Educational Trust (ZAMCOM)

 Program Highlight: Project funding from PEPFAR via USAID in Zambia. In Zambia, UK works with ZAMCOM, Zambian print and broadcast media, the Gender in Development Division and the Ministry of Education.

Partnership Focus: UK faculty work with ZAMCOM to 1) develop and implement journalism programs focused on improving reporting on HIV and AIDS and 2) conduct on-going training in this area, and to strengthen the media in Zambia overall.

Projects in Zambia: A community radio program that develops a Community Correspondents Corps, and a partnership between radio stations and village health provider organizations. The program enables persons living with HIV or AIDS to share their stories on air, to reduce the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS, and encourage testing and treatment.  Along the same lines, the program also includes work with a monthly newspaper supplement that focuses on healthcare, youth empowerment, and the reduction of gender-based violence. The supplement is distributed in secondary schools throughout Zambia and is written by ZAMCOM students.

Program Length
University of Kentucky’s School of Journalism and Telecommunications conducts  two-week long trainings for community radio stations and community health groups as well as one-to-two-day trainings for media advertising salespeople and secondary school teachers.

Faculty: 6 members of the UK School of Journalism and Telecommunications faculty have been involved: Beth E. Barnes, Director and Professor, School of Journalism and Telecommunications; Chike Anyaegbunam, Associate Professor, Integrated Strategic Communication; Mel Coffee, Assistant Professor, Journalism; Al Cross, Associate Professor, Journalism; Alyssa Eckman, Associate Professor, Integrated Strategic Communication; Kakie Urch, Assistant Professor, Journalism.


CUGH Member Faculty Profile: Dominic Allain, University of Alberta

August 7, 2012

Dominic Allain

Emergency Medicine, Director

University of Alberta

Dr. Dominic Allain’s partnership with global health began at a very early age.  He was enthusiast about indigenous cultures, social justice, and human rights while in junior high and in high school, and during his undergraduate studies, volunteered in Central America (mainly Guatemala, initially).

Says Dr. Allain, his undergraduate education and his fieldwork in Central America offered him the chance to learn to speak Spanish. His “passion for global health was confirmed” after a few volunteer experiences as a medical student in Central America, Cuba, and West Africa, and has continued growing since.

Dr. Allain’s international experience is vast and rich: Peer health education in rural Gambia; rural indigenous health in Guatemala; pediatric medicine and teaching in Ghana; research training and teaching in Uganda; disaster relief work during a malnutrition crisis in rural Haiti; rural health in Cuba, indigenous health in the Amazon in Ecuador; and pediatric emergency medicine work in Oaxaca, Mexico.

While all his experiences have been memorable, he says his participation in relief efforts after Haiti’s earthquake in January 2010 is among his most rewarding.  Given the magnitude of the disaster, the immense loss of life, thousands injured, the huge impact on the country and on the mental health of its population, his participation with the disaster relief effort was challenging but also an outstanding international experience.   “In this situation of crisis,” he says, “teamwork and the dedication of the volunteers made this experience quite memorable.”

Dr. Allain’s interests in global health include: Medical education in developing countries; elective experiences for medical students and residents; pediatric and neonatal resuscitation skills in developing countries; pediatric injury prevention; pediatric trauma; indigenous health; disaster management; and relief work.  Dr.  Allain is moved to helping educate others (especially learners) about global health issues and share with them some of the lessons and “pearls” that he learned over the past several years:

On Global Health Education training should include the teaching of human rights, socioeconomic and healthcare inequities around the world and their relationships to medicine, healthcare delivery, and disparities in health outcomes. Physicians and healthcare workers (including medical students and residents), should leave their “comfort zones” of developed countries’ clinics and hospitals where much is available in terms of services and technology, and experience on a volunteer basis and the many challenges that communities and healthcare workers in developing countries must face and adapt to on a daily basis.

On Globalization and CooperationThe world is a different place in 2012.  Increasing travel, immigration, and communication systems bring us closer and make us more aware of health problems of people from different countries.  Despite major efforts by so many, infectious diseases are still fundamental causes of morbidity and mortality in developing countries.  The developed world should commit and work for the improvement of these complex issues. 

On Global Health as a Multidisciplinary Area of Study– One of the most important challenges that the global health movement faces is in the lens we use to view health issues. Global health does not refer only to medical work in developing countries. Global health incorporates issues such as poverty, human rights and social justice, at home and abroad. It looks at health problems from beyond a medical perspective. To tackle these health problems in developing countries, students, faculty, programs and universities must understand these complexities and how they affect us. Understanding that health problems need to be seen from multiple perspectives will help our learners become better physicians and instill an open mind and willingness to help those with the greatest needs – wherever they decide to practice.     

On Changing Medical Curricula – In medical schools and residency programs, space and time is limited in most curricula already. Therefore it can be a challenge to add new ideas and new sessions into a pre-existing curriculum. It can also be a challenge to have new overseas electives recognized by certain programs, and this highlights the importance of having well-thought out objectives and goals for the rotation in advance, and solid logistics in place before the learner arrives.


Erin Reynolds, University of Iowa, PhD Candidate in Epidemiology

June 26, 2012

There was a time when Erin Reynolds thought she was going to study medicine. However, when she completed her undergraduate studies with degrees in Microbiology and History, those degrees – and an aversion to blood – led her to the realization that medicine was not for her.

While pursuing her history degree, Erin became fascinated with the history of medicine, particularly the social aspects of disease discussed in Paul Farmer’s Infections and Inequalities. While learning about health grievances around the world in a “History of International Health” class, she decided that she wanted to contribute to the alleviation of health inequalities. It seemed like the universe agreed. Within a few days of the decision, she saw a Peace Corps recruitment poster with the message: “Life is calling. How far will you go?”  At that moment, Erin’s life changed dramatically.  She had plans to secure a PhD in Microbiology, but shifted gears and applied to Boston University’s Master’s International (MI) Program. Per Erin, the MI Program combines an MPH program with 27 months of field experience in the Peace Corps. This combination produces graduates who are especially adept at serving in international public health contexts.  Says Erin, her experience in the MI Program and the Peace Corps helped her grow as a person and a scientist, and started her down the path of public service which she hopes to continue after graduation.

Erin’s academic interests are diverse. Her favorite global health issues include infectious diseases, vaccination programs, and environmental exposures. She also has has strong interests in infectious disease epidemiology, especially vector-borne diseases, sexually transmitted diseases, and zoonotic diseases. Her master’s thesis, A critical review of the existing literature concerning Willingness to Pay studies on insecticide-treated bednets and an analysis of the National Bednet Campaign in Togo, Africa combined her love of malaria and her experiences in the Peace Corps. Erin’s doctoral thesis, Exploring chikungunya fever in Southern India: A needs assessment, educational intervention, and evaluation demonstrated not just a keen interest in vector-borne diseases, but also in program design and evaluation.

While her interest in zoonotic diseases was both home-grown and nurtured abroad, it was a course within her PhD program that sparked it. Her experiences growing up in Iowa and visits to agricultural areas in India and Africa taught her the importance of working relationships with agricultural workers and veterinarians. Given the number of newly emerging infectious diseases that are zoonotically-based, Erin was intrigued by this area of field work. As a Peace Corps volunteer, one of her primary duties was to assist local health clinic efforts in promoting childhood vaccinations. Also high on Erin’s list of favorite global health topics is vaccination programs, both domestic and international. Having worked as a lead poisoning education outreach specialist in Vermont and as a volunteer for her local HazMat team, Erin finds environmental exposures an interesting and important field of study.

Erin has had the opportunity to travel quite a bit: Studying abroad during undergrad; Peace Corps in West Africa; and collecting her dissertation data in southern India. She thoroughly enjoyed her time spent in Tamil Nadu, and would love to continue exploring India.  She is currently seeking work that involves epidemiology and Global Public Health. She’d love to work in malaria prevention, but since she finds so much of global public health fascinating, would be happy with any number of positions. She is looking both at the CDC and nongovernmental organizations; and whether she lands in a position in the United States or overseas doesn’t really matter. It would be a bonus though, she says, if her professional life provides the opportunity to travel or live abroad. “So whether I end up in Washington DC, Atlanta, or someplace in Africa, I’ll be happy as long as I’m working in global public health!” she says.


May 16 2012: Public Health Institute Hosting Event at University of Texas Southwestern Medical School (Dallas)

May 9, 2012

For decades, the United States has been a global leader in advancing public health around the world. Join us on May 16th  for this exciting event, in which a diverse group of experts will speak about how public and private investments in women’s health and rights can help the U.S. continue to achieve broad and sustained global health outcomes around the world.

Dr. Fiemu Nwariaku, (Moderator) Associate Dean for Global Health at UT Southwestern Medical Center
Dr. Doyin Oluwole, Executive Director of the Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon Partnership
Dr. Kenneth Leveno, Chair in Obstetrics and Gynecology at UT Southwestern Medical Center
Eva Burgos, General Coordinator for the Public Health Institute’s GoJoven Belize Program
Dr. Suzanne Petroni, Vice President of Global Health at the Public Health Institute

RSVP: cmeregistrations@utsouthwestern.edu

This event is co-sponsored by the Public Health Institute, The UT Southwestern Medical Center, and the George W. Bush Institute.

For more information on the event check out: http://dialogue4health.ning.com/events/the-importance-of-women-s-health-in-achieving-global-health


Earth2Block

March 27, 2012

Some people may be familiar with the concept of “Earth Building”, the practice of constructing with natural and readily available materials such as clay, straw and stone. Despite its labor intensity, this ancient practice has been applauded as

an inexpensive alternative to building a stable and secure home in the latest wave of the environmental movement.

Team developing Earth2Block

The dense populations found in the earthquake prone regions of South East Asia has shown a high demand for low-cost housing that can stand up to the seismic activity that plagues the area. A project from CA Polytechnic State University called Earth2Block is using earth building technology to help supply that kind of housing to communities in need. Their innovative block press and accompanying instruction manual allows anyone to create an environmentally-friendly and secure home that won’t collapse in an earthquake. Earth2Block partnered with an NGO in Thailand who helps them to produce and distribute the presses.

The block press is used to create interlocking compressed earth blocks (ICEB’s) from a particular combination of silt, clay, sand, water and cement. Traditional cement blocks are made a high cement content, which makes them expensive, but ICEB’s require only half the amount of cement as a traditional block. The blocks are dried after being pressed and when they are stacked with rebar, they create a stable home that will allow residents enough time to escape in an earthquake before collapsing.

This project has been highly successful because it provides a basic need, low-cost shelter, and because it is a simple technology to implement. Communities can purchase a press together for the price of $1,700 US and rebuild all the homes in their community themselves with minimal training. Even more amazing is the fact that Earth2Block isn’t seeking to profit from this project, they have not patented the press and are hoping to reach the point where they can distribute the presses for free. As Polytech student Nicholas Kennedy explained, “You can’t put a price on safety.” No wonder they took home the first place prize in the 2012 NCIIA Open Minds Competition!

-Katia Chikasuye focus in environmental studies and global health

http://nciia.org/openminds/2012/iceb

 


GiraDora

March 27, 2012

It’s a human-powered washer and spin dryer to increase the efficiency and improve the experience of washing clothes by hand.  It was developed after a 10-day field trip to Cerro Verde, an urban slum in Lima Peru.  After inquiring the community about their water needs the GiraDora team established that clothe washing was one of the most burdensome activities for the community.  By using a washboard and scrubbing each article individually, washing could take upwards of five hours. With GiraDora, the women are able to complete a load in a fraction of the time by agitating them simultaneously in a system more akin to a conventional washing machine.  GiraDora is more efficient and saves the user time because it washes clothes by the load versus individual articles.  If marketed, Giradora can become the most affordable device to wash clothes for low-income families.

GiraDora has multiple health benefits: reduces incidence of wrist injury; because GiraDora acts like a centrifuge, removing the majority of moisture from clothing, it drastically reduces drying times on a clothesline, hampering mold growth; the self-contained unit eliminates the need to constantly submerge ones hands in cold water, which causes skin conditions and much discomfort in winter. The self-contained unit also allows women to wash clothes indoors in their home in cold or rainy weather.

GiraDora costs $40 and more than doubles productivity, increases health of women and children, and affords the opportunity to begin breaking the poverty cycle.  The only competitor that GiraDora has is electrically powered which is inexistent or defficient in low-income communities  While providing a more comfortable, ergonomic, and efficient way to clean clothes, GiraDora also affords opportunities to generate income.

Solange Madriz, Global Health Masters Student at University of California, San Francisco

http://nciia.org/baldeandgiradora

http://www.dellchallenge.org/projects/giradora-safe-agua


Women Entrepreneurs in Urban Settlements: Session at the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA) Conference 2012

March 27, 2012

Renee A. Botta, Karen Loeb with an energetic team associated with the University of Denver are attempting to combat lack of proper sanitation in an innovative way.

Urban sanitation is very difficult especially in heavily populated slum areas. Most slum populations are growing faster than availability and access to sanitation. Sanitation and hygiene is a leading cause of thousands of preventable deaths. It is estimated that one in five children in slum areas die due to diarrhea resulting from the lack of proper sanitation.

The team at the University of Denver created a program that not only addresses the need for better hygiene in the slums but also provides work to women in the community. One aspect of the program uses a mixture of local women and community health workers to produce locally made soap and teach people the importance of washing their hands and hygiene.

In many community health projects people can be very energetic and diligent about what they have learnt, but that excitement is hard to sustain. After sometime, people fall back into their old ways and to habits that prohibit good health. With this program, they have combated that challenge by empowering the local women who sell the soap who also work as community educators, continuously teaching the importance of good hygiene. It is in the best interest of the local women who sell the soap for the community to continue to use the soap.  Simply the more soap people consume the more of the product they need, improving the soap business. Continuing education and push for behaviorally change is coming from these entrepreneurs because in the end it benefits their business. Interesting way that local entrepreneurs are addressing sustainability and hygiene!

http://nciia.org/


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