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Posts Tagged ‘global health studies’

Can Congress help stoke the interest in—and effectiveness of—university global health programs?

Who better to take up that question than John Porter, a former member of Congress who chaired the House appropriations subcommittee with jurisdiction over NIH. Porter challenged the university global health leaders at this week’s Consortium of Universities for Global Health meeting, held at the NIH, to advocate before Congress for a greater global health commitment. 

Porter described PEPFAR as “a very successful program by every measure,” which has “helped to build health care infrastructure, trained health care workers, and showed that the US cared.” He also lauded the Global Health Initiative proposed by the Obama Administration, but argued that more funding is needed, above what has been proposed.

“Appropriations is all about choosing priorities. It can be done,” Porter said. (more…)

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This post is by Center Director Christine Lubinski, who attended today’s meeting at the NIH of the Consortium of Universities for Global Health.

When Dr. Eric Goosby, Ambassador at large and the US global AIDS coordinator, addressed academic leaders of global health programs at a gathering outside Washington today, he spent most of his short talk underscoring two concepts that dominate this Administration’s discussions of global health: sustainability and integration.

He also spoke about the Obama Administration’s Global Health Initiative (GHI) as a “seed for a broad discussion moving  from bilateral to multilateral actions.” Dr. Goosby, in addressing the Consortium of Universities for Global Health, stated that a bilateral effort is not sustainable—by which he presumably meant PEPFAR. He went on to say: “There is not a will for that on the Hill and there is an interest in partnerships and a shared burden with the global community—for both caring for HIV-infected individuals as well as other conditions.”

Dr. Goosby spoke about the challenge of working to transfer the leadership for development and implementing systems of care to PEPFAR countries’ public health systems. PEPFAR has shown that there is the ability to respond, and now the technical expertise can be moved to the local government, he said. Dr. Goosby noted that PEPFAR staff are working with governments to develop national, provincial and local systems of care to assess unmet needs and to find resources to make allocation decisions based on the prioritization of unmet needs.

Integration became his theme as he spoke about expanding treatment capacity in terms of developing  a continuum of treatment and prevention services that would include identifying and treating a variety of primary care conditions, such as hypertension, immunizations, referral to family planning and reproductive health services. Integration would begin with patients already engaged in PEPFAR-financed systems of care, but he also mentioned special outreach to women.  If governments are not willing to engage, Dr. Goosby said, he and his team will look to  work with NGOs  and faith-based organizations to develop care systems.  (more…)

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 This post is by Center Director Christine Lubinski, who attended today’s meeting at the NIH of the Consortium of Universities for Global Health. 

How best to nurture and capitalize on a spike in interest in global health studies? Figuring that out is one goal of this week’s two-day meeting of the Consortium of Universities for Global Health (CUGH).

Haile Debas, MD, of the University of California, San Francisco, and current chair of the leadership group for CUGH, reported on the evolution and next steps for a consortium that now boasts the participation of 58 universities and a coalition of funders, including the Bill & Melinda  Gates  Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, NIAID, and the  Fogarty International Center

CUGH is moving forward to incorporate as a 501C3 in the District of Columbia and has identified a number of key priorities, including global health education, university collaboration, the creation of a platform for universities to facilitate work overseas, policy development and advocacy promoting global health, an annual scientific meeting, and international partnerships for human and institutional capacity building.

Dr. Debas also noted that CUGH would begin building collaborative relationships with AAMC, the Association of Schools of Public Health, the Global Health Council and others.  He described CUGH’s policy goals as promoting the role and need of university-based global health programs to Congress, the executive branch, the private sector and the public.

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Editor’s Note: Center Director Christine Lubinski will be live blogging from a meeting at NIH today of university leaders hoping to seize on the surge in interest in global health studies.

The number of students enrolled in global health programs in the US and Canada has more than doubled in the last three years, according to a survey released today by the Consortium of Universities for Global Health (CUGH).

CUGH is a relatively new organization, formed in response to this surge in interest on college campuses in global health studies. CUGH leaders are meeting just outside Washington today, at the National Institutes of Health, to discuss how they can make the most of this trend by providing new and expanded opportunities for young people who want to help stave off disease in the developing world.

The Center’s Christine Lubinski will be live-blogging from the two-day CUGH meeting, which will feature presentations by five university presidents and several top Obama Administration officials, including Dr. Eric Goosby, Obama’s global AIDS coordinator, and Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, a special advisor to the White House on health policy.

“You cannot overstate the energy and enthusiasm on university campuses today with students who want to work on global health issues,” said University of Washington President Mark A. Emmert, according to today’s CUGH news release.

Other participants said the spike in interest should get university leaders thinking about fresh ways to approach—and to fund—global health education.

“We must think of health education in a different way,” said Tachi Yamada, president of the Global Health Program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “We need more research, more instruction and more ideas on how to tackle some of the most difficult challenges in global health.”

The CUGH survey shows that:

*the number of undergraduate students enrolled in global health programs increased from 1,286 to 2,687 over the last three years;

*the number of graduate students enrolled in such programs has increased from 949 in 2006 to 2,010 this year.

For more information, check back here for posts on the meeting, go to CUGH’s website, and read our earlier item on a July briefing on this topic by Michael Merson, director of the Duke Global Health Institute and one of CUGH’s founders.

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Maybe it’s Bono and George Clooney. Maybe’s it’s Facebook and Twitter. Maybe it’s the never-ending news reports about SARS or swine flu.

Whatever the reason, universities across the US are seeing a surge of interest in global health studies. And they’re responding by expanding programs that teach students, in a multi-disciplinary fashion, about improving public health and achieving health equity around the world.

This phenomenon presents immense opportunities, as well as fresh challenges, that academics, political leaders, and physician-scientists need to seize on to sustain the swell in interest. That was the pitch from by Michael Merson, director of the Duke Global Health Institute, at a briefing in Washington today, sponsored by the Center for Strategic & International Studies, which focused on the expansion of global health studies. (more…)

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