pursues multidisciplinary approach to global health issues
water and air. Good schools. Reliable utilities. Successful economies.
Supportive governments. These and other elements contribute to
the premise that good health is an unassailable universal human
value. To make progress in this area, the University inaugurated
its new multidisciplinary Center for Global Health Oct. 11 with
a discussion session and banquet at the International Residential
center is develaoping multidisciplinary global health projects
to broaden and expand on the international health care initiatives
already established by the Medical Schools Division of Geographic
and International Medicine and the Office of International Health.
Researchers from several schools and departments University-wide,
including law, biology, environmental sciences, education and
public policy are among those who will work together on the projects.
new center offers a rich opportunity for people from across Grounds
to build bridges with each other and with our colleagues around
the world to seek ways to alleviate the diseases of poverty,
said Dr. Richard L. Guerrant, the centers director and the
Thomas H. Hunter Professor of International Medicine. Members
of the center will actively participate in and help lead efforts
in all priority areas of the University, in research, education,
public service and international relations.
health doesnt mean just being free of disease, said
Dr. Alex Owusu-Ofori, a medical fellow from Ghana who is studying
tropical medicine at U.Va. Keeping people healthy involves
much more than doctors; it requires infrastructure, good government,
education, a clean environment, good economies. Students from
all fields have the opportunity through this center to look for
ways to use their skills for the betterment of humankind.
Center for Global Health is one of the first examples of an increasing
emphasis on cross-disciplinary, international programs resulting
from the work of the Virginia 2020 Commission on International
Activities, headed by Vice Provost William Quandt.
a target of $20 million in funding, the center has three primary
plans: to establish fellowships for visiting students from other
countries in a variety of disciplines; to provide scholarships
for U.Va. students and faculty to work on health issues in other
countries; and to develop an interdisciplinary curriculum on global
sending our students and faculty to other nations, and by bringing
people here from other nations, we will profoundly change ourselves
as an institution, Guerrant said.
more than 20 years Guerrant has led medical exchange programs
in several countries in Africa, Asia and South America. He plans
to broaden this work through the center by looking at the issues
of health and poverty beyond a strictly medical perspective.
specialty is tropical medicine the treatment of a huge
variety of infectious diseases, including cholera, dengue, yellow
fever, typhoid, diphtheria and others diseases that originated
in the tropics but can now be found the world over as humans and
resources travel fluidly across borders.
of the poor can and do become diseases of the rich, he said.
Guerrant and his staff and students have been working primarily
in Brazil through a research and clinical collaboration with the
Federal University of Ceara.
doctoral student in education, Breyette Lorntz, is investigating
the impact of early childhood disease on school performance with
children in Brazil. She is playing a key role with Guerrant in
helping the center develop multidisciplinary programs to improve
health in the developing world.
working to help our university address global health issues, existing
student interest in global health, and practical applications
of academic theories across disciplines using global health as
the focus, she said.
than 100 U.Va. medical students, faculty and fellows have practiced
medicine and conducted research in Brazil through Guerrants
program, and more than 60 international fellows and students have
participated in the exchange program. All have returned to their
home countries to lead the development of new health programs
and poverty in the developing world are whole-world problems,
Guerrant said. Geographical borders cannot contain disease
or poverty. We are not living in isolation. What affects our neighbors
also affects us.