At the Office of Career Services’ fifth annual Global Health Fair on Thursday afternoon, over 250 students met with a wide variety of global health organizations.
Event organizers Loredana George and Oona B. Ceder of OCS said they have observed a growing interest in public health among students. In 2007, the University approved a secondary field in Global Health and Health Policy.
Ceder said that she hoped the fair would allow students to gain awareness of the various opportunities, including paying jobs, available in public health…
…OCS staff members said that attendance was up at this year’s fair, even though the event was one hour shorter than it was last year. Robin Mount, the director of the Office of Career, Research, and International Opportunities, said she had never seen a fair fill up so quickly.
At the fair representing the consulting company Global Health Strategies, Audrey A. White ’10 said that she attended similar events as an undergraduate, but that they never had such high attendance.
Erica A. Johnson ’15 and Jake W. C. Silberg ’15 said they were inspired to attend the event because they are currently enrolled in University Professor Paul E. Farmer’s popular global health Gen Ed class Societies of the World 25. Partners in Health—the non-profit which Farmer co-founded in 1987—was one of the presenters at the fair.
The undergraduate student body at Harvard may be diverse, but most of us like chocolate, and most of us also like saving the world. Sounds like we are the perfect market for a group of students who are selling chocolate bars to help fund medical supplies that they will bring to Honduras on a January trip.
The 26-student group is part of the Harvard Undergraduate Global Health Forum. They plan to set up a dental clinic and provide other medical aid in Honduras.
Edirin E. Sido ’14, who said she wants to become a dentist so that she can promote oral hygiene in her parents’ native Nigeria, is eagerly selling candy and looking forward to the trip.
“If you don’t take care of [a small dental problem], it can get worse and you can have a really big problem,” Sido said, noting that there are just 0.57 physicians per 1000 people in Honduras.
To purchase the $1 chocolate bars and contribute to the purchase of medical supplies, email Sido at email@example.com.
The Harvard Undergraduate Global Health Forum held a panel on tobacco control and mitigating global tobacco use yesterday.
The United States has seen a dramatic decline in tobacco use since its peak in the 1950s, though most developing countries are now seeing a surge in smoking rates, according to Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Dean Allan M. Brandt.
One of the greatest difficulties in preventing tobacco use is the difference in tobacco regulation across countries.
“There is a great future in the tobacco market and it is in the developing world,” Brandt said. “Global health is about the relations of problems across nations.”
Most tobacco control issues now focus on the developing world and spreading awareness of the health risks associated with smoking through government policy.
“You need to make sure there is no local corruption, a free press, and a strong judicial system,” Harvard School of Public Health Professor Gregory N. Connolly said. He is fond of the acronym “KILLS: Keep It Loud and Local Stupid” as a basic approach to working with tobacco control in developing countries.
The World Health Organization has established uniform standards for production, taxation, distribution, and advertising of tobacco products. Currently, 172 countries have ratified the standards laid out in the WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. The United States has signed but not ratified the treaty.
Connolly said this is because the United States values the free market over global health. Connolly said that in Thailand, the government was forced to permit the importation of U.S. cigarettes, even though it was shown that this would probably increase smoking rates and result in worse health outcomes.
In the first world, the health concerns associated with smoking have led some groups to propose a divestiture from tobacco companies. Harvard divested its tobacco securities in the early 1990s, according to Connolly.
Connolly advocated for other academic institutions to follow Harvard’s example.
“You should write an admissions guide warning people that Yale takes tobacco money,” Connolly joked, referencing the professorship in wildlife ecology and policy sciences endowed by former Phillip Morris CEO, and Yale alum, Joseph F. Cullman.
In recent years, the popularity of Global and Health and Health Policy has increased markedly as students have become involved with the field in academic and extracurricular ways. The most prominent example is the academic juggernaut of Societies of the World 25: Case Studies in Global Health, which is taught in part by superstar University Professor Paul Farmer and spawns graduates that bring major course ideas to a variety of other academic areas and departments. Additionally, the Harvard Global Health Institute offers multiple summer internships and fellowships in the field for undergraduates, two of which are cosponsored by the Institute of Politics. There are multiple, undergraduate clubs and publications that deal with the issue—the Harvard Undergraduate Global Health Forum, the Harvard Global Health and AIDS Coalition, the Harvard College Global Health Review, the Harvard College Health Policy Review, and the Harvard College Health Management Group all come to mind. The GHHP secondary thus builds an academic framework for what is otherwise a loose collection of interest groups circling around the same subfield of development, global medicine, an nutrition.
“This past summer, four Harvard students traveled to Tanzania to work with the private medical sector and propose ways to improve the quality of health care offered.
Rachel B. Bervell ’13, Byran Dai ’11, Anita J. Joseph ’12, and Peggy Su ’13 spent eight weeks in Tanzania working with the Association for Private Health Care Facilities.
The Association was founded in August 1994 to provide a forum for the discussion of different aspects of the nation’s private health care sector.
According to their website, the main objective of the organization is ‘to promote by all possible means and at all times the attainment of the highest possible physical and mental wellbeing of all people in Tanzania.’
Su said the students were unsure what project they needed to pursue upon arriving in Tanzania, but were inspired after shadowing a quality improvement officer to inspect and approve facilities.
‘Health care needs are pretty different, so we created a quality assessment template which is nine categories long,’ Su said. ‘It’s ways for health facilities to improve the quality of their care regardless of their size.’
The students worked with three types of facilities and created a template in which they would assess what the facilities had and what they needed.
These observations would then be used to compile a consulting report.
‘The most important part of our project was that we gave them recommendations that didn’t cost any money,’ she said. ‘They typically expect foreigners to tell them to do something that requires a lot of money.’
‘Giving them ideas that are at low or no cost is an additional incentive to help have these recommendations come to fruition.’
The students became involved with the Association for Private Health Facilities in Tanzania through the Harvard Undergraduate Global Health Forum.
They visited 23 hospitals during their stay and offered recommendations for 19 facilities.”
“From working on frog leg regeneration in Chile, to examining water project pilot protocols in the Dominican Republic, to studying rural Chinese medicine, Harvard undergraduates interested in global health issues are devising their own ways to delve into the field—even in the absence of an institutionalized department.
These students say they have used their creativity and initiative to gain theoretical and practical understandings of global health in order to make contributions to the field…
…Jeffrey B. Low ’11, who serves as president of Harvard Undergraduate Global Health Forum, attributes the popularity to global health’s interdisciplinary nature.
‘There’s truly something for everyone,’ he says. ‘You don’t have to be a doctor, you don’t have to have a Ph.D. to make a difference.’”
“…when disaster struck in Haiti on January 12th of the new year, it didn’t take long for some of these same stressed students, who had for so long been absorbed by the demands of exam life, to step up for something—and someone—outside themselves.
Armed with their organizational capabilities, students in groups like the Harvard Undergraduate Global Health Forum, Harvard Global Health and AIDS Coalition, Harvard Global Health Review, and Human Rights Advocates began contacting each other through an influx of emails in the hopes of pulling together to help their Haitian brothers…
…for the diverse members of Harvard for Haiti, shopping period was not limited only to the hustle and bustle of class experimentation. Instead, this time was crucial for coordinating efforts on campus. After weeks of J-term planning on the internet, their plans had finally come to fruition, first with a supply drive (donations are being sent to Faith and Love in Action: faithandloveinaction.org), followed shortly by an Uno’s pizza-sponsored fundraiser, and culminating in a widely-supported benefit concert organized by Harvard students and the Office of Fine Arts to be held in Sanders Theatre on February 12. Its purpose will be to showcase Haitian culture and bring Harvard’s collective mind back to the suffering island.
According to Nataliya Nedzhvetskaya ’13, aside from the more important goals of raising funds and donations for immediate effort on the ground in Haiti, one specific mission ‘is keeping Haiti in the minds of the Harvard community after the media buzz has died down.’”
“Two tuberculosis survivors watched their stories told on film for the first time yesterday evening in Harvard Hall at a test screening of a documentary about the 20th-century tuberculosis epidemic.
‘There were a couple of places I couldn’t see through the tears,’ said Barbara Parkos, who watched herself on screen in ‘On the Lake: Life and Love in a Distant Place.’
Parkos said the film brought back memories of living in a sanitarium, where she was forced to sleep outside in an attempt to combat the disease. Watching scenes of beds lined up on outdoor porches ‘brought it back so vividly I felt cold.’
The hour-long documentary, which focuses on the epidemic in twentieth century and the state of tuberculosis in the modern world, played to an audience of the about 50 people.
Both the director, David Bettencourt, and the writer, G. Wayne Miller ’76, were present to answer questions after the screening.
Miller said that when he began working on a film about tuberculous, he ‘knew what any basic person would know—it’s a bad disease.’ But after talking with survivors and researching the state of the disease today, ‘My eyes were truly opened.’
Even the survivors depicted in the film said that they learned more about the disease. The documentary ‘educated me about an illness I had, Parkos said.
Gale Perkins, another tuberculosis survivor featured in the film, spent 12 years in a hospital, from the age of three to 15.
She said she hopes this film will help people better understand why she had to stay in the hospital for so long.
Harvard’s Undergraduate Global Health Forum sponsored the screening as part of Global Health Awareness Week.
‘Tuberculosis has been one of the major killers around the world,’ said Vincent Cheng ’11, who helped organize the event. He added that people often lose sight of tuberculous and other infectious diseases in the developing world. After AIDS, tuberculosis is the second most prevalent infectious disease in the world, according to the documentary.
After the screening, the audience was given a questionnaire to identify possible improvements that could be made to the film before its official premiere in February. The documentary is also scheduled to air on PBS on March 23, the eve of national world tuberculosis day, according to a press release.
Miller said he wasn’t nervous to hear audience reactions after the screening.
‘The goal is to get a better film,’ he said.”
“…Ifedayo Kuye (’09), one of the founding members, explained how as a freshman, despite his interest in working on a project related to global health, he had immense difficulty finding an opportunity that would provide him with the experience he desired. His statements echoed the same concerns many other students have expressed, explaining the annoying discrepancy between the enthusiasm many students have for working on development projects abroad and the availability of opportunities. I know I experienced the exact same dilemma as a freshman, exhaustively attempting to navigate the HSPH and Medical School system of professors and internships, failing to find a fitting opportunity until a chance encounter two weeks before the end of the school year somehow landed me in Malawi, Africa. If development work is such a noble goal, should it be easier to pursue?
HUGHF is composed of a number of students, despite their diverse academic and personal backgrounds, who share a passion for global health as the cohesive element. The relaxed atmosphere of the forum allows for members to meet and discuss their perspectives on global health, taking the lead on projects they see as most useful to others on campus.
Global Health Week has been developed as a way to introduce on-members to the different possibilities available for them both on campus and abroad. The series of events designed will allow students to hear from researchers in the field, meet and potentially collaborate with people who already have experience working abroad, and hear about some of the challenges and potential impact they could make. Vijay Jain (’11), explained that ‘the main purpose of global health week is to get as many people motivated as possible about working in the arena of global health, as well as show what opportunities are available to them, both at Harvard and abroad.’ According to Ifedayo, Global Health Week has been created in a way that will be as helpful as possible for facilitating action by students. ‘Harvard has a lot of global health resources, and student son campus who are actively involved. We want to educate people interested, bring them together, and let them share their ideas.’
For those interested in working in global health, the series of events should provide a useful venue for meeting others with similar interests and becoming involved on campus or during the summers…”
Monday, November 10th: Dr. Jim Kim delivers keynote address
Former director of the World Health Organization HIV/AIDS, Dr. Jim Kim now serves as Chair of the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at the Harvard Medical School, Chief of the Division of Global Health Equity at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Director of the Francois Xavier Bagnoud (FXB) Center for Health and Human Rights. Co-founder of the nonprofit medical organization Partners in Health (with Dr. Paul Farmer), he has also been named one of America’s 25 Best Leaders by US News & World Report in 2005, and in 2006 he was listed as one of the top 100 most influential people by time Magazine. In 2003 he received a MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant.
Tuesday, November 11th: Global Health Week Mixer Event
The pub mixer serves as a global health networking event for undergraduate students interested in pursuing international internships or work opportunities in the area of public health. This social mixer intends to provide a fun, relaxed atmosphere, drawing students with significant experience in global health or international development work abroad (as well as some domestically) in order to bring these students in contact with other undergraduates who share similar interests. Students who have worked in all regions of the globe will present their work on a diversity of issues related go Global Health (women’s health, community health care, mental health, HIV/AIDS, etc.) and international development *such as microfinance initiatives in developing nations).
Wednesday, November 12th: Women in Global Health Panel and Dessert Reception
Women’s Center will allow for several of the people experienced on Global Health Work, who will come to speak of some of the challenges that women face in developing countries because of lack of education, viable options to work, and the lack of choices in general. Organized by HUGHF in association with the Harvard College Women’s Center, this event aims to raise awareness about the biggest concerns in international women’s health. Despite the importance of these issues, women’s health is often a grossly ignored sector in developing countries. Though recently renewed efforts at promoting maternal and child health have been made, but in general a lack of resources and prioritization have caused these issues to be ignored. A panel of experts, including Normal Swenson (Harvard School of Public Health) and Katherine Beal (John Snow Consulting) will discuss their perspectives on the most pressing problems facing universal women’s health.
Thursday, November 13th: Expert Panel by Harvard Professors
This panel seeks to show students how issues in the sphere of public health may be addressed from the perspectives of a variety of different disciplines. Professors Max Essex, Felton Earls, Michael Kremer, Dan Brock, and moderator Calestous Juma will discuss the research being done on global health from a variety of different academic disciplines, including economics, social sciences, and medical sciences, exploring the advantages and disadvantages of each and the potential for interaction and collaboration among these varied approaches.
Friday, November 14th: Career Fair at OCS
As a culminating event, HUGHF, in collaboration with the Harvard Office of Career Services, has coordinated a career fair as a way to meet representatives working at several organizations in public health. Come and speak to them if you are interested in a job or internship working abroad or domestically on issues related to global public health.
Selected organizations include:
1. Bienmoyo 2. Borderless World Volunteers 3. Clinton Foundation 4. Doctors for Global Health 5. Foundation for Post Conflict Development 6. Global Health Strategies 7. Global Volunteers 8. Harvard China Care 9. Harvard Project for Sustainable Development 10. International Service Learning 1. Population Services International 12. SIC 13. Unite for Sight 14. Operation Crossroads (Africa) 15. John Snow 16. AED-Satellife 17. Peace Corps 18. Foundation for the International Medical Relief of Children 19. Seeding Labs 20. Action Against Hunger 21. International Women’s Health Coalition
“Students paint three large canvases in front of the Science Center yesterday afternoon, which will be used to decorate a children’s hospital in Rwanda. The event is sponsored by the Undergraduate Global Health Forum.”