Feb. 9, 2007

New cross-campus Global Health Program to offer grad program, undergrad minor, internships, lecture series

student in Tanzania
Weill Cornell medical student Anna Jackson (in blue shirt) is doing an internship in global health in Tanzania, and nutrition doctoral candidate Jacqueline Kung'U (to Jackson's left) is researching global health for her dissertation. On the far right is Sabra Said Khalfan, a recent MPS graduate from Cornell's International Development program.

To address such pressing health challenges in the world as HIV/AIDS and malnutrition in developing nations, Cornell has established an innovative Global Health Program, a collaborative effort between Cornell's Ithaca campus and Weill Cornell Medical College (WCMC) in New York City.

Funded by the National Institutes of Health and Cornell, the program will be the home to academic, research, internship and outreach collaborations related to global health issues across the two campuses.

A multidisciplinary undergraduate minor and professional and graduate programs will be developed by WCMC and the Colleges of Human Ecology, Arts and Sciences, Veterinary Medicine, and Agriculture and Life Sciences. The program is based in the Divisions of International Medicine and Infectious Diseases at WCMC and of Nutritional Sciences in Ithaca.

"Achieving global health will require new approaches and solutions to solving the burdens of poverty, malnutrition and infectious disease, coupled with advances in sustainable agriculture, development and genomics," said Rebecca Stoltzfus, professor of nutritional sciences and co-director of the new program with Warren D. Johnson Jr., M.D., the B.H. Kean Professor of Tropical Medicine at WCMC.

"Working toward this end, the Global Health Program will be the site of unique and innovative multidisciplinary collaborations, combining expertise in medicine, nutrition, health policy and more," added Johnson.

Global Health Program Spring Lecture Series

• Feb. 20, Dr. Roy (Trip) M. Gulick, Weill Cornell, "HIV/AIDS 2007 -- Where Are We?" at 4 p.m., Biotech G10. Welcome and introduction of the lecture series by College of Human Ecology Dean Lisa Staiano-Coico.

• March 29, Les Roberts, Columbia University, "Civilian Deaths in Iraq: The Growing Gulf Between Science and U.S. Federal Policies," 4 p.m., Statler Auditorium.

• April 4, Cornell President David Skorton, M.D., will lead a panel discussion with Warren D. Johnson Jr., M.D., WCMC; Alice Pell, Cornell International Institute for Food, Agriculture and Development; Patrick Stover, Cornell nutritional sciences; and Billie Jean Isbell, anthropology at Cornell, to discuss "Cornell's Engagement for Capacity Development for Global Health and Development," 4 p.m., location to be announced.

• April 19, Jim Lavery, University of Toronto, "Ethics and International Research," 4 p.m., Biotech G10.

The undergraduate minor, which is now in its final approval phase, will focus on research, service and training to address health problems that transcend national boundaries, that disproportionately affect the resource-poor and are best addressed by multidisciplinary solutions. An expanded curriculum in the area will be taught by faculty from several Cornell colleges, including WCMC.

For example, a new course, Introduction to Global Health, taught by Stoltzfus and a team of faculty this semester, explores such contemporary issues as HIV/AIDS, maternal mortality and malaria by examining social, economic, political, environmental and biological factors that structure global health problems.

The Global Health Lecture Series, free and open to the public, will address these issues throughout the semester.

In addition to conducting laboratory-based research on issues related to global health with researchers on the Ithaca and New York City campuses, students enrolled in the minor will be eligible for global health internships in Bangladesh, Ghana, Peru, Tanzania and at three sites in Brazil.

To develop the program, Stoltzfus and Johnson worked with colleagues Kathleen Rasmussen on the Ithaca campus and WCMC's Daniel W. Fitzgerald, M.D., with support from a seed grant from the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies. An advisory board comprising faculty, graduate students and undergraduate students from across the university is guiding the development of the new program.

Students interested in the minor should visit the Global Health Program office in B15 Savage Hall.