Utah Valley Global Health Group

A blog about global health for those living in Utah Valley and their friends.

Global Health Journals

Posted by chads on May 14, 2009

The CORE group has compiled the only list of global health scientific journals that I am aware of. I think it is very helpful. Any other lists out there? Any additions or comments to the list?


Posted in Evidence-based Global Health, Links | 2 Comments »

RESULTS Meeting this Saturday

Posted by chads on May 6, 2009

This Saturday, May 9, the local Utah Valley RESULTS group will meet at 12 noon at at 2198 JFSB on BYU campus. See here for more about RESULTS. Hope to see you there!

Posted in Announcements, RESULTS | Leave a Comment »

Karl Kirby and Rising Star Outreach: Experiences with Leprosy in India

Posted by chads on April 14, 2009

To introduce myself, I’m currently serving as the medical director for Rising Star Outreach (RSO) in India. Chad has asked that I post something about what I”ve been doing over the past 8 months. It’s very difficult to know where to start, but I’m going to give it a shot and then follow-up with more, depending on the questions that follow. I have no special training in tropical medicine or public health, just a long-standing desire to be involved in improving the health care for those most in need. So, I’ll be happy to hear from others with more experience and/or training who have suggestions and comments. I am a family-medicine trained physician and spent the first four years of my career as the physician of a rural Community Health Center in Na’alehu Hawaii. After that, my wife and I felt it was time to do what we’d always said we’d do – find an organization who needed our services in a developing nation. Through Chad, we discovered a need with Rising Star that fit perfectly with our skills and desires. Rising Star Outreach exists to try to assist those who have been afffected by leprosy (although I’m aware that the term Hanson’s disease is preferred among some, I’ll continue to use the term leprosy in this posting because it is the term commonly used here in India). While I work on the medical side of the organization, my wife (who has an education background) assists at the school.

In India, RSO runs a mobile clinic in an attempt to improve the healthcare for the seven colonies it services. At the same time, RSO administers microloans to leprosy afflicted infividuals and offers a boarding school to some of the children from the colonies. I live with my wife and 3 small children on the rural RSO property which also houses the children’s hostels and school. My responsibilities include overseeing the mobile clinic and medical services on site for the children (and other employees). I work closely with a local physician, who is trained as a general practicioner, and a local nurse.

In India, the rates of new leprosy cases are very low. The Indian government and the WHO have made huge efforts to encourage early detection and treatment which are now paying off. The patients whom I treat are not people with active leprosy, but rather people who acquired the disease many years ago, did not receive prompt treatment, and now suffer various disabilities because of it. Because of the nerve damage that has taken place, many of the patients suffer from chronic ulcers, primarily on their lower extremeties. One of our big goals has been to try to find a better way to help these wounds heal. Having done a little extra training in woundcare before arriving, I had certain ideas about what needed to be done to improve healing. However, I soon realized the difficulty in transferring these techniques – the main barriers were lack of similar materials and also the low frequency of our visits.

About a year ago, I was introduced to a surgeon from Mumbai, Dr. Atul Shah, who was holding “camps” to help similarly afflicted individuals treat their wounds. He was giving instruction sessions and handing out small packets with a callous file, bandages, antisceptic, and antibiotic ointment. He was reporting good results through this self-care program. At first I was a little skeptical that this could really have the impact I was looking for, but after several months of treating these patients with little success, I began to see the wisdom in this program. With it’s focus firmly on self-reliance, it fits in well with our efforts to educate the children of the colonies and encourage financial independence.

So, in January, we put together our own self-care kits, and started rolling out this program to the seven colonies we visit. Each colony is visited every 2 weeks. In the past these visits included consultation with the physician and the dispensing of basic medications for general problems as well as bandage changes for those in need. We also provide transportation to a private hospital in Chennai, Sri Ramachandra Medical Center, two or three times a month for patients needing specialty care, procedures, or hospitalization. (This gives them another option for care outside of the government system.) Now, in addition to the other services provided, we meet individually with each patient to assess their wounds which we are following with digital photos. It allows us to provide specific encouragement and reinstruction as they look at their initial photo on our laptop and view the current wound. We’re currently midway through what should be a 4 month program in several of the colonies, with the larger of our 2 colonies being about a month into it. It’s been very exciting to discover that many of the patients are making very good progress, while I saw very little progress in the months before the program. To me, this is a great example of the effectiveness of a simple program that places responsibility with the patients. Clinically, I believe the program is working because it encourages a gradual removal of old deep callous (through soaking the feet and using the callous file) so that it can be replaced with more viable tissue, and it simply encourages more regular care of the wounds.

In addition to the work in the colonies, caring for the medical needs of the 125 boarding students has been a treat. They are a fun group of children who always pose the challenge of figuring out whether they have a serious medical problem that day or just want a little more attention. Thus far, we’ve avoided anything catastrophic, although we’ve had our share of fractures, lacerations, common pediatric infections, and single cases of scopion envenomation, slipped capital femoral epiphysis, and clinically significant Hepatitis A, and Typhoid fever. We’ve begun a program, with the kind help of a local pediatrician, to provide immunizations to the children which are not on the government schedule (next up is Typhoid) which I’m very pleased with. Dr. Jayakumar drives about 40 minutes and provides staff and vaccinnes each month to assist us in this project. We became acquainted when I started taking my own son to him for his 1-year vaccinations.

So, overall, this has been a wonderful experience for me. I have no delusions that the service I offer is any greater than the growth I’m gaining through the medical experiences I’m having as well as the personal growth that comes with service. Hopefully, with the help of others, this can be one step toward increasingly more effective interventions as we strive to assist those with the greatest medical needs.

On another note, RSO is very interested in keeping a health-care professional on campus once I leave. I will be coming back to Utah in May. While the local physician and nurse will still be running the medical services, they live about 40 minutes from campus. To manage the urgent, or potentially emergent, problems that arise with the children and employees, RSO would like to keep a healt-care provider on site. This could be a physician, a PA, a nurse practitioner, or an experienced nurse or EMT. They would also get to assist with the work of the mobile clnic. We are looking for someone who could commit to staying for a significant period of time (close to a year or more). If you or anyone you know is interested, please let me know.

Posted in Announcements, Clinical Tropical Medicine, Guest Bloggers, humanitarian aid, Leprosy, NGOs | 4 Comments »

Best websites: Resources for teaching, presenting or learning global health

Posted by ryanlindsay on March 11, 2009

Chad’s previous post of Hans Rosling’s TED talk reminded me of a list that I have been wanting to post for a while. Below are some of my favorite resources that I have used to help explain or present global health issues. These websites have been passed on to me from past professors and friends. If you have something to add then please share in the comments!

Be your own Hans Rosling and create bubble plots with all sorts of variables.

World Clock
Brings numbers down to a level we can more easily comprehend.

Rx for survival
Great PBS series, with clips and other interactive material.

BBC Survival TV
Nice documentaries on global health shown in their entirety.

Johns Hopkins Free Courseware
The trend in open courseware should make us all happy!

Google trends
Not a perfect model, but an exciting idea on how to track disease outbreaks (obviously wouldn’t work in countries with low access to the web).

Spy on the world’s various outbreaks.

Answers the general question “What is public health?” pretty well for a general audience.

A great resource for speeches on a range of subjects. Be sure to check outy Hans Rosling’s and Bill Gates’ speeches.

Harvard World Health News
Weekly updates from various news sources on global (and domestic) health issues.

Great for demonstrations as you can capture what is going on on your computer screen. Also great for capturing Youtube videos to replay them at BYU!

NPR – Global Health
General global health news from a trusty source.

A repository of lectures on global health.

Facing the Future
Another list of resources (some geared towards teenagers).

Posted in Child Survival, Global Health, Global Health Topics, Links, News, Practical Advice | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Great video lecture on global health, data, and history

Posted by chads on March 6, 2009

See here.

Posted in Links | 1 Comment »

Name Change

Posted by chads on February 18, 2009

You’ll notice that I’ve changed the name of the blog.  While I’ve always liked “Unacceptable,” I think that “Utah Valley Global Health Group” better explains the current activity of the blog.  Let me know what you think.

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

19th Annual BYU Hunger Banquet

Posted by chads on February 12, 2009

This will be the third year in a row that I will be attending BYU’s annual hunger banquet.   Each year I am humbled, inspired, and motivated.  I hope you’ll check out the link and join me there on March 6 or 7 at 7pm. hunger_top

Posted in Announcements | Leave a Comment »

BYU’s 2nd Annual Global Maternal and Child Health Conference

Posted by chads on January 20, 2009

I went to this conference last year and was glad I did.  See here for details.

The Global Maternal and Child Health Conference at BYU is a one-day symposium addressing various mother, newborn, and child health issues with emphasis on a family perspective. The 2009 conference highlights various epidemiological data and scientific information gleaned from the studies conducted of the best researchers and practitioners in the field presented in a series of maternal, neonatal, and child survival articles published in The Lancet.

The conference will emphasize the need to act together on this knowledge and to work collaboratively to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015. Plenary speakers and panelists will discuss family-based solutions, research findings, partnerships models, best practices and methods from the field that have been found to be effective in promoting, achieving, and sustaining the health of mothers, newborns, and children.

The symposium brings together the university community, medical and health sector, government and non-government agencies in an event that brings to the fore the major health needs and issues that compromise the health, future, and life of mothers and children worldwide. The conference is structured as follows:

  1. Morning Plenary Session – features guest speakers with expertise in global health issues
  2. Afternoon Panel Discussions – features presenters sharing research findings as well as best practices and lessons in the field.

Call for Papers

Mother, Newborn, and Child Health Conference

2nd Annual Global Maternal and Child Health Conference

March 20, 2009

Abstracts Due: February 1, 2009

The purpose of the Global Maternal and Child Health Conference at BYU is to provide students, faculty, professionals, and volunteers with an outstanding opportunity to understand successful evidence-based interventions for improving global health. This year the conference will specifically focus on family-based solutions to health challenges, and feature key officials from the Pan American Health Organization.
Paper/Poster Topics:

  • The impact of culture and lifestyle on health outcomes of women and children
  • Family health history as a prevention tool
  • Infectious disease impact on mother, newborn, or child health
  • The role of NGOs in meeting global maternal and child health challenges
  • The impact of primary health care on maternal, newborn, and child health
  • Health outcomes in resource-constrained areas
  • Global health and diversity: maternal/newborn/child issues

Submission Deadline:
Materials must be received by 5:00 p.m. on February 1, 2009. Acknowledgement that materials arrived on time will be sent via e-mail.

Submission Format
All abstracts, not to exceed 300 words (one page), are to be submitted via e-mail to mnch.call.forpapers@gmail.com. Please follow the abstract guidelines listed below according to whether the abstract discusses a research project or an interventional or educational project.

Research: Purposes/Aims; Rationale/Conceptual Basis/Background; Methods; Results; Implications

Project Papers: Purposes/Aims; Rationale/Background; brief description of the undertaking, including the approach, methods, or process used; Outcomes achieved/documented; Conclusions, emphasizing implications for clinical or educational practices; and recommendations for research or future undertakings

Abstract Selection and Notification: The Abstract Selection Committee will meet in February to review and select abstracts and to finalize the conference program and schedule. (The Committee will assign the time of presentation for each podium or poster abstract on the conference schedule. The Abstract Selection Committee reserves the right to accept abstracts as a podium or poster presentation.) If your abstract is accepted for presentation, the first author will be notified around February 20, 2009 by e-mail regarding the presentation time. If there is more than one author, the first author will need to share the information with the other authors.

Conference Registration
Presenter registration fees will be waived, but all presenters must register by phone (801) 422-8925 in order to be counted for name badges and lunches.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Monday Get-Together

Posted by chads on January 17, 2009

I will have a few students over for a (very) informal lunch on Monday, 1/18 at my house.  Anyone interested is invited; just RSVP at unacceptableglobalhealth (at) gmail (dot) com.

Posted in Announcements | Leave a Comment »

Maternal Mortality by Mallory Peterson

Posted by benjamincrookston on December 10, 2008

Maternal mortality has a huge impact on global health. If a mother dies the likely hood of a child surviving decreases. Also, if a woman is educated her health and her family’s health go up. The most mothers are dying in two regions Africa and Asia. Over three-quarters of maternal deaths are a result of direct complications of pregnancy and childbirth. These problems are not things we cannot prevent or cure, but society of these regions have not decided that women are important and need more care and attention. I think a big part of the solution is to empower women through education. Changing society is long time goal, but there are small things in health care such as training and educating personnel can make a difference. Ultimately I hope that someday the importance of women will be noticed in all societies to make a major change in health. But by our small efforts in health we can spread awareness and hopefully bridge that gap.

Posted in Global Health, Guest Bloggers | 8 Comments »