Like many people around the world, I watched the news in horror and disbelief on Jan. 12, 2010, when a devastating earthquake struck Haiti. The ensuing humanitarian crisis resulted in the deaths of nearly a quarter-million people, an even greater number of injuries and unprecedented levels of destruction.
In January, on the eve of the earthquake’s 10-year anniversary, I was overjoyed to learn that Partners In Health’sHôpital Universitaire de Mirebalais in Haiti was awarded institutional accreditation by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education International, which accredits medical residency and fellowship programs around the world.
This remarkable recognition has special meaning for me. Less than two weeks prior to the earthquake, I had rejoined our Brigham family to begin serving as president here. In those early days, I witnessed how quickly our faculty, staff and trainees mobilized to support Haiti’s immediate relief needs and long-term recovery efforts. This outpouring of caring and generosity reinforced why the Brigham has always been close to my heart. Continue reading “Marking an Important Milestone in Haiti”→
For Nadia Raymond, MSN, MHA, RN, the memory of returning to her home country of Haiti days after the island’s 2010 catastrophic earthquake is still painfully vivid. One of the worst natural disasters in the nation’s history, the 7.0-magnitude quake left a devastating wake of death, trauma and destruction.
Raymond, a professional development manager in the Brigham’s Center for Nursing Excellence and co-leader of EqualHealth’s Women’s Leadership Roundtable, recalled what it was like gazing out the window during her ride from the airport to where she had been deployed to support the relief effort.
Parks, architecture, the presidential palace, her old high school, a new nursing school — all destroyed in the disaster, which killed an estimated 230,000 people and injured countless more. At that time, Raymond was among the many Brigham faculty, staff and trainees who responded to the humanitarian crisis to support their Haitian health care colleagues on the ground.
When infectious disease specialist Serena Koenig, MD, of our Division of Global Health Equity, first traveled to Haiti 15 years ago, she was overwhelmed by what she witnessed: devastating poverty and a health care system in shambles. Since then, she has committed her career to providing dignified health care to the people of Haiti and relentlessly pursuing research to advance that work in the face of heartbreaking conditions.
At Princeton University, rising sophomore Jessica Lambert found no shortage of opportunities to advance her studies and gain experience as she pursues a career in public health and indigenous studies. But as she considered her options for internships earlier this summer, one stood out above the rest: the Four Directions Summer Research Program.
.Part of the Brigham’s Center for Diversity and Inclusion, Four Directions aspires to train the next generation of Native American health care leaders through an eight-week research internship with mentoring, networking and hands-on experience at the Brigham and Harvard Medical School. The program connects students with a faculty mentor, whom they work with on a basic science or translational research project, culminating in a final project presentation.
At the Brigham, researchers are taking approaches to tuberculosis (TB) treatment, looking at this notorious infectious disease from genetic, chemical and public health angles. Many researchers from the Brigham work in affiliation with Socios En Salud (Partners In Health) in Peru, as well as tackling research at home and at other global locations.
Developing Sustainable Systems and Increasing Access
One researcher who focuses on TB, Courtney Yuen, PhD, associate epidemiologist in the Division of Global Health Equity, obtained her doctorate in chemistry, initially thinking she would pursue a career focused on basic science. But upon realizing the length of time it can take research in a lab to impact people and their health, she decided to retrain as an epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in hopes of seeing the more direct effect her work could have on people’s welfare.
“I wanted to focus my research on an area that affects vulnerable populations, and TB falls into this category. TB is a disease of inequality,” Yuen said. “In the U.S., it disproportionately affects people in homeless shelters or prison, as well as immigrants and refugees. Globally, it tends to affect people in countries that don’t have as many resources and are at the center of the AIDS epidemic.” Continue reading “Tackling Tuberculosis: BWH leads global innovation in TB Care”→
In many ways, Anne CC Lee, MD, MPH, has dedicated her life to empowering and advocating for others. As a pediatrician specializing in newborn medicine, she spends her clinical hours caring for infants in a hospital setting. As a researcher, she directs the Global Newborn Health Lab at the Brigham, where she leads efforts to improve maternal and newborn health. As a mentor and a mother, she inspires and cultivates personal growth in those around her.
Through her work in global maternal-newborn health research, Lee seeks to delineate the major causes of newborn and maternal morbidity and mortality in low-income settings. Based on these findings, she and her team work to design interventions to improve health outcomes.
“There are huge discrepancies across the globe in terms of access to basic health care, which result in huge disparities in morbidity and mortality,” said Lee. “The research we do in our lab is focused on reducing inequities in maternal and newborn care.”
For so many of our most vulnerable patients, it’s clear that addressing large-scale inequities requires a disruption of the status quo. Members of our Brigham community are doing just that as they work to resolve some of the root causes of insufficient care among underserved populations, with support from the Department of Medicine’s new Health Equity Innovation Grants Program. The seven recipients of the department’s inaugural Health Equity Innovation Grants are leading projects designed to advance health justice for a diverse group of patient populations and develop solutions for addressing barriers they face in accessing care. One project, for example, aims to create best practices for collecting information on a patient’s history of incarceration. Another will focus on addressing racial, ethnic and socioeconomic disparities in lupus care.
Next Generation is a Brigham Clinical & Research News (CRN) column penned by students, residents, fellows and postdocs. This column is written by Abraar Karan, MD, MPH, a second-year resident in the Department of Medicine and the Doris and Howard Hiatt Residency in Global Health Equity. He was recently named a 2018 40 Under 40 Healthcare Innovator by MedTech Boston, as well as a 2018 STAT News Wunderkind.If you are a Brigham trainee interested in contributing a column, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Peter Rohloff, MD, PhD is a BWH hospital medicine physician, an NIH-funded researcher, and the founder the highly impactful NGO, Maya Health Alliance, in rural Guatemala. Dr. Rohloff is not alone among BWH physicians who strive to improve the world within our walls and beyond. Yet he is also committed to expanding opportunities for others to be a part of both BWH and the global health community. In 2017, Dr. Rohloff established a global health track for hospital medicine physicians to allow them flexibility to practice at BWH and to work globally while enhancing their experience with significant global health mentorship and community.
The first cohort of Global Health track physicians in Hospital Medicine began at BWH in July 2018, each with an individual global focus. Among the three is Bram Wispelwey, MD, MS. Dr. Wispelwey completed the BWH Doris and Howard Hiatt Global Health Equity Residency in 2018 and stayed on in this newly created role. When not at BWH, Dr. Wispelwey is working to mend the fractured healthcare system within Palestinian refugee camps. These camps do not have dedicated local clinics or consistent access to basic affordable primary care. To address these complex issues, Dr. Wispelwey helped launch and monitor a Community Health Worker program to improve relationships and rebuild trust between doctors and patients, strengthen the healthcare delivery system, and ultimately improve the health of refugee families. He now divides his time between the camps in Palestine and Boston.
Jennifer Goldsmith, Administrative Director of the Division of Global Health Equity helped establish the partnership between BWH Hospital Medicine and the Division of Global Health Equity. She describes the global health model, “the track is highly customizable to meet the needs and interests of individuals and offers opportunities for global health research and field work, didactics, and career mentorship. We’re delighted to build on the mentorship and global health opportunities in our Division creating this new career step.”
According to Dr. Rohloff, “the vision for this track is to help junior faculty with a strong interest in global health to take the next steps in advancing their global health careers, through making connections to the excellent mentorship and development opportunities available at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and finding a clinical home here, as well.”
Applications for 2019 are now open. Read the job posting.
With a commitment to increasing the number of physicians who aim to dedicate their careers to improving the health of impoverished people in the U.S. and abroad, the division, the Department of Medicine (DOM), and BWH created a unique residency program to address this growing interest. In 2004, the Doris and Howard Hiatt Residency in Global Health Equity and Internal Medicine was established as a comprehensive program that includes training in internal medicine; coursework in research methods, public policy, global health advocacy; and research and patient-care experiences in impoverished settings at PIH sites around the world. The program adds an additional training year to Internal Medicine and Internal Medicine and Pediatrics residencies and residents earn an MPH as part of the program. The residency program honors division co-founder Dr. Howard Hiatt and his late wife, Doris.
The Hiatt GHE residency acts as an incubator, providing young physicians with the resources necessary to explore many different possible paths in global health. That support continues long after residents have graduated from the program. Because global health equity remains a pioneering field, former residents continue to define for themselves what it means to have a career in global health—often connecting with other graduates in the process. This networking is a natural outgrowth of the Hiatt GHE residency, which many involved describe as a family that extends around the globe. The program’s focus on learning and mentorship encourages residents to reach out to previous graduates working in the field for support, guidance, and collaboration.
The impact of the Hiatt residency program goes far beyond the outstanding individual trainees themselves. Hiatt residents go on to train hundreds more physicians and health workers, creating a multiplier effect from the initial investment in the program. Residents are empowered to share their knowledge and support the development of healthcare infrastructure that pays increasing dividends over time.