SPHTM Expands Efforts in Latin America and the Carribean

Cuba Summer Program Resumes in May

Thanks to a successful trip to Cuba in December by a Tulane delegation of faculty and  administrators from public health, science and engineering, and the provost’s office, the  university will expand its existing relationship with the University of Havana and other Cuban institutions into public health and other scientific arenas.

Cuban academic leaders and Pierre Buekens, dean of the Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, agreed to reinstitute the school’s two-week summer program in Cuba starting this May, said Ana López, associate provost for faculty affairs, who led the delegation.

Tulane had offered a summer program in Cuba for its master of public health students prior to 2004 when the U.S. government restricted travel and academic work in Cuba. “We were very eager to reinvigorate that program,” said López, “particularly with the arrival of Arachu Castro to Tulane.”

Arachu Castro, Samuel Z. Stone Chair of Public Health in Latin America

Arachu Castro, Samuel Z. Stone Chair of Public Health in Latin America

Castro joined the faculty of the Department of Global Health Systems and Development in January as the Samuel Z. Stone Chair of Public Health in Latin America. She brings an extensive background in Latin American public health and research interests in social inequality, the effect of health policy on epidemic disease, and other pathologies affecting populations living in poverty. The Stone Chair is a joint appointment with the Roger Thayer Stone Center for Latin American Studies.

She joined Buekens, López, and faculty from the School of Science and Engineering on the Cuban trip. —Carol Schlueter

Portions of this article originally appeared in Tulane New Wave

Inter-American Training Program Promotes Global Health Innovation

A Fogarty Framework grant is funding the new Inter-American Training for Innovation in Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATIEID) program designed to encourage much-needed innovation in global health. The program is led by principal investigator Richard Oberhelman, chair of the Department of Global Community Health and Behavioral Sciences.

The new IATIEID program consists of a consortium of universities and organizations in the U.S., Peru, and Argentina.

The new IATIEID program consists of a consortium of universities and organizations in the U.S., Peru, and Argentina.

The program will consist of a consortium of universities and organizations in the U.S., Peru, and Argentina and will integrate public health, science, engineering, social sciences, and medicine. During this first round, four post-doctoral participants from Peru will gain interdisciplinary training in innovative approaches to emerging infectious diseases.

By the end of the training program, trainee teams will test their innovations, which may consist of devices, interventions, or techniques to address an emerging infectious disease challenge, such as dengue, Chagas disease, or tuberculosis.

“The main objective of the IATIEID program is to foster true innovation by mixing postdoc trainees from diverse disciplines, and creating an environment that requires them to get out of their comfort zones and think outside the box,” said Oberhelman. “It seems that many truly innovative solutions to health problems are the result of conversations by professionals who look at an issue from different points of view and can work together to produce a product that would not be possible for any one of them on their own.” —Dee Boling

Caribbean Consortium will Address GEO Health

Maureen Lichtveld, chair of the Department of Global Environmental Health Sciences, will lead the new Caribbean Consortium for Research in Environmental and Occupational
Health (CCREOH), a partnership with Dennis Mans of Anton de Kom University of Suriname.

The new Caribbean Consortium will deal with high-priority risks including environmental contamination of nutraceuticals and indigenous medicinal plants. Here, consortium leader Maureen Lichtveld visits the National Herbarium of Suriname with summer course students.

The new Caribbean Consortium will deal with high-priority
risks including environmental contamination of nutraceuticals and indigenous medicinal plants. Here, consortium leader Maureen Lichtveld visits the National Herbarium of Suriname with summer course students.

The Caribbean Consortium is part of the new Global Environmental and Occupational Health (GEO Health) program, a Fogarty International Center effort in partnership with the NIH’s National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

The consortium will focus on three high-priority environmental and occupational health risks:

  • Gold-mining related mercury contamination of indigenous food sources, specifically fish;
  • Access and use of pesticides in large and small-scale agriculture; and
  • Environmental contamination of nutraceuticals and indigenous medicinal plants.

The consortium will engage indigenous communities and other health disparate populations in characterizing, protecting, and preserving the nutraceutical assets native to the region.

“CCREOH is a transatlantic research consortium spanning the Caribbean region,” remarked Lichtveld. “Suriname will serve as the research hub for the Tulane SPHTM and the University of Suriname transdisciplinary team to characterize the environmental and
occupational health threats common to CARICOM [Caribbean Community] countries from Trinidad and Tobago to Brazil.” —Dee Boling

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About Tulane University SPHTM

Tulane's School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine is the oldest school of public health in the country and the only American school of tropical medicine. Our mission is to advance public health knowledge, promote health and well-being, and prevent disease, disability, and premature mortality. This is accomplished through academic excellence in education of public health professionals, rigorous scientific research of public health problems, creative partnerships to advance the practice of public health, and innovative service to the local, national, and international public health community.
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