Category Archives: global health

A Little Inspiration

For those of us who are idealists, people who desire to serve and make the world better than when we first came into it and believe that it’s possible to do this, Nicolas Kristof shares some encouraging stories of world changers.

Sometimes it’s hard to stay focused on a task that seems so overwhelming-but it happens-one person, one place, one step at a time.

DIY Foreign Aid Movement


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United Nations MDG Summit Kick Off

The UN Summit on the 2015 Millennium Development Goals begins today.   With only five years remaining to reach the 2015 deadline key world leaders will meet to discuss the necessary steps to ensure the goals are met.  The economic recession has worked to diminish and delay the work of the MDGs. 

To view photos of the Eight Development Goals, click here.  These photos are a representation of the goals we are striving towards, Worldwide.

See what you can do to get involved.

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Dr. McCurdy at University of Texas School of Public Health Weighs in with New York Times

Dr. McCurdy’s qualitative research and ethnographic approach uncover the  practice of  ‘flashblood,’ amongst injecting heroin users.  Addicts unable to afford the heroin inject fresh blood that may have traces of heroin in it, putting them at the highest possible risk of contracting AIDS and hepatitis. To learn more about  ‘flashbood’ and McCurdy’s findings, go here

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Update on Smart Global Health

Check out the video to see the 5 recommendations set by CSIS for efficient and effective global health strategies.

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An Overview for Brazilians about the U.S. Health System…Just in Time for Tomorrow’s Meeting

Today I gave a lecture to 40 Brazilian medical students and a few professors about the U.S. Health System.  In one sitting? Yes, I tried to explain our immensely complicated system to people who go to the doctor when then are sick and leave having paid nothing.  It’s that simple. How did I explain our system? I basically decided to lightly touch Medicaid and Medicare and spent most of my time trying to simplify the mystifying intricacies of our wonderful private healthcare system.  It only took an hour. But the students seems baffled at the differences.  I was surprised by a few of the similarities between our systems.  Apparently they have trouble getting medical students to practice primary care in Brazil as well.  For the same reasons we do in the U.S.  I digress…

At the end of our conversation (because it was a very open forum, which I loved!) one student asked me about the health reform.  I told her that was a whole different talk but briefly explained what happened in the House and Senate and what Obama is proposing for tomorrow’s talk with Congressional leaders.  If you want to know what our President is proposing for our health system, CLICK HERE and read away.  Oh, if it were only that simple.  They also asked if I thought reform would ever happen…I guess I’ll save my opinion for another blog.  Let’s just say I think we have a long way to go before we take that step.

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Post Carnival

I haven’t updated for a while.  I have visited a private hospital and a philanthropic hospital here in Brazil and learned much more about the health and telehealth system here.  Carnival also happened, and I got the ‘gripada’ also known as ‘after carnival flu’.  They say it’s very common due to the close contact with people and sub-par sanitary conditions.  Although, I should have avoided it with my Public health Knowledge and the friendly reminders I received during Carnival.

I was surprised to see the presence of public health during this massive celebration.  Great JOB, Brazil! check out the pictures I took of pamphlets and other ‘paraphernalia’ ladies were handing out in Olinda-one of the hot spots for carnival.  Granted, this was at 9 am in the morning which is when most of the families are out-I wonder if they had anything left to hand out during the afternoon when the wild and crazy party people start showing up.

Well, something is better than nothing!  Check it out!

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Brazil: A new Adventure all in the name of HEALTH

Let’s clarify.

I’m working in Brazil as part of a U.S. Department of Education grant in Health Information Technology. This grant works as a supplement to the HIGHER (Houston Initiative for Global Health, Education and Research fellowship I received last march to do international public health work.   “What the hell do you know about Health IT?,” you may ask.  Absolutely nothing.  But that’s kinda the point.  So now, it’s day one of the actual program (I got here over the weekend and I’ve got pictures to back it up) and I’ve been inundated full of health information.  Not just Health IT, but basic health system understandings of Brazil and I’ve heard various opinions on how successful the system is.  One thing is for sure, what Brazil is doing with health is something that both nonindustrialized countries like Sudan and industrialized countries like the United States (yes, I’m calling us out) can learn from.

I’m hoping this exchange, which is a month-long, will lend itself to me explaining the various parts of the Brazilian health system and how nations with disparate GDPs can all learn from the Brazilians.  I’m not gonna lie, there might also be pictures and discussions of Carnival, the beach, the people and the FOOD!

Today I’ll explain what I learned about the program I will be evaluating.  redeNUTES is the health information technology exchange program for the state of Pernambuco in Brazil. Basically in every state of Brazil, there is a team of health specialists composed of a doctor, nurse, dentist and community health workers.  This team works to educate about and prevent major health issue in the rural areas of each state that do not have hospitals nearby.  These family health teams, referred to as PSF (Programa Saude de Familia), were created due to the overcrowding that was seen in hospitals due to issues having to deal with primary care.  Sound familiar?  It should, we have the same issue in the U.S. Anyway, they created PSF to reduce the number of people going to the hospital for health issues that are completely avoidable with education and prevention.  So in this PSF strategy, the idea came about that if these teams of doctors, nurses, dentists and community health workers were educated on issues specific to their patient population and were able to receive support (like second opinions or information from specialists) they would be able to overt situations in which patients would travel days to a hospital and overload it with a problem as simple as an eye infection.

The redeNUTES program was the first of it’s kind, and was implemented in 2003. The offer seminars (on various issues effecting a majority of PSF team patient populations) and individual teleconferencing where any member of the PSF team may pose a case study or ask a simple question via email and receive a response from a specialist in the medical center in Recife within 48 hours.  Based on it’s success the Brazilian federal government has supported the creation of eight other health information technology programs and hope to implement 14 more programs.

Okay, you might be bored, but this program is awesome and I think it would work wonders in the U.S. with specific communities as well as around the world because most people are not educated on preventative health measures and if we took the time to do this, we would minimize the number of people in hospitals who really don’t need to be there, while improving overall health of individuals and communities not to mention improve health systems as a whole and track the health and improvements of individual and families in useful and educational way.   More later….

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