One bucket at a time

A medical student’s dream to build the first clinic in his village in rural Kenya is fueling interest in international activities throughout Vanderbilt University. The story of Milton Ochieng’ illustrates how global health is transforming the next generation of doctors, scientists and citizens in the United States.  read article

Tricking the mosquito’s “nose”

Vanderbilt biologist Larry Zwiebel, Ph.D., and a network of colleagues from Yale to The Gambia have a grand challenge—to disrupt the transmission of malaria by chemically manipulating the malaria mosquito’s sense of smell.  read article

Skipping the 20th Century

Beyond the reach of power lines and paved roads, researchers armed with nothing more exotic than cell phones and laptop computers are plugging into worldwide efforts to conquer ancient and modern plagues, and to prepare for those to come.  read article

Bill Foege: Another mountain to climb

Forty years ago, a young medical missionary helped revolutionize smallpox control. Today, as a senior fellow at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, William “Bill” Foege, M.D., MPH, helps guide the foundation’s ambitious global health agenda.  read article

Investing social capital

Haitian AIDS researcher Jean William Pape, M.D., and David Holtgrave, Ph.D., an expert on HIV prevention programs at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, share their views about what it takes to conduct AIDS research in resource-poor countries, and what the United States can learn from these experiences.  read article

Engaging in a world without borders

Global health is a vibrant component of today’s Vanderbilt. It is evident in the growing number of research partnerships with other nations that, for example, are providing AIDS treatment in Haiti, improving the care of premature babies in Colombia, and screening for diabetic retinopathy in remote areas of Peru and Bolivia.  read article

Vanderbilt’s international "strategy"

Vanderbilt University is developing a new international strategy to enhance the exchange of people and ideas, the quality of the student learning experience and the pursuit of cutting-edge research.  read article

A price of progress

For nearly a decade, Scott M. Williams, Ph.D., has been traveling to Ghana twice a year to explore the genetic roots of heart disease in African-Americans.

Compared to Caucasians, African-Americans have a significantly greater risk of developing high blood pressure. It’s unclear whether they are more likely than whites to develop arterial thrombosis, the formation of blood clots that can trigger heart attacks and strokes.  read article

Rethinking selenium supplements

Nineteen years ago, Raymond Burk, M.D., took his first 12-hour-long train ride to a remote corner of southwest China to study a unique population of people whose diets are deficient in the essential mineral selenium.  read article

Thwarting a clever devil

Researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center hope a new technology for improving the effectiveness of the tuberculosis vaccine may help prevent the spread of the disease, which kills more than two million people every year.  read article

Grand Challenges in Global Health—a critique

Like any ambitious endeavor, the Grand Challenges in Global Health initiative has its share of skeptics.

In a column published in 2005 in The Lancet, Anne-Emanuelle Birn, Sc.D., associate professor of Public Health Sciences at the University of Toronto, criticized the initiative for its “narrowly conceived understanding of health as the product of technical interventions divorced from economic, social and political contexts.”

“Global health,” she wrote, “might be better served through political support for universal, accessible and comprehensive public-health systems… in the context of overall improvements in living and working conditions.”

“I believe the approach is wrong,” added David McCoy, B.Med., DrPH, managing editor of Global Health Watch, in a story published in 2005 in RealHealthNews.  read article

We need to view ourselves as citizens of a planet

The growing emphasis on global health is a boon not only to the developing world. It also can benefit the richest nation on Earth.

Collaborative studies in Colombia, for example, are yielding insights that may improve the care of premature infants in the United States, says Mario Rojas, M.D., assistant professor of Pediatrics at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.  read article

Latin American AIDS Database Network

The Latin American AIDS database network is called CCASAnet, an acronym recognizing its Caribbean, Central and South American partners. An estimated 2.1 million people were living with HIV and AIDS in this region in 2003—nearly 6 percent of infected people worldwide.  read article

Bringing drug treatment to Vietnam

Vanderbilt psychologist Bahr Weiss, Ph.D., is helping to transform the treatment of drug addiction in Vietnam.

Still rebuilding from three decades of war, Vietnam, along with other resource-poor countries in “The Golden Triangle” of Southeast Asia, struggles with heroin addiction. Cheap, readily available and potent, heroin far surpasses marijuana as the major drug of abuse, and is the first substance most drug abusers use, even before alcohol.  read article

Aiding the most vulnerable

In 2006 Vikrant Sahasrabuddhe, M.D., MPH, DrPH, returned to Pune, the city of his birth, to help some of the most vulnerable members of Indian society—HIV-infected women.

In collaboration with the National AIDS Research Institute in Pune, Sahasrabuddhe, a research assistant professor of Pediatrics at Vanderbilt, is testing a visual inspection method for diagnosing cervical cancer, the leading cause of cancer deaths among Indian women.  read article

Our work is hardly done

In late 2001, a team of U.S. and Zambian investigators launched an ambitious program to prevent HIV-positive women from infecting their babies.

Within two years, HIV counseling and testing was being provided in public delivery clinics throughout the Zambian capital, Lusaka.  read article

An ethical dilemma

Vulnerability.

It’s at the core of ethical issues related to research with indigenous populations, says Ellen Wright Clayton, M.D., J.D., the Rosalind E. Franklin Professor of Genetics and Health Policy at Vanderbilt University.  read article

Acts of grace

Grace to James Hildreth, Ph.D., M.D., is more than a manner of living -- it is an obligation. By emulating the grace he observed in his mother and in the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Hildreth emerged from a childhood of poverty and despair to become a prominent AIDS researcher, dedicated to serving the underserved.  read article

Weapons of mass salvation

Jeffrey Sachs, Ph.D., former director of the U.N. Millennium Project to end hunger, poverty and disease, calls them “a weapon of mass salvation.”

Sten Vermund, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine’s Institute for Global Health, calls them “a miracle.”

They are insecticide-treated bed nets, which can ward off the malaria mosquito.  read article