February 11, 2011

Faculty Collaborate to Piece Together Global Health Puzzles: Part I

The Global Health Leadership Institute (GHLI) held the first ever Global Health Faculty Symposium at Yale last Friday. More than 75 faculty members, across multiple disciplines, gathered together and to share their expertise on five global health research puzzles during a faculty panel of which I cover three here.  
The topics began with food insecurity and obesity, lead by Dr. Tian Xu. This puzzle explained how scarcity of food could lead to both malnutrition and obesity. Dr. Catherine Panter-Brick’s panel on conflict, resilience and health immediately followed. Using Liberia and Sierra Leone as examples, she discussed her research findings. By comparing risk-conflict and resilience, Dr. Panter-Brick established why risk-conflict is bad for health at the global level. On the contrary, resilience, defined as enduring adversity, can help maintain relatively stable, health, functioning over time. This puzzle presented a resilience paradigm, because studies investigating resilience had a high incidence of risk and violent conflicts.   

Dr. Albert Ko shared his research on global infectious diseases. Dr. Ko explained how Yale had a long history of research in global infectious diseases and had established research partnerships with other countries, but could not identify one single key global health puzzle. Instead, the research focused on understanding syndemics, or how two or more diseases interact with one another. The global impact of issues such as HIV and drug addiction as research on syringe exchange programs was addressed.
Dr. Ko stressed the role of social equity as a essential component of multidisciplinary approaches in developing effective interventions for vulnerable populations. His research has already been used for global health interventions. For example, health care service research has strengthened Tuberculosis infrastructure and integrated its services with HIV. This has allowed for an increased availability of drug development for TB.    

Although these three panels were informative, additional global health puzzles were uncovered by faculty throughout the day. Look out for a new blog about additional global health research puzzle panels from the faculty symposium and global health discussion groups.

Amanda Sorrentino, GHLI Intern

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