Since the 1970s, medical education programs have increasingly focused on training physicians not just as technicians, but as healers. This trend led to a new field called “medical humanities,” which uses poetry, stories, visual art, film and other media to help physicians develop critical skills such as observation, listening and empathy so they can engage effectively with their patients. And now, through a new three-year Global Health Humanities project funded by the Dean of Humanities and the Franklin Humanities Institute, faculty at Duke are exploring whether this model could enhance global health education. Could “global health humanities” be one of the next new health fields?
In a recent study, Joanna (Asia) Maselko, assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and global health at the Duke Global Health Institute (DGHI), and Pakistani colleague Siham Sikander, along with several other researchers, found that cognitive-behavioral counseling significantly extended the duration of exclusive breastfeeding (EBF) in the rural Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province of Pakistan. The success of this study shows that it’s possible to simplify sophisticated therapeutic techniques and efficiently train community health workers—the “backbone” of primary health care in low-income countries—to use these techniques effectively. The research team believes that these techniques and the training methods used in this intervention might be applicable to other prevention and health promotion initiatives in similar settings.
Researchers from Duke, UNC and Durham-based web application firm Caktus Group have been awarded a $1 million grant from the National Institute of Mental Health to refine and test Epic Allies, an innovative game-based smartphone app designed to help young HIV-positive men who have sex with men adhere to their HIV treatment plan.Sara LeGrand, assistant research professor for global health at the Duke Global Health Institute (DGHI) and the Center for Health Policy and Inequalities Research, and Joseph Egger, research scholar at DGHI, represent Duke in this collaborative project. Lisa Hightow-Weidman, associate professor of medicine at UNC, serves as the lead UNC researcher.
The past five years of aid from relief organizations and donor money has transformed Haiti’s healthcare system. However, now that Haiti is no longer considered an emergency location, many of these efforts have ended, leaving a vacuum of healthcare resources. But Family Health Ministries (FHM), founded by DGHI associate professor David Walmer, is there for the long haul.
The potential for the continued spread of Ebola and the opportunity to learn more about this and other emerging infectious diseases has spurred Duke to join the Ebola Clinical Research Consortium (ECRC) in collaboration with UNC investigators. Duke Global Health Institute (DGHI) professor Christopher Woods leads the Duke membership in the consortium, which is helping Liberian colleagues implement a clinical trial to examine a potential treatment for Ebola.
Duke researchers, including two DGHI affiliates, have determined that the health risks taken on by artisanal, small-scale gold miners extend far beyond the miners themselves. Not only do the miners’ practices contaminate local soil, sediment and water resources with mercury, they create hazardous levels of the neurotoxin in the food chain at least 350 miles away.
The Global Health Residency/Fellowship Pathway, administered by the Hubert-Yeargan Center for Global Health, offers medical doctors a truly unique training opportunity: the option to earn a Master of Science in Global Health (MSc-GH) through the Duke Global Health Institute (DGHI) in conjunction with the global health residency or fellowship.
New education programs, an expanding faculty, an increasingly diverse group of master’s degree students, and inspiring new partnerships are just a few of the exciting developments the Duke Global Health Institute experienced in 2014.
Come fall 2015, Duke global health majors will have an exciting new study abroad option: Duke Semester in India (DSI). Split between rural Udaipur in northeast India and urban Bangalore in the south, DSI will feature two global health courses and two development courses.
Jim Zhang, Professor of Global Environmental Health at the Duke Global Health Institute and the Nicholas School of the Environment, has received a grant from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC). The grant to Duke Kunshan University (DKU)—approximately $200,000 over five years—is a subcontract of a $500,000 award to Tsinghua University in Beijing. Based at the DKU Global Health Research Center, Zhang is leading DKU’s role in the project.