UNESCO Chair provides international stage for global work on gender, well-being and peace

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Araceli Alonso, who will share the new UW-Madison UNESCO Chair on Gender, Well-being and a Culture of Peace, works with friends and colleagues (shown here) in Kenya and Uganda to improve health and well-being. (Photo by Araceli Alonso.)

Araceli Alonso, who will share the new UW-Madison UNESCO Chair on Gender, Well-being and a Culture of Peace, works with friends and colleagues (shown here) in Kenya and Uganda to improve health and well-being. (Photo by Araceli Alonso.)

The University of Wisconsin-Madison has been awarded a UNESCO Chair on Gender, Well-being and a Culture of Peace, a first for the university in any area and a global platform for the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies and for the campus-wide 4W (Women and Well-being in Wisconsin and the World) Initiative.

“This recognition by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) affirms UW-Madison’s strength in addressing global issues,” says Chancellor Rebecca Blank. “The interdisciplinary ethic of our faculty, staff and students allows us to engage on complex issues from a host of perspectives. That is a valuable asset to the UNESCO network around the world.”

UNESCO has designated more than 670 chairs worldwide to promote international cooperation and networking among universities. UW-Madison joins a network of 12 other chairs on gender around the world, connecting efforts of women in Europe, Latin America, Africa and the United States.

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Global Health Institute supports graduate students, visiting scholars and traveling faculty to study human, animal, environmental health

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New Global Health Institute awards went to faculty, staff and graduate students from across the UW-Madison campus. (Photo by Jeff Miller/UW-Madison)

Girls’ health, open spaces, West Nile virus and cardiac care are among the topics University of Wisconsin-Madison investigators will explore with awards announced March 28, 2016, by the Global Health Institute (GHI).

The Institute awarded eight Graduate Student Research Awards, one Faculty-Staff Travel Award and three Visiting Scholar Awards in amounts from $2,500 to $8,000. They go to students, faculty and staff from across campus and visiting scholars, representing units including the Colleges of Agricultural and Life Sciences and Letters & Sciences; the Schools of Education, Veterinary Medicine, Medicine and Public Health, and the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies.

The projects address human, animal and ecosystem health in Wisconsin and in Africa and Asia. They look at emerging viral diseases, HIV/AIDS, the health of pregnant teen-agers, the lasting health effects of war, the tradeoffs of multitasking with communications devices, how built urban environment affects health and more.

“This year’s small grant awardees represent the breadth of expertise that our campus has to offer,” says GHI Associate Director for Research Tony Goldberg. “Their research will not only help solve pressing global health problems, but it will also increase UW-Madison’s presence around the world.”

For a complete list of award recipients, visit ghi.wisc.edu/research-awards. GHI will announce the recipients of its larger Seed Grants in April.

Here’s a closer look at some of this year’s projects:

Expanding medical capacity

A Visiting Scholar Award will allow Mahelet Tadese Ibssa, an Ethiopian physician, to spend three months at UW-Madison for cardiac anesthesia and echocardiology training to improve care for patients at Addis Ababa University. The project is part of an ongoing collaboration between Addis Ababa and UW-Madison to develop Ethiopia’s first cardiac surgery program.

Improving health systems

Michael Roll, a graduate student in the Department of Sociology, examines a paradox: how and why health agencies may succeed and survive when other government agencies remain weak. He’s looking at how the Nigerian drug and food control agency dramatically reduced the amount of counterfeit or substandard drugs that led to hundreds of deaths. The agency dramatically improved drug quality and also mounted an Ebola response that the World Health Organization called “a spectacular success story.”

Making life better for girls

Rachel Silver, a doctoral candidate in Anthropology and Educational Policy Studies, will use a Graduate Student Research Award to examine how pregnant Malawian schoolgirls are stigmatized and how those attitudes shape their social, psychological and physical health. “Examination of the perceived incompatibility between student-hood and motherhood in Malawi can help illuminate the nature of barriers to school re-entry for young women worldwide,” she writes.

Overcoming stigma

Sun Shufang, a doctoral student in Counseling Psychology, will use a Graduate Student Award to study how discrimination, stigma and homophobia contribute to HIV risk and affect the mental health of Chines gay men. “As an influential country in Asia and the world, changes of HIV/AIDS prevention and intervention policy for sexual minorities in China will likely have positive impact for many other Asian countries,” she writes.

Preventing the spread of disease

Johnny Uelman, a graduate student researcher in Environment and Resources/Epidemiology, will use a Graduate Student Research Award to focus on the effects of warming temperatures and droughts on West Nile virus as it affects Wisconsin’s human and animal populations. His goal is to prevent the proliferation of dangerous diseases on the planet.

Connecting environment and health

Austin Williams, a graduate research assistant in Agricultural and Applied Economics, will use a Graduate Student Research Award to understand better the relationship between built environment and health outcomes. He will look at whether health determinants such as obesity shift how individuals value neighborhood amenities, develop new estimates of the value of living close to public parks and gyms, and estimate the value of open space.

Cutting carbon emissions

Corbett Grainger, an assistant professor in Agricultural and Applied Economics, will use a Faculty and Staff Travel Award to look at the impact of energy subsidies. Focusing on Indonesia, and how governments can eliminate them. “Eliminating fossil fuel subsidies must be a priority if greenhouse gas emissions are to be reduced,” he writes, but they remain a challenge politically due to support from individuals and industries who benefit the most from them.”

The Global Health Institute connects colleagues and communities to address complex global health problems through a variety of lenses. GHI is committed to equitable and sustainable health for people, animals and ecosystems—across Wisconsin and the world. It is supported by private and public funding.

By Ann Grauvogl/ March 28, 2016

 

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2016 Global Health Symposium: War leads to life lessons, apps to improve health care

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Dr. Mohamad Dalwai provides a medical consultation to one of the 800-1000 migrants and refugees who are living amongst boats on an abandoned military base on the outskirts of Tripoli. Many have been there for the duration of the conflict, been robbed of all identity papers, money and live in constant fear, without access to healthcare or security. MSF has provided medical consultations and assistance to the community, and are calling for their protection.

Mohammed Dalwai works with migrants and refugees living on an abandoned military base outside Tripoli, where many have been robbed of identity papers and money and live in constant fear. (Photo courtesy of MSF.)

Operating in war zones in Libya, Syria and Pakistan taught Dr. Mohammed Dalwai that medicine may not be enough – physicians must be ready to fight for their patients’ rights.

“Before you go into a war zone, you think there’s a good side and a bad side,” Dalwai says. “Unfortunately, there’s not a good side or a bad side in war. It’s just chaos.”

The South African emergency physician, Médicins sans Frontières (MSF) veteran and tech pioneer is the keynote speaker for the 2016 Global Health Symposium, “Global Crises: Today’s Response, Tomorrow’s Hope.”

The 12th annual Global Health Symposium convenes at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 30, in the Health Sciences Learning Center. The event, hosted by the University of Wisconsin-Madison Global Health Institute (GHI), is free and open to the public and includes almost 40 poster and live presentations of UW-Madison and community global health projects and a special Zika virus panel on UW-Madison’s response to the outbreak.Register Here

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Wisc.edu: Medical Students Work in Milwaukee to ‘TRIUMPH’ Over Health Problems

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TRIUMPH-Blank-group-1024x682

This story was originally featured on the wisc.edu site.

In a central Milwaukee neighborhood landmarked by Jake’s Deli and the Northside YMCA, transformations are taking place.

Lots that once held broken glass and weeds blossom with gardens and hoop houses. A notorious drug den now houses a nonprofit neighborhood center called the Walnut Way Conservation Corp.

It’s here that third- and fourth-year University of Wisconsin—Madison medical students enrolled in Training in Urban Medicine and Public Health (TRIUMPH) are undergoing their own transformations. The neighborhood is their classroom, and their efforts target broad public health goals: promote health equity, reduce infant mortality and gun violence, increase nutrition and exercise, increase immunization rates, and prepare for careers as community-engaged physicians.

Presenting her project at Walnut Way recently to UW–Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank, Ripp said that by reaching out to neighborhood groups and other organizations, such as the Wisconsin Bike Fed, they were able to launch a two-week summer bike camp to teach school-age children and their families safe ways to use bicycles for transportation.  Other TRIUMPH students presented a range of projects that reach into the community. Ripp said the experience was unlike any previous part of her medical education. Her fellow students echoed the theme that what they were learning in TRIUMPH could not happen in a classroom.

UW medical student Ray Garcia (left) talks about his work on an HIV peer mentoring program at the Sixteenth Street Community Health Center. Photo by Bryce Richter.

It’s a question that the medical community is watching closely. TRIUMPH partners, such as Aurora Health Care in Milwaukee, are contributing to the efforts and watching the effects of projects that aim to address the root causes of health problems.

By: Lee Sensenbrenner/ January 25, 2016

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Army of students mobilized to work with Monona on first UniverCity Year project

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The UW-Madison joins forces with the City of Monona to improve health, well-being and city life in the first UniverCity Year project.

This story first appeared on the Nelson Institute website.

A new UW-Madison initiative to help boost urban sustainability in Wisconsin has landed its first partner: the city of Monona.

The Dane County community will participate in the inaugural “UniverCity Year” project, which will mobilize an army of students enrolled in more than a dozen university courses. Under the guidance of faculty, student teams will work on issues identified by the city as priorities, including housing, transportation, parks and broadband infrastructure.

The yearlong project is an outgrowth of a campus-wide program called the UniverCity Alliance, a joint effort among several UW-Madison units that have been exploring ways to leverage UW expertise to help create more livable cities. Continue reading

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High School students explore global health

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Students from New Glaurus High School who attended High School Global Public Health Day

For many high school students who aspire to work in health care one day, coming together to talk about global and public health can be a rewarding experience. With their peers, students are able to discuss some challenging topics and engage in scenarios they have never even thought about.

“Opening Doors to the World,” the third annual High School Global Health Day at UW-Madison, introduced over 40 students to the many circumstances that impact health in Wisconsin and across the world. The day was co-sponsored by the UW-Madison Global Health Institute, South Central Wisconsin Area Health Education Center, Partners in Health | Engage, and GlobeMed UW-Madison.

Students participated in several different activities that explored the social, economic, and biological determinants of health care throughout the world.

One activity, titled “The Four Annas”, featured stories and discussions of four girls from different countries. Each girl, named Anna, had separate, yet similar, cultural, economic, political and physical barriers they had to overcome in their respective countries.

“Honestly I wouldn’t have thought about eyeglasses playing a role in global health, but we see over and over how education correlates with outcomes,” says Sarah Wang, an Education Team Leader of PIH Engage-Madison. “In these stories each Anna’s education was always connected back to her ability to see.”

“Education affected all of the girls differently. The girls that had more education tended to have better lives than the girls who weren’t able to have an education.” —Megan Plagenz, Markesan High School student.

For students, these lessons are not only for how they view people from different countries, but they can also be applied to their experiences here in Wisconsin.

“I challenge students to not only think about other countries, but also to think about their own school communities,” says Sweta Shrestha, the education programs associate for the UW-Madison Global Health Institute. “Are there people in your communities who live similar lives but who also have completely different realities?”

IMG_0153A different exercise had students read an article titled Duffle Bag Medicine and discuss the implications of foreign medical aid by college students without medical training.

“It kind of makes me question how a trip like this really works,” says Alanna Phillips, an Oregon High School student. “What are the rules or guidelines in place so you aren’t misinforming people if you aren’t certified to do this type of work?”

Medical and non-medical students alike must think about their role in a different country. Power, sustainability and cultural competency are really important concepts for anyone who travels, says Mackenzie Andropolis, co-president of GlobeMed at UW-Madison.

“If you were to travel to another country, you don’t necessarily have to be handing out pills and vaccines to help them. You can also actually help them by taking an interest in individual people, respecting their culture, and leaving the country with people feeling more empowered.”—Alana Phillips, Oregon High School

Students are asked to think about the power and privilege they unknowingly carry with them to other countries and reflect on it when helping others, says Shrestha.

“When students are trying to decide on a trip, I always ask them ‘Can you do this in your own community?'” says Shrestha. “If you aren’t certified to do it here, what makes you certified to do it there?”

Most importantly, Global Health Day shows students that global health includes Wisconsin, and they can be part of the conversation in their high schools.

“More than anything, I don’t want students to think of global health as somewhere else,” says Shrestha. “Global health includes everyone from your own home to someone thousands of miles away.”

“Today opened my eyes to a lot of different things and that means a lot to me,” said one student. “I learned a lot about global and local health as well as college life.”

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Global health leader, Chris Olsen, retires

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Christopher Olsen meets with Eric O. Bempong, principal of the Veterinary College of Pon-Tamale, during a trip to Ghana to develop One Health and empowerment curricula for 4H students.

Christopher Olsen meets with Eric O. Bempong, principal of the Veterinary College of Pon-Tamale, during a trip to Ghana to develop One Health and empowerment curricula for 4H students.

As he retires from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Christopher Olsen, a professor in the School of Veterinary Medicine and associate director for One Health in the Global Health Institute, still wonders if the former dean of the then UW School of Medicine had ulterior motives to include him on the International Health Advisory Committee.

Dean Phil Farrell convened the committee 14 years ago to develop international health service policies, especially for medical residents working internationally. “Why did he pull in programs like veterinary medicine?” Olsen asks. “I always wondered if he secretly hoped the group would do more.”

The group did much more, establishing the UW-Madison Center for Global Health that, in 2011, became the Global Health Institute (GHI). Olsen was a key participant, serving as a steering committee member and special advisor to the center and as a GHI associate director for One Health and acting director for the 2014-2015 academic year. Continue reading

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Patz receives APHA award for environmental leadership

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GHI Director Jonathan Patz's work in climate change and health will be honored with the Homer Calver Award from the American Public Health Association's Environment Division. (Photo by Jeff Miller/UW-Madison)

GHI Director Jonathan Patz’s work in climate change and health will be honored with the Homer Calver Award from the American Public Health Association’s Environment Division. (Photo by Jeff Miller/UW-Madison)

 

The American Public Health Association (APHA) will recognize University of Wisconsin-Madison Professor Jonathan Patz’s pioneering work in climate change and health when he receives the Homer Calver Award on Monday, November 2, at the association’s annual conference.

“Dr. Patz was selected because he is an international leader in climate change and health and has emphasized the translation of his research results into the practice of environmental public health in the field,” says Barbara Glenn, chair of the awards committee. “He is a long-time member of APHA and the Environment Section and was an early voice in the organization advocating that climate change is an urgent public health issue.” Continue reading

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Ethiopians look to Madison, Wis., to reclaim bicycle friendly culture

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Yimer Degu Ayicheh, a researcher from Bahir Dar University, visited Madison to experience its bicycle culture as Bahir Dar works with UW-Madison researchers to reclaim its bicycling culture.

Yimer Degu Ayicheh, a researcher from Bahir Dar University, visited Madison to experience its bicycle culture as Bahir Dar works with UW-Madison researchers to reclaim its bicycling culture.

When the city of Bahir Dar, Ethiopia, looked for a way to reclaim its bicycling culture, it looked to the University of Wisconsin-Madison, an institution located in the midst of a bike friendly city and found a dedicated bike enthusiast to lead the charge.

“Bicycling is a historic culture for Bahir Dar city,” says Genet Gebreegziabher, director general of regional urban planning for the Amhara region that includes Bahir Dar. She and several university and government officials visited Madison recently to meet with city and university representatives.

“Most people want to bike, but they fear accidents, so they lost this habit. This project will help us continue this habit for the city and protect our environment.”—Genet Gebreegziabher, regional urban planner, Bahir Dar

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Sweet potato project helps women, children in Ethiopia

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Ethiopian women had the chance to taste new recipes using orange-fleshed sweet potatoes.

Malnutrition is far too common in Ethiopia, where the growth of four out of every 10 children younger than 5 is stunted, and one in 10 are severely underweight.

The good news is the country has made significant progress, cutting child mortality by more than half since 2000. Yet more needs to be done for children’s health.

One of the answers to ensuring healthy mothers and children is the sweet potato—the same orange vegetable many of us make for Thanksgiving dinner. A partnership between the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Hawassa University and the International Potato Center (CIP) is introducing disease-resistant orange-fleshed sweet potato vines, showing communities in two regions of Ethiopia how to grow them and hosting cooking demonstrations to showcase how they can be used.

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What Global Goal will you champion?

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Cynthie Anderson, a GHI Advisory member and associate professor in obstetrics and gynecology, champions her Global Goal.

Cynthie Anderson, a GHI Advisory member and associate professor in obstetrics and gynecology, champions her Global Goal: #17, which looks for partnerships to achieve all goals.

What’s your top Global Goal between now and 2030?

#5: Gender Equity, says Lori DiPrete Brown, Global Health Institute (GHI) associate director and director of 4W. “If we engage the hopes and dreams of women and men, we can imagine and realize the best possible future.

#15: Life on Land, says GHI Associate Director Tony Goldberg. “The terrestrial life of our planet is disappearing fast (life below water too, which was my close second choice). The health and sustainability of life on land came into the forefront largely due to the efforts of Wisconsin’s own Aldo Leopold, whose love of wildlife helped inspire his now famous land ethic. Oh, and by the way, humans are life on land.”

#12: Responsible Consumption and Production, says Claire Wendland, a GHI Advisory member and associate professor of anthropology. “Taken seriously and acted on creatively, it could help us move on many of the other goals.

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Patz to lead MOOC on climate change policy and public health

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MOOC-Climate Change Policy and Health

Jonathan Patz, director of the Global Health Institute and John P. Holton Chair in Health and the Environment, leads a Massive Online Open Course (MOOC) about climate change and public health.

The course begins November 9 and concludes December 7. Here’s where you can sign up. MOOCs are free and open to everyone, and this course is designed to communicate science and health to policy makers and the general public. Continue reading

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Global Health is All of Us: 2014-2015 GHI Impact Report

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Global health is all of us. Researchers. Educators. Health care providers. Students. Communities. Friends. In 2014-2015, the University of Wisconsin-Madison Global Health Institute brought together health care and agricultural leaders, environmentalists, women’s advocates, engineers, policy makers, public health practitioners, and more to tackle the complex causes of health and disease.

The 4W (For Women, For Well-being, In Wisconsin and the World) Initiative launched and bloomed. The links between climate change and health moved to center state with worldwide calls for mitigation. Ebola ilustrated that health includes everything from good roads to functional hazmat suits. The GHI community worked in Wisconsin and across the world to improve health and well-being for today and for the future.

Find our stories in the UW-Madison Global Health Impact 14/15 report.

STORIES FROM THE IMPACT REPORT: Continue reading

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Report: Bicycling deaths have decreased, but adults remain at elevated risk

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Bicycling deaths decreased by 92 percent for children younger than 15.

Bicycling deaths decreased by 92 percent for children younger than 15.

Overall rates for U.S. biking deaths decreased 44 percent from 1975 to 2012, according to a new report published Aug. 14 by the Centers for Disease Control and led by Jason Vargo, an assistant scientist with UW-Madison’s Global Health Institute and Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies.

The steepest decline in bicyclist deaths during the 38-year study period was seen among children under the age of 15, falling 92 percent. However, because cycling rates among children also fell during the study period, the authors suggest that the decline in deaths might be due to fewer bike trips by children, rather than a result of safer road conditions. Increased use of helmets among children might also have contributed, they note.

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Project will bring light to Ethiopian villages

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Belachew Gessesse from Bahir Dar University is visiting UW-Madison to develop a blueprint for a laboratory-scale microgrid. He's shown here in a Bahir Dar training room. (Photo by Jonathan Patz.)

Belachew Gessesse from Bahir Dar University is visiting UW-Madison to develop a blueprint for a laboratory-scale microgrid. He’s shown here in a Bahir Dar training room.

Women and children will benefit first from a University of Wisconsin-Madison/Bahir Dar University project to bring electricity to remote Ethiopian villages.

“There will be light,” says Belachew Gessesse, assistant professor at Bahir Dar University, “Wherever there is light, there is opportunity to read and write. … This increases literacy. We will have no illiterate children. We will have no illiterate women.”

Instead of trying to connect widely dispersed villages to a national electrical grid, Gessesse and Giri Venkataramanan, a UW-Madison professor of electrical and computer engineering and an advisory associate for the Global Health Institute (GHI), look toward developing microgrids, or stand-alone, small-scale electric networks to generate, store and distribute electricity to individual or groups of villages. Continue reading

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