Department Newsletter - April 2013

Department of Global Health and Social Medicine

April 2013 xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxVolume 2, Number 2

Announcements Recent Publications
Awards & Committee Appointments Seminars, Lectures, Workshops, & Abstracts




Crisp, Frenk, and FarmerThe coming transformation in global health

A conversation with Nigel Crisp, Julio Frenk, and Paul Farmer
On February 28, Lord Nigel Crisp, Dean Julio Frenk, and Professor Paul Farmer welcomed a standing room only audience in the Waterhouse Room to listen to their conversation about how worldwide reform is bringing about a rapid change in the nature of health care and health systems. You may view a recording of this conversation here as well as read Crossing Borders, an article by Jake Miller in the Harvard Medical Schools News.


Dr. BingawahoThe Equity Imperative: Building and strengthening a national health system in Rwanda

HMS presented a talk by Dr. Agnes Binagwaho
On March 11, Dr. Agnes Binagwaho, Rwanda's Minister of Health and senior lecturer in the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine, spoke to the HMS community about the remarkable health transformation in Rwanda and her vision for even greater improvements through their health system. For a video of Dr. Binagwaho's talk, please visit this site and to read the HMS News article "Establishing Health Equity in Rwanda by Shraddha Chakradhar, please click here.


Farmer - UN AppointmentFarmer Named UN Special Adviser on Community Based Medicine and Lessons from Haiti

Dr. Paul Farmer has accepted a new role with the United Nations. In this new role, he will work closely with key partners to help galvanize support for the elimination of cholera in Haiti. Dr. Farmer will also provide guidance improving health and well-being in resource poor settings based on his experience building models of community-based medicine. He will also use the data gathered from the Office of the Special Envoy for Haiti to advise on lessons learned and how those can be applied in Haiti and other settings.


To Repair the WorldTo Repair the World

Paul Farmer Speaks to the Next Generation
To Repair the World is a collection of short speeches by Dr. Paul Farmer. Through his book, he encourages young people to tackle the greatest challenges of our times. The book promises to be engaging, often humorous, and always inspiring, as these speeches bring to light the brilliance and force of Farmer's vision in a single, accessible volume. To celebrate this book launch, several events will be held across the country. Please visit the Partners In Health website to view the schedule of these events. To Repair the World is published by the University of California Press (April 28, 2013) and is available for pre-order through


A Cardiac Conundrum

The passion for procedures to fix ailing arteries and hearts may be misguided
Alice Park | Harvard Magazine

A Cardiac ConundrumAs a follow up to his book, Broken Hearts: The Tangled History of Cardiac Care, Alice Park, staff writer at Time, interviewed David Jones, MD, PhD. The interview explored the idea presented in Jones' book, that in medical treatment, sometimes less is more - or at least just as good. Click here to read the full article.


Aggressive Regimen Reduces Mortality in Drug-Resistant TB

Findings provide guidance for global policy and clinical approach in treatable disease that kills millions worldwide
Jake Miller | Harvard Medical School News

Jake Miller, staff writer for the Harvard Medical School News, interviewed Carole Mitnick, Mercedes Becerra, and their team about a retrospective study (1999-2002) they did amid an epidemic of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) in Peru. Read the published results in the March 13 issue of PLOS ONE.

Embedding non-communicable diseases in the post-2015 development agenda

The LancetThe Lancet, in the first of a five-part series, presents an article about the importance of building on Rwanda's Millennium Development Goals, in which health is a core component. On behalf of the Lancet NCD Action Group, George Alleyne, Agnes Binagwaho, et al, lay out their strategies of advocacy, effective partnerships, and political leadership in ensuring that health is central to the post-2015 development agenda. Click here to read the article in The Lancet 16 February 2013 issue.


Five Developing Nations Join to Fight Drug-Resistant TB

Geeta Anand and Betsy McKay | Wall Street Journal

The Wall Street Journal recently caught up with Paul Farmer, MD, PhD, and Gail Cassell, PhD, in China and solicited their thoughts on a first-time joint communique by Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, often referred to collectively as BRICS. A year of global worsening of drug-resistant TB, even as the occurrence of regular TB decreased, prompted the BRICS communique. Each of the BRICS countries have practices, policies, or technologies that address one piece of this elusive problem and the hope is that, once shared with the other member countries, together they will be better equipped treat and prevent drug-resistant TB.

“These countries and their governments can and should do more," said Paul Farmer, who participated in a meeting on drug-resistant TB in Beijing in January, where the new BRICS move was discussed. He called the decision by the five nations a positive first step, but one that needs to be followed with specific actions. Gail Cassell, co-chair of the Beijing meeting organized by the U.S. Institute of Medicine and the Chinese Academy of Sciences added, "When you consider the very large size of the populations of the BRICS and their large burden of drug-resistant TB, and the fact that they have agreed to collaborate and cooperate, I think it's going to make a huge difference." The article appeared in the February 3, 2013 issue on page A4 of the WSJ.

Reduced premature mortality in Rwanda: lessons from success

Article by Paul Farmer, MD, PhD, and colleagues published in the BMJ, January 2013, edition continues to receive media attention.


New Course: Design, Evaluation and implementation of Global Health Research

Joia Mukherjee, MD, MPH, and Byron Good, PhD, collaborated on a new course offered at Harvard Medical School through the MMSc-GHD program this spring: Design, Evaluation and Implementation of Global Health Research. This semester-long course introduces approaches to implementation and delivery science including community participatory research, quality improvement, mixed methods analysis, and case studies. Lectures cover case examples of research in health delivery and include a required tutorial to allow graduate students to develop their research questions and plan to design, implement, and prepare to evaluate their own research. The course has featured lectures from DGHSM faculty including Louise Ivers, Salmaan Keshavjee, Byron Good and Mary-Jo Delvecchio Good, Mary Kay Smith Fawzi, Matt Bonds, Chunling Lu, Molly Franke, Carole Mitnick, Corrado Cancedda, and Lisa Hirschhorn. If you would like more information about this course, please contact Christina Lively.


Update on the first MMSc-GHD Cohort

The first cohort of the Master of Medical Sciences in Global Health Delivery (MMSc-GHD) Program is midway through the first year of the two-year degree. The four students completed 16 credits of coursework in the fall, including two new courses: Qualitative Methods, developed by Norma Ware, PhD; and Conceptual and Practical Ethical Problems in Global Health Delivery, developed by Sadath Sayeed, JD, MD.

This spring the cohort will again take four four-credit courses, including two electives and two required courses. The required courses include Global Health with Nava Ashraf at Harvard Business School and a new course led by Joia Mukherjee and Byron Good: Design, Evaluation and Implementation of Global Health Research. In addition, on March 4-15, the students participated in a two-week non-credit mixed methods master class with expert John Creswell (see additional report on this course below).

Each MMSc-GHD student must complete a mentored research project. The students are working on these projects:

  • Shruthi Rajashekara is currently in the field working with Sonya Shin to complete her project on access to healthy food in Navajo Nation.
  • Kobel Dubique is working with Louise Ivers and Cesar Abadia on a case study of the 2010 Haiti earthquake disaster response.
  • Fernet Leandre is working with Matt Bonds on a project that seeks to broaden the measures of the benefits of antiretroviral therapy by looking at the impact of survivorship on the family and wider community in Haiti.
  • Melino Ndayizigiye is working with Mary Kay Smith Fawzi on a study of patterns of family planning and contraceptive use in Burundi.

We look forward to welcoming our next cohort of MMSc-GHD students in late June 2013. For additional information about the MMSc-GHD, please contact Christina Lively.


Harvard Travel AssistPlease note that your International SOS Program has been replaced with Harvard Travel Assist

Introducing Harvard Travel Assist
The services are the same, but the name and number are new! As of April 1, 2013, assistance for international travelers, including medical referrals, emergency evacuation, and repatriation, as well as access to country-specific safety and medical information is now offered by Harvard Travel Assist, and the accompanying emergency phone number (617-998-0000). This replaces the International SOS name and phone number. Please visit the Harvard Travel Assist website for details.


Mercedes Becerra, associate professor of global health and social medicine has received the A. Clifford Barger Excellence in Mentoring Award for 2012-2013. Harvard Medical School established the Excellence in Mentoring Awards to recognize the value of quality mentoring relationships and the impact they have on professional development and career advancement in clinical medicine, teaching, research, and administration. The awards ceremony will be held on Wednesday, June 5, 2013, from 4:00-5:30 pm in the TMEC Amphitheater, 260 Longwood Avenue, with an informal reception immediately following. Congratulations Meche!

Marilyn Goodrich, assistant to Dr. Arthur Kleinman, department of anthropology, has received the 2013 Dean's Distinction Award. This award honors the highest-achieving Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) staff members whose critical contributions and skill collaboration have delivered outstanding results for the FAS in 2012. Congratulations Marilyn!





Dan Brock, PhD to deliver 2013 George W. Gay Lecture at Harvard Medical School
The Future of Bioethics
April 4, 2013 | 4:00 pm | Carl Walter Amphitheater | 260 Longwood Avenue | RSVP Required

The Division of Medical Ethics at Harvard Medical School announces that Dan Brock, PhD, distinguished philosopher and bioethicist, is the invited speaker for the 2013 George W. Gay Lecture. This lecture is free and open to the public; however, RSVP is required to

Seminar | Global Health Research Capacity Building: Development of a multilevel, collaborative approach in Rwanda
April 9, 2013 | 10:00-11:00 am | 641 Huntington Avenue, Boston | 1st floor conference room

Based in Kigali, Rwanda, Dr. Hedt-Gauthier supports research capacity building efforts at Partners In Health/Inshuti Mu Buzima. The initiative aims to strengthen interest, skills, and leadership in research and engages multiple partners including the National University of Rwanda School of Public Health, the Rwanda Ministry of Health, Harvard Medical School, and Partners In Health/Boston. The presentation will focus on the implementation of research training activities and the development of infrastructure and policies to support research in resource-limited settings. Please contact Caroline McCallum with any questions.


Matthew Bonds, PhD - invited talks at University of Georgia and Penn State
On March 22, Matt Bonds delivered the One Health Symposium keynote address at the University of Georgia. This was an international symposium focused at the nexus of human, animal, and environmental health. The title of Dr. Bonds' keynote was, Ecology of Poverty and Disease.

Also, on February 28, Matt gave an invited talk at the Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics at Penn State. Congratulations Matt!

Master class offers training in mixed methods with expert John Creswell, PhD
The Department of Global Health and Social Medicine (DGHSM) collaborated with Harvard Catalyst to host a mixed methods master class from March 4-15, 2013, with John Creswell, PhD, Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, an expert in the field. This 10-day course featured lectures and readings in an interactive workshop atmosphere allowing participants to walk through the design of their own mixed methods research project. The 30 course participants included members of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the Boston Public Health Commission, and faculty from the Harvard School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School. The following DGHSM faculty, staff, students and fellows participated: Anne Becker, Louise Ivers, Byron Good, Mary Kay Smith Fawzi, Carole Mitnick, Joia Mukherjee, Ann Miller, Assiatou Diallo, Dana Thomson, Jessica Teng, Fernet Leandre, Kobel Dubique, Tyas Hayuning (Nuning), Lili Guan, Bian Qian. Faculty from the DGHSM will leverage this experience to develop Harvard University’s first course in mixed methods to be offered in the spring of 2014.

If you would like to review the slides or materials for this course or to learn about the DGHSM’s future mixed methods course, please contact Christina Lively.

GHDonline Expert Panel
GHDonline will host an Expert Panel, A Conversation with Dr. Bill Jobin: Managing Malaria with Engineering and Public Health Interventions that Work on April 1-5, 2013. Renowned experts will share experiences, and GHDonline members are welcome to ask questions and to share insights. For updates and more information on the Panel, check out our calendar of events. On conclusion of the Panel, check our website for a summary of key lessons to be added to our existing set of peer-reviewed Discussion Briefs.

Not yet a members of GHDonline? Visit GHDonline to sign up.