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Office of Global Health Opens

April 23, 2009 11:30 AM

“It's no secret that our world is getting smaller,” remarked Provost Michael Bernstein on the opening of the Tulane Office of Global Health on Wednesday (April 22). “In the university, too, the connections between and among our different departments are becoming more evident. The Office of Global Health provides a venue and a vehicle for our common ground, around the issue of health, on a worldwide stage.”

global health

Olivier Brochenin, left, Consul General for France, shares enthusiasm with Tulane Provost Michael Bernstein, center, and Pierre Buekens, right, dean of the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, on the opening of the Office of Global Health. (Photo by Rick Olivier)

Deans from all five collaborating Tulane schools – Liberal Arts, Medicine, Public Health and Tropical Medicine, Science and Engineering and Social Work – participated in the ribbon cutting. The newly opened office will encourage and facilitate interdisciplinary research and study for students and faculty of the five schools.

The Office of Global Health is located on the 25th floor of the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine at 1440 Canal St. in downtown New Orleans. It includes staff offices and presentation space. Another office is located in Lima, Peru, in conjunction with the university's Health Office for Latin America.

Although the New Orleans office just opened, programs are already under way. The office has held two interdisciplinary seminars and a third on ethics issues in global health is scheduled for May 12.

The first annual Immersion Workshop will be held May 20–22 in Lima and will be attended by 10 Tulane faculty selected through a competitive application process, as well as participants from collaborating institutions in Peru and around the globe. The workshop will be tailored to the research interests of the attendees and will include both presentations and site visits to various research projects based in Peru that are funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Wellcome Trust.

“The topic of global health brings together many disciplines, because so much is interrelated; health is impacted by how houses are built and cities designed, to the way we treat our environment, to political decisions regarding immigration,” said Valerie Paz Soldan, the office's deputy director and a research assistant professor of international health and development. “The goal of the Office of Global Health is to foster a dialogue between disciplines at Tulane so that in the long run we can find new approaches to improving physical and mental health, globally."

The grand-opening celebration included tours of the offices and a reception. More than 100 students, faculty, staff members and international colleagues attended.

Applications are being accepted for the Global Health Certificate Program, which prepares graduate students to work in diverse settings and with diverse populations on issues that transcend borders and relate, directly or indirectly, to human health. The program complements students' training in their own disciplines and helps them to understand the interrelation between their own field of study and its applicability to global health.

The Office of Global Health was created through funding from the Framework Programs for Global Health, a program of the National Institutes of Health and the Fogarty International Center.

Dee Boling is director of communications for the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.