6.13.13 Two MSIH students present research at the 2013 Consortium of Universities for Global Health conference
Medical School for International Health (MSIH) second-year medical students Angelie Singh and Chris Brown were selected along with 300 other researchers to present global health research at this year’s Consortium of Universities for Global Health Conference in Washington D.C.
Their poster “High use of burning mercury amalgam in migrant artisanal mining communities of Eastern Senegal” presented findings from a baseline study that was completed as part of a larger educational project built around reducing mercury exposure among artisanal gold miners using a peer-to-peer education model. The educational intervention and research experiment were designed by Angelie and Chris during their first year at MSIH, under the advisement of Professor Michael Friger at the BGU-Faculty of Health Sciences, and is collaboration with the Saraya Health District and U.S. Peace Corps. The initial training of peer education trainers and data collectors were completed under Chris Brown’s supervision during his 1st year summer vacation. Prior to attending MSIH, both Chris and Angelie had worked in rural Senegal developing community-based health projects and evaluation tools. Chris is a returned Peace Corps volunteer, and Angelie received her master's of public health from Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health in 2011. They have also both worked as teachers, and are passionate about merging classical educational tools with non-traditional forms of education for the purposes of health promotion.
In addition to presenting posters and networking with other researchers and health advocates, Angelie and Chris attended sessions on the future of malaria prevention, epidemiology of cervical cancer screening, family planning in the Sahel, new programs and computer platforms that connect medical universities around the world to educate health professionals, and innovations in global health financing—introduction given by MSIH’s own Professor Richard Deckelbaum, who is the former president of the Global Health Education Consortium (GHEC), and now sits on the board of directors of the newly-merged GHEC-CUGH entity.
The highlight of the conference was a a panel discussion moderated by US Congressperson Jim McDermott with Thomas Freidman, director of the CDC; Francis Collins, director of the NIH; Ambassador Eric Goosby, director of PEPFAR; and Jonathan Woodson, director of medical services for the US army. The panel addressed sensitive nature of building trust between research institutions, the U.S. military, and the communities with which they work.
For more information on the conference and CUGH, click here: http://cugh.org/sites/default/files/content/resources/News/CUGH_FinalProgram%20-%20change.pdf
5.30.13 Professor of bioethics at Yale University delivers MSIH commencement speech
The weather was perfect for the class of 2013’s graduation ceremony at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev’s Medical School for International Health (MSIH), which was held outside this year in Cummings Plaza at BGU’s Marcus Family campus.
Beginning just before sundown, the graduates were greeted with opening remarks by BGU President Rivka Carmi, MD, and later entertained by a musical performance on the oud by 2013 MSIH graduate David Ransom, MD.
The highlight of the ceremony was the commencement speech given by surgeon Sherwin Nuland, MD, professor of bioethics and medicine at Yale University Medical Center and award-winning writer. Dr. Nuland’s most well-known book “How we die: reflections on life’s final chapter” was a New York Times bestseller and was selected for the National Book Award for Nonfiction in 1994.
He spoke to the graduates about rediscovering ‘the goodness and morality’ that is within them. He encouraged them to “Care a little less about what is inside the cell and care a little bit more about what is inside the man or woman. Care a little bit less about this new thing, called Biomedicine, and care, a LOT more, about this whole thing called healing.”
In addition to his remarks at the ceremony, Dr. Nuland delivered the lecture “The Goodness of the Physician: An Historical Study from Hippocrates to Hi-Tech.” to medical students and faculty on Tuesday.
Graduates of the MSIH, which incorporates global health coursework throughout the four-year medical school curriculum, are prepared to address the cultural, political, environmental, and economic factors that impact the health of individuals and populations.
Watch highlights of the ceremony by clicking the image above, or visiting YouTube.com: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C0pTAOmHLnU&feature=youtu.be
In other news…..
Third-year medical student Crystal Chow presented the abstract “Using surrogate financial markers to estimate the cost-effectiveness of the Community Health Worker program of the Surmang Foundation in rural China” at the World Health Summit Regional meeting in Singapore in April. The conference, which focused on the theme “Health for Sustainable Development in Asia” drew over 900 participants, who discussed issues such as the aging population in Asia, China’s response to SARS and how NGO’s are responding to healthcare need on a local level. Crystal’s research took place in Beijing, China, where she has spent a year doing research.
Global health medical students participate in Reflection Ceremony to honor anatomy donors
Second-year medical students participated in an end-of-the-year Reflection Ceremony, to honor the people who donated their bodies to assist in the pursuit of medical education. Noted ethicist and MSIH professor Shimon Glick, MD gave opening remarks, and Ethics Advisory Committee chair Ross Green facilitated the ceremony, which included student reflections, a poetry reading and a musical performance.
As one student wrote “The privilege of dissecting a human body is not one that everyone has the opportunity to do. It was difficult at times, bringing up thoughts of my own mortality and the shortness of life. By the end of this year, learning anatomy not just in lectures but in the lab has been one of the most rewarding experiences and one that I hope will shape the physician I'll become. It was an honor working with professors and classmates who have such respect for this part of our education. “
5.16.13 Founder of Desert Sustainability Lab speaks to medical students interested in International Health
Dr. Michael Ben-Eli, founder of the Sustainability Laboratory delivered a lecture on sustainability with members of the International Health Organization (IHO) at Columbia University Medical Center on Friday, May 3, 2013.
“Project Wadi Attir – a model sustainable desert community” a model for sustainable, community-based organic farming, adapted to a desert environment, is designed to combine Bedouin aspirations, values and experience in a desert agriculture, with sustainability principles and cutting edge, ‘green’ technologies like renewable energy production, resource recycling and arid land stewardship.
This multi-disciplinary project includes leaders in business, government, community, architecture and medicine, with the goal of creating a self-sustaining community, and partners with the Hura Municipal council, the governing body of one of the seven Bedouin towns in the Negev. In the photo above, Dr. Ben-Eli, at left, is seen with IHO representatives (and first-year medical students at CUMC’s College of Physicians and Surgeons) Maya Koenig-Dzialowski, MSIH admissions committee Co-Chair Lynne Quittell, MD, and Rebecca Tisdale.
For more information, visit the sustainability labs website here: http://www.sustainabilitylabs.org/page/project-wadi-attir-model-sustainable-desert-community
Residency placement spotlight: Josh Elson, MPH
Josh Elson, MPH, who will be graduating from the MSIH next week, is the first medical student at the MSIH to match into the highly-competitive Radiation Oncology specialty (he was selected for one of only 183 slots in the National Resident Matching Program this year).
Josh will begin his PGY-2 Radiation Oncology residency training at University Hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio after he completes a preliminary year in Medicine at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York. You can read a previous press release on Josh’s research here: http://www.cumc.columbia.edu/dept/bgcu-md/news/documents/JoshuaElson2010.pdf
In other news
The third annual BGU TEDx talks were held on Sunday, May 12. Speakers included MSIH professor and infectious disease expert Mick Alkan, MD, MSIH global health lecturer and general surgeon Seema Biswas, MD, and Dr. Michael Ben-Eli, who is highlighted above.
Dr. Alkan is the former head of the Infectious Diseases Institute at Soroka University Medical Center and a Professor Emeritus of Medicine at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. Since 1998 Prof. Alkan has been active in MASHAV (Israeli Ministry for Foreign Affairs branch for international collaboration) projects in Africa, South East Asia and Latin America. He is currently involved in developing a track of international social work at Sapir College in Sderot.
Seema Biswas, MD is a General Surgeon at Ziv Hospital and lectures in Global Health at the Medical School for International Health. Her undergraduate training was in the UK and she trained as a surgeon in the UK, South Africa and Israel. Her research interests include Surgery, Trauma, Global Health and Medical Education. She is a Red Cross Health Delegate and works as a volunteer surgeon on overseas missions for a number of humanitarian organizations.
Video of the talks will be available shortly. For more information on the TEDxBGU talks, visit https://www.ted.com/tedx/events/8972.
4.25.13 MSIH medical student honored for research on potable water technology
Third-year medical student Ellie Nowak presented research on new technology to draw water out of the air at the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGIU) annual meeting in St. Louis, Missouri on April 6th and 7th. Ellie and her teammate, Guy Katz, who is fourth-year medical student at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev’s Joyce and Irving Goldman Medical School, have been working on a technology to extract potable water from atmospheric air. The device is meant for areas of the world where access to water is limited.
During the conference, Ms. Nowak and Mr. Katz were able to meet people from all over the world who are passionate about addressing current challenges in health care, the environment, and poverty alleviation. In addition to meeting President Bill Clinton and daughter Chelsea, they were the recipients of a Commitment Announcement Award from the United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment and Health (seen in photo above, with UN University Director Dr. Zafar Adeel)
Ms. Nowak recounted the exciting results from her conference by saying “CGIU provided us with the ability to share our idea with other students and professionals, and to learn more about how other people are addressing challenges similar to our own. We were able to see how our work with water technology fits into the bigger picture of global health. We also gained valuable insight into the more practical steps of how you translate an idea into actual project.”
Both presenters were also interviewed by Stephen Colbert and highlighted in an episode of the Colbert Report, which aired on national television in the United States on Tuesday, April 9.
Mr. Colbert’s irreverent style drew attention to the mission of the Clinton Global Initiative University, which is to convene students, nonprofit leaders and entrepreneurs engaged in efforts to create positive change, such as creating and implementing innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. For more information, visit www.clintonglobalinitiative.org.
In other news
Second-year medical student Adie Kalansky is featured in our second “Day in the Life” video series, which was just released today. Adie is the president of the MSIH’s Student Council, and graduated from the University of California at Santa Barbara with a degree in Psychology. View the video on our YouTube page or click this link:
4.11.13 Global Health and Medicine Symposium Highlights World-Wide Clerkships at the MSIH
Monday, March 18 was the day that everyone at the MSIH looks forward to: the yearly Global Health and Medicine Symposium, held just ten days after fourth-year medical students have returned to campus after spending eight weeks taking their global health clinical clerkships in supervised sites around the world. This capstone experience at the Medical School for International Health enables MSIH medical students to get hands-on experience working with medically-underserved populations and to see how factors such as culture and economics can impact healthcare.
Members of the fourth year class took their clerkships at three sites in India, Northern Ontario, Nepal, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Ethiopia, Papua New Guinea, Argentina, and sites in the United States and Israel. Independent clerkships were taken in Argentina, New Zealand, and South Africa.
Keynote speaker at the symposium, Dr. Robert Huish, associate professor of International Development Studies at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, is a frequent guest lecturer at the MSIH. His research interests are in global health inequity, specifically issues related to global health ethics, and how medical education can act as a determinant of global health inequality.
Deborah Bloch (whose presentation from Christian Medical College (CMC) in Vellore, India, is highlighted in the video above) worked at both the CMC hospital and local clinics in nearby villages. Deborah will begin her residency in pediatrics at St. Christopher’s Hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania this summer.
Three fourth-year medical students from Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons (P&S) also participated in the clerkships. P&S medical student Jessica Fleitman, took her clerkship in Israel, and rotated through sites in Nazareth, Tel Aviv, Eilat and Beer-sheva. She reviewed her experience, saying “MSIH has picked locations for us to train where we are able to see culturally unique and under-served populations including the Israeli Arabs, the African refugees, and the Bedouins. I had no idea going into the rotation what a truly international health experience I would walk out with, and all of the rare diseases I would have the opportunity to witness.”
For more information on how global health coursework is integrated into all four years of the medical school curriculum at the MSIH, visit http://www.cumc.columbia.edu/dept/bgcu-md/ps/orientation.html.
Two MSIH medical students present at this year’s AMSA convention
Five medical students from the MSIH attended the American Medical Student Association’s (AMSA) annual convention, held this year in Washington, D.C., on March 14-17, 2013.
While participating in all the activities scheduled for premedical and medical students, two of the five MSIH students also presented their research: Keiko Chen presented “Lung Cancer Screening Indicators in HIV-Infected Clinical Cohort”, on research she performed while taking her fourth-year electives at Columbia University Medical Center. And Angelie Singh, MS, MPH, who holds a master's degree in Nutrition from Columbia University's Institute of Human Nutrition, presented “Higher perceived stress may increase the odds of low vitamin B12 intake in pregnant adolescents”.
Tim Lee, MSIH’s AMSA chapter co-president, commented that “in addition to attending sessions by inspiring leaders in the medical community, like pediatric neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson, we also attended sessions on how to prepare for the USMLE Step One, and participated in mock one-on-one interviews to prepare for residency interviews." Photo caption, from left to right: second-year medical students Jason Toews, Angelie Singh, Tim Lee, Mayuri Garikepati, and fourth-year medical student Keiko Chen at the 2013 AMSA convention.
MSIH graduate Anya Kleinman, MD (’11) met with first-, second- and third-year medical students at the MSIH on February 21, to discuss residency applications and present techniques for developing differential diagnoses using real clinical cases. Dr. Kleinman is a second-year resident in the department of Pediatrics at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio, and assists third-year medical students with pediatric case write-ups.
The MSIH Alumni Association, whose charter was recently ratified by Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, is actively involved in mentoring fourth-year medical students who seek career guidance and residency application advice. A similar mentoring program, for second- and third-year medical students at the MSIH, is currently in development for the 2013-14 academic year. http://www.cumc.columbia.edu/dept/bgcu-md/alumni/committee.html
3.21.13 MSIH Medical Students Selected for Residency Placements at Harvard, Yale and UPenn
The National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) has released the results of the 2013 Match, and the members of the class of 2013 who entered the 2013 Match are busy making plans for housing and transportation in the cities they will move to this June, when they begin their residencies at major teaching hospitals in Boston, New Haven, Philadelphia and New York.
With over 40,000 applicants to the 2013 Match, the largest in its history, the overall NRMP match rate for applicants to first-year positions was 74.1 percent; the match rate at the MSIH was much higher, at 87%. In addition, several graduates from the class of 2012 who waited to enter the couples match together this year matched into their preferred cities or into the same hospital as their spouse.
As in years past, 27% of MSIH students and graduates who entered the 2013 Match were selected for residency programs in Family Medicine, with 22% matching into Pediatrics and 11% into Internal Medicine. For a complete listing of all residency placements from 2013-2002, click here to visit our Residency Placements web page.
Jonah Mink, MD (’12), a graduate of Brandeis University, who has been accepted into the Department of Family Medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.
Dr. Mink has spent the last year working with Migrant Health:IL, an organization he created with third-year MSIH medical student Tobin Greensweig, to improve medical care to refugees, asylum seekers and migrant workers in Tel Aviv who seek medical care at the volunteer-run clinic.
Benjamin Gruenbaum, who was featured in our January 10, 2013 e-news update, will do his residency in Anesthesiology at Yale-New Haven Hospital in New Haven, Connecticut.
Benjamin is a Connecticut native who has spent the past four years studying neurosurgical anesthesia, and was awarded a travel grant by the Society for Neuroscience in Anesthesiology and Critical Care to attend and present at their October 2012 meeting. His poster "The effect of blood glutamate scavengers oxaloacetate and pyruvate on neurological outcome in a rat model of subarachnoid hemorrhage" was his twenty-ninth research abstract. His current research is based on clinical anesthesiology and critical care, and focuses on mechanisms of neuroprotection.
Wen Ao Dana Wang, a graduate of the University of California - Berkeley with a bachelor’s degree in Molecular Cell Biology and Art, has been selected for residency in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard’s South Shore Psychiatry Residency Training program. Ms. Wang has recently returned from her eight-week global health clerkship in Northern Ontario, where she worked with the aboriginal people in Timmins, North Ontario.
Ms. Wang is a member of the Mental Health Interest Group at the MSIH, and is a frequent contributor to their blog, which focuses on mental health issues around the world. Visit the blog by clicking this link.
In other news
The MSIH has just released the first in a series of “Day in the Life of” student profiles videos, featuring Cornell University graduate and third-year medical student Aubrey Raimondi. Aubrey was followed for nearly a week last month while she was doing her Obstetrics/Gynecology clinical rotations at Soroka University Medical Center. Click the image above to view the video, and stay tuned for the next in the series in April!
2.28.13 Ben-Gurion University Psychologist Delivers Grand Rounds on Oncologists' Grief at Columbia University Medical Center
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev faculty member Leeat Granek, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Public Health, delivered a Hospice and Palliative Medicine Grand Rounds lecture sponsored by Columbia University Medical Center last Thursday.
Dr. Granek’s talk “The Elephant in the Room: the Impact of Oncologists’ Grief over Patient Loss on Oncologist Well-Being”, was attended by oncologists, nurses, social workers, and others at CUMC who experience patient loss. She discussed her findings from a recent study conducted in Canada, and published in the Archives of Internal Medicine (2012;172(12):964-966), where she identified oncologists’ grief over patient loss, and the ways in which grief may affect their personal and professional lives. She concluded “some of the oncologist’s reactions to grief reported in our study suggest that the failure of oncologists to deal appropriately with grief from patient loss may negatively affect not only oncologists personally but also patients and their families. One way to ameliorate these negative effects would be to provide education to oncologists on how to manage difficult emotions such as grief, starting at the residency stage and as continuing education throughout their careers.”
Dr. Granek’s Op Ed piece "When Doctors Grieve" was published in the New York Times on May 25, 2012, and can be read in its entirety here: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/27/opinion/sunday/when-doctors-grieve.html?_r=0
In other news…..
Second-year medical student Devin Patchell, MPH, a graduate of University of Colorado School of Public Health, was the recipient of a Rotary International Health Scholarship for a project that he developed, along with third-year MSIH medical student, Irene Koplinka-Loehr, to improve Bedouin access to healthcare. This program model was adapted from the Gandhian Model of Care, a public health program that originated in India. The program offers a sustainable method of educating and facilitating preventive care among impoverished communities.
Devin adapted the Gandhian model to focus more on the family unit, and created a project called Global Health Made Local. He has spent the past year developing the program, which pairs incoming first-year medical students with a disadvantaged family in the Beer-Sheva area. This year there are eight first-year medical students participating in the program, working with four families of various ethnic backgrounds. Working with other social workers and health liaisons, the goal is to empower these families to make good health decisions, and ideally to focus on preventive medicine.
Using his scholarship funds to purchase log books and acquire transportation to and from these small desert communities, Devin hopes to expand the project to include as many as thirty-five students working with twenty families, to address issues such as nutrition, disease management, hygiene, and water and sewage management. To read an article on his project published in the UC Denver “Global Health Link”, click here.
Medicine in the Media a big hit! Second-year medical students Cherec Dickey and Chris Brown (seen at left), founders of the ‘Medicine in the Media’ student group, held their inaugural meeting last week, where they discussed newspaper and magazine articles about medical issues. The group hopes the conversations will help participants understand how their patients are being informed about health by reputable written media sources. Using articles from sources such as the New York Times, Haaretz, the Wall Street Journal and The Economist, the students expect that they will discover a gap of understanding between laymen and health professionals. MSIH-BGU Director A. Mark Clarfield, MD, FRCPC (seen at near left) is the group’s adviser and is a well-published writer and author himself.
2.14.13 Haaretz publishes Op Ed piece written by medical student with global health training
Third-year medical student Sarah Meyers, a graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park with a degree in Biology, had an editorial piece published on the urgent need for translation services, in Haaretz’s newspaper and website last week. Her article, “Ethiopians Like Injections: Stereotypes, Language Barriers and a Failure of Care”, examines the problems highlighted in recent news reports regarding accusations that some Israeli doctors may have injected Ethiopian women with the long-acting contraceptive shot, Depo-Provera, without their consent, while living in transit camps awaiting immigration to Israel.
The scarcity of doctors who can speak Amharic or translators who can assist in the process, coupled with assumptions of how Ethiopian patients wished to be treated, has created a scenario where there is a lack of communication between patient and doctor. She writes “some might argue that the public healthsystem in Israel cannot afford new expenses right now. I would argue that it is the cost of doing nothing that we cannot afford.” Since her article has been published, Sarah has been contacted by the non-governmental organization (NGO) Tene Bruit, which does provide telephone-based Amharic translation services, and she is working with MSIH faculty to establish a connection between them and Soroka University Medical Center.
Fourth-year Global Health Clerkships are in full-swing
Fourth-year medical students at the MSIH are in more than fifteen locations throughout the world, taking their eight-week global health clerkships in diverse sites such as Timmins, North Ontario, Kathmandu, Nepal and Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka. Raj Dayal (seen on the right in photo), who graduated from the University of Ottawa, is in Timmins, North Ontario, part of the Northern Ontario School of Medicine. He is doing a family medicine rotation, where he works with the aboriginal peoples of Northern Ontario.
Asher Berkow, seen at right with Krishna Potluri and Samuel Hardy, are in Kathmandu, Nepal, doing their clerkship at the Patan Hospital. Next week they head out to Pharping to begin a four-week community outreach project, which is part of their rural medicine rotation.
In other news: Second-year medical students use free time to volunteer with Save a Child’s Heart
Four second-year medical students at the MSIH spent a spare Friday last month at the Save a Child’s Heart children’s home in Azor, Israel, to learn about how the Save a Child’s Heart (SACH) organization brings children from all around the world to undergo life-saving operations. The organization also trains physicians from other countries in Pediatric Cardiology, so that they can return to their own country and treat children in their own facilities. Seen at right are Nicole Magpayo, Nick Raubitschek, Ross Green, and Narissa Puran. Green, who is the MSIH SACH representative along with Nicole Magpayo, held an info session on the MSIH campus in January to recruit new volunteers to work with children this year. Quoting one of the physicians at SACH, who summed up his teaching mission, he recounted the familiar proverb “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” For more information on Save A Child’s Heart, visit their website at http://www.saveachildsheart.org/17-en/ChildrenWeHelp.aspx
Interested in Psychiatry and Global Health? MSIH medical students who are interested in specializing in Psychiatry participate in the Mental Health Interest Group, and they have just launched a Facebook page with interesting cases and articles on mental health issues. Click here to visit and ‘like’ the group. You can also visit their blog Mental Health Interest Group, by clicking here:
1.31.13 Global health medical students present cancer research at annual public health conference
Medical School for International Health second-year medical students Narissa Puran and Cherec Dickey (seen at left) presented their research “Evaluating the Success of Twinning Programs in the Management of Pediatric Cancers in the Developing World” at the 2012 American Public Health Association (APHA) Conference in San Francisco, California in October 2012. The conference “Prevention and Wellness Across the Life Span” was attended by more than 12,500 health professionals.
Narissa, a graduate of New York University’s Polytechnic Institute, and Cherec, a graduate of the University of Akron, have been working with their research advisor, Dr. Seema Biswas, on this project as part of their year-long course “Clinical and Global Medicine”. In their paper, Narissa and Cherec discuss the current disparity of childhood cancer survival rates between developed countries (80% survival rate) and in Low and Middle Income Countries (LMIC) (~35% survival rate). They developed a ten-category scoring system to evaluate twinning programs, which are the most successful models used to develop treatment facilities in LMIC that can administer chemotherapeutic and radiation treatment to children. These programs establish partnerships between a specialized cancer treatment hospital in a developed country, such as the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, and a local hospital in a LMIC such as the King Hussein Cancer Center in Amman, Jordan.
As part of the research project, Cherec traveled to Memphis to interview Dr. Scott Howard and Dr. Raul Ribeiro at the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital last summer. These two oncologists have developed pediatric cancer twinning programs throughout the world and have established unique models that are discussed in their abstract.
Narissa traveled to San Francisco to present the abstract at a roundtable discussion at the APHA conference. The presentation gave her the opportunity to discuss why pediatric cancer should be a greater global health child health priority, since many childhood cancers are curable with proper treatments and follow-up.
She also attended some of the sessions that focused on the Affordable Healthcare Act and its important implications in the field of public health. Some of topics discussed included vaccination programs, ethical issues in providing care to disabled people across their lifespan, domestic violence, cross-cultural health communication and innovative methods for providing global health education and technology. One method suggested was to use texting as a method to help keep patients motivated through cancer treatment and managing chronic illnesses and how exposure to domestic abuse can dramatically increase the risk of the development of chronic illnesses.
1.10.13 Fourth-year medical student with global health training presents twenty-ninth research abstract at leading Anesthesiology conference
Benjamin Gruenbaum (seen at left), a fourth-year medical student at the Medical School for International Health, presented three posters at the Society for Neuroscience in Anesthesiology and Critical Care (SNACC) meeting and another five posters at the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) meeting, which were both held in Washington, D.C. this past October. He was awarded a research travel award by the SNACC, in recognition of his valuable contribution to the subspecialty of neurosurgical anesthesia and for his outstanding scientific research for his poster “The effect of blood glutamate scavengers oxaloacetate and pyruvate on neurological outcome in a rat model of subarachnoid hemorrhage.”
Benjamin has been actively involved in research since he was a Psychology major at the University of Connecticut. His research interests emerged from questions on the neuronal mechanisms of learning and memory, and his first research projects focused on hippocampal single unit processing. In his last summer before college graduation, Benjamin did a summer research fellowship at Hartford Hospital in Hartford, Connecticut, and this exposure to clinical medicine and medical research led him to apply to medical school and to the study of anesthesiology. His current research is based on clinical anesthesiology and critical care, and focuses on mechanisms of neuroprotection.
Benjamin’s award-winning abstract marks the sixth time he has presented a poster as first author, and his twenty-ninth overall; he has presented at various international medical conferences since 2009. Mr. Gruenbaum was in the United States for the first semester of his fourth year as he was taking his fourth-year electives at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC), which is part of the collaboration between Ben-Gurion University and CUMC.
Benjamin recently completed a six-week post-graduate fellowship at Yale University’s School of Medicine, where he worked in the Department of Laboratory Medicine investigating epileptogenesis via microdialysis. He has entered the 2013 Residency Match and plans to specialize in Anesthesiology.
In other news
Fourth-year medical student Deborah Bloch, who graduated from Barnard College with a degree in Anthropology, is one of several students who have been selected to receive Gold Humanism Awards. The Gold Humanism Honor Society (GHHS) honors medical students, residents, role-model physician teachers and other exemplars recognized for “demonstrated excellence in clinical care, leadership, compassion and dedication to service.” Organized to elevate the values of humanism and professionalism within the field of medicine, the Society is fast becoming integrated into the medical educational environment.
Ms. Bloch attended the Gold Humanism Honor Society’s biannual meeting in October 2012 with MSIH Student Affairs Director Asher Moser, MD. Among the many lectures they attended, Ms. Bloch found the lecture “Your Medical Mind: the Art of Clinical Decision Making”, given by Dr. Jerome Groopman and Dr. Pamela Hartzband to be especially relevant to her global health training at the MSIH. She commented “I felt like what they said was very interesting to me as an Anthropology major because, to summarize, they wrote a book on how people form a bias towards medical practice and medicine. While some people are very trusting of doctors and drugs, others are not. Doctors need to recognize their own biases and those of their patients in order to find a good middle ground in selecting an individualized management and treatment plan for the patient. This is something that we really learn to understand at MSIH, in a setting where you have patients from all over the world with different values, beliefs and expectations.”
12.20.12 We are pleased to announce that we plan to appoint Medical School for International Health public relations coordinator Sara Carlson Sternglass as Administrative Director.
Sara first began working for the Institute of Human Nutrition at Columbia University Medical Center in 2008 as a marketing and corporate communications consultant, and joined the MSIH in 2009 as the public relations coordinator. During her tenure as pr coordinator, Sara successfully redesigned the MSIH website, created an interactive application for admission, rewrote and redesigned all recruitment materials, and instituted new ways of distributing news through a bi-weekly e-news update, Facebook page, and first-year MSIH medical student blog.
Please join us in welcoming Sara as she takes on new responsibilities, and in wishing her continued success at the Medical School for International Health.
12.6.12 Noted Geriatrician and Director of the Medical School for International Health Delivers Lecture on Longevity at Mailman School of Public Health
A. Mark Clarfield, MD, FRCPC, the MSIH-BGU Director of the Medical School for International Health and Sidonie Hecht Chair in the Department of Geriatrics, Faculty of Health Sciences at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, delivered the lecture “Squaring of the curve: will our children in their old age be healthier than we will be in our later years?” to students, faculty and staff at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University Medical Center on Monday, December 3, at 1pm.
Dr. Clarfield, a noted geriatrician with over forty years of experience working with the elderly, is the Director of the Medical School for International Health, a medical school that incorporates global health coursework into all four years of the medical school curriculum. Graduates are prepared to address the cultural, economic, political and environmental factors that impact the health of individuals and populations.
The concept of ‘squaring the curve’ refers to the way the life expectancy comparison curve from the early 19th century to the modern day has changed; it has become more rectangular, or squared off, as humans live longer, healthier lives. “To put it differently,” Dr. Clarfield explained, “people are living longer, and spending less time dying at the end of life.”
Dr. Clarfield began the lecture with the question “Will we be healthier than our parents were at the same age, and will our children be healthier at the same age as we are?” He then presented the six major factors that have contributed to this phenomenon of longevity: demographic transition, life expectancy, prevalence of chronic illness, rates of institutionalizations, lifestyle habits and rates of disability.
“For example, with respect to life expectancy, in 1921, elderly (+85 years old) women in Toronto had an average of four years left to live, but by 2000, that number had jumped almost 75% to seven years, on average.” Looking at rates of disability, Clarfield quoted data from a twelve country study, showing that rates of disability in the old-old (those aged 85 and older) had been going down inexorably over the past fifteen years. “In other words, old people were not only living longer, but better.”
As a result of improved living conditions, of social and health policies, and medical advances, more people in developed countries can expect to live to an advanced age.
The lecture, presented in the Allen Rosenfield building in conference room 532-A, is part of the certificate program in the Health and Aging Society and Perspectives on Aging at the Mailman School of Public Health. For more information, visit http://www.mailman.columbia.edu
It is with great sadness that the Institute of Human Nutrition at Columbia University Medical Center and the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev’s Medical School for International Health (MSIH) in collaboration with Columbia University Medical Center announce to the CUMC and BGU community the death of our IHN Planning and Development Associate Director and the MSIH Administrative Director Pamela A. Cooper, MA. Pamela died suddenly on Saturday, November 24, 2012 at her home in Westfield, New Jersey.
Pamela was an innovative, dynamic administrator who was driven by her passion to educate doctors to work with underserved populations. She served as Administrative Director for the MSIH for over fifteen years. Her dedication to the MSIH was manifested in every aspect of the MSIH: admissions, public relations and marketing, alumni outreach and fundraising and development.
In 2005 Pamela began working for the IHN in the same administrative capacity as the MSIH, and then in 2007 was named Associate Director of Planning and Development for the Institute of Human Nutrition. Ms. Cooper was responsible for developing and implementing a five-year Strategic Plan for the IHN, as well as the development of new and existing programs, and enhancement of the IHN’s alumni outreach.
Her commitment to academic excellence set an example for her staff and led her to mentor a number of alumni in pursuit of their professional goals. She was also in the process of completing her second master’s degree, a master’s of science degree in Progress and Fundraising Management at Columbia University in the City of New York.
In her personal life she trained dogs to work with hospitalized patients, and worked as an active volunteer for the Animal Assisted Therapy Program at St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center and Creature Comfort Pet Therapy.
She is survived by her husband, Neil Edelsack, a brother Ridgeway Cooper, a brother Mark Cooper, a sister Beverly Cox, and several nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in her name to the American Cancer Society. For condolence information, please contact email@example.com.
11.27.12 MSIH-BGU Director A. Mark Clarfield, MD, FRCPC will deliver the lecture "Squaring of the curve: Will our children in their old age be healthier than we will be in our later years?" to students and faculty at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health on Monday, December 3 at 12:00. Dr. Clarfield, who holds the Sidonie Hecht chair in Geriatrics at the Faculty of Health Sciences at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, received his medical degree at the University of Toronto, and has been Director of the MSIH since 2009.
11.9.12 Fall 2012 issue of student newsletter Balagan is now available. Editors Daniel Rhee and Jared Brazg, both fourth-year medical students at the Medical School for International Health, have just released the Fall 2012 edition of Balagan, which features an interview with MSIH-CU Director Richard Deckelbaum, MD and an interesting article on how it feels to be a fourth-year medical student from the MSIH in the United States for electives, so far away from Beer-sheva, their home away from home. Click here to read the newsletter.
11.10.12 Yocheved Miriam Russo writes a wonderful article in the Jerusalem Post today on the diverse population in Beersheva and how life at the MSIH prepares our graduates to practice anywhere in the world. Click here to read the pdf, or here to visit jpost.com.
Dr. Ken Prager, professor of clinical medicine, director of clinical ethics, and chairman of the medical ethics committee at Columbia University Medical Center, spent a Sunday evening with faculty, staff and medical students at the Medical School for International Health, discussing the role that medical ethics plays in the clinical setting in October.
Ross Green, a second-year medical student who graduated from the University of Arizona with a degree in Physiology, is the president of the MSIH’s Ethics Advisory Committee (EAC), which invited Dr. Prager to speak at their first meeting of the year.
After the lecture, he reflected on the lecture, noting that “today, with so many sub-specialized physicians, a patient may see a number of different doctors during their time in a hospital, but each one looks at them with such a tiny scope based on their specialty instead of stepping back and looking at the patient as a whole person. Medical ethics teaches us, and reminds us, that we are in this line of work to treat and help the patients, not just to solve cases.”
“We discussed some end of life situations that at first seemed like such complex cases (which they were)”, said Green, “but when we looked at it from the angle of the patient and the situation as a whole, the answer came together itself. This was a great way to kick off our first Ethics Advisory Committee event.” The EAC meets regularly to discuss the many ethical issues that arise during medical training, and to advise medical students who are facing ethical issues.
Global Health Forum features creators of Migrant Health:IL
Third year medical student Tobin Greensweig and MSIH alumni Jonah Mink, MD (‘12) gave the presentation “MigrantHealth:IL - Improving the Health of Marginalized Communities in Israel” to the Global Health Forum on Thursday, October 18th to a room packed with MSIH medical students, faculty and staff. The organization, Migrant Health:IL, was created by Dr. Mink and Mr. Greensweig, to coordinate and implement practical community-based healthcare solutions for marginalized communities in Israel. Starting with an electronic medical records system, and then creating the Migrant organization, the pair is now working to fund community health workers to staff the volunteer-only refugee clinic. As Dr. Mink explained “We’re coming up with new, low-cost, very efficient ideas of how to improve those sectors like food security and economic security, to improve the health of the community overall.” Click the image above to watch a clip from the talk. To watch the entire presentation, click here or visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z82WwX-YtP0.
11.5.12 November blogger of the month writes about settling in and getting through the homework
First-year medical student Jamie Klein, a graduate of the University of Michigan with a degree in movement science, is the November blogger of the month and writes about how she is getting through the rigorous coursework in the first year. Read http://firstyearmsih.blogspot.com and see what its like to be a first-year medicals student at the MSIH.
10.11.12 - Newly-launched organization created by MSIH student/alumni team improves healthcare delivery to refugees in Israel
MSIH graduate Jonah Mink, MD (‘12) and third-year medical student Tobin Greensweig have just launched MigrantHealth:IL, an organization that bridges the gaps in healthcare access, care coordination, data collection, and health education for the estimated 80,000 migrants and refugees residing in Israel.
In collaboration with the Tel Aviv Refugee Clinic (waiting room is seen at left) and African Refugee Development Center (ARDC), Dr. Mink and Mr. Greensweig recruited fourteen nurses from Eritrea to coordinate care, provide translation, and educate their population. The nurses are currently working as volunteers, and the results have been very encouraging. Clinic Director Orel Ben-Ari commented “the difference is night and day: in the first week that the system has been implemented, there have already been significant improvements in patient satisfaction, doctor satisfaction, clinic workflow, follow-up, and referral success.” The next step is to leverage the newly created electronic medical record system and start formal data collection with community outreach. In photo at left, Eritrean nurse Misginha, who is one of the volunteers in the Tel Aviv Refugee Clinic, located at the Tel Aviv Central bus station, gives an impromptu health education session to mothers and children waiting to see the doctor.
A fundraising campaign has just begun, with the goal to raise enough money to pay the nurses a living wage so they can remain at the clinic. As Dr. Mink summed up their progress, he commented ““We are starting something really amazing here that will have an impact not only in Israel but throughout the world as we refine and share our model.” For more information, visit http://www.migranthealth.org.il. To read the press release on the electronic medical records systems Dr. Mink and Mr. Greensweig developed, see 7.12.12 e-news update below.
9.27.12 MSIH Alumnus and 2012 Physician’s Oath Ceremony Speaker Inspires Medical Students
First-year medical students at the Medical School for International Health were on the edge of their seats as speaker Shannon Langston, MD, a 2007 graduate of the MSIH, described how his global health training prepared him be a more compassionate and competent physician. Dr. Langston, (seen at left, center with Dr. Asher Moser, Associate Director of Student Affairs, MSIH-BGU Director A. Mark Clarfield, MD, FRCPC, MSIH-CU Director Richard Deckelbaum, MD, FRCPC, and Lynne Quittell, MD, Co-Chair of the Admissions Committee) is the assistant professor of Emergency Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and was invited to be the first MSIH Alumni Association speaker for the Physician’s Oath ceremony, which marks the commencement of medical studies for first-year medical students at the MSIH.
Dr. Langston described his time spent studying global health at the MSIH as the most “transformative experience of my life,” explaining that he is from a rural town in the south, and was the first of his family to attend college. He never expected to attend medical school, and found that the global health curriculum prepared him to use a humanistic approach to medicine while working with underserved patients in both the United States and abroad.
After graduation, he completed his Emergency Medicine residency at Wayne State University’s Detroit Medical Center, which nationally recognized as the leader in emergency and trauma care and teaching. Dr. Langston admitted that in the emergency room he was often found spending too much time with patients, as others were waiting for care. However, in the end, his program director recognized that his humanistic approach was beneficial to patients in the ER, who are worried about their injuries or illnesses. He encouraged the first-year medical students to remember that “you are treating a patient, not a disease. Remember your patients and their reason for being here. It’s all right, from time to time, to be judged on being compassionate, even for entertaining a small child who is in a scary place.”
His interest was in international medicine, and after completing his residency he took additional coursework in tropical medicine, and began a fellowship in International Emergency Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, which offered him the ability to travel to multiple countries and work on emergency medicine projects abroad.
In a special Global Health Forum presented by the MSIH’s Global Health and Medicine Working Group, held the day before the Physicians Oath ceremony, Dr. Langston gave the talk “Health and Conflict in South Sudan: How they Interact” to a packed room of MSIH faculty, staff and medical students, where he described his work in the South Sudan. ( video clip here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_tQDGM2WYDI ) He spent five weeks in Akobo, a small town just south of the North Sudan border, where the life expectancy is 42 years, and the town was named “the hungriest place on earth” by the United Nations in 2010. His presentation and stories of his experiences treating civilians caught in the middle of a civil war, who were suffering from life-threatening infections, head injuries, protracted labor and other infectious diseases common in refugee camps left the audience speechless, humbled, and inspired to action.
Distinguished Service Awards
Distinguished Service Awards (formerly called the Dean’s List) were announced at the Physician’s Oath ceremony as well. These awards are given to individuals who have volunteered their time and who have performed services that have benefited those around them (class, school, hospital or community), without personal benefit or remuneration.
The 2012-13 DSA awards honored Jared Brazg, a fourth year medical student who graduated from the University of California at San Diego, for his work on the MSIH student newsletter Balagan; Deb Bloch, a fourth-year medical student who graduated from Barnard College with a degree in Anthropology, for her work with the Israeli AIDS Task Force; and third-year medical student Tobin Greensweig, a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara with a degree in Mechanical Engineering, for his work developing an electronic medical records system for the Refugee Clinic in Tel Aviv. (see news from July below)
In other news:
First-year medical students have been busy bonding with classmates while visiting some of Israel’s most famous sites. On Thursday, September 6, the first-year class traveled to Jerusalem’s Hadassah hospital, to have lunch with students in the master’s of public health program at Hadassah and watch their presentations on global health topics. Afterwards, MSIH students met with international students from Hebrew University, and toured the Old City, and historic sites like the western wall, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, excavations of ancient roadways. They then stopped at an observation point with a view of the entire city.
Rebecca Lapham, a graduate of St. Thomas University in Minneapolis, Minnesota, is writing a blog, “from lefse to pita”, http://fromlefsetopita.blogspot.co.il, with great photos from the day trip (see at left), nighttime hikes in the desert, and well her reflections as a first-year medical student in Israel.
First-year medical students are also participating in the blog First Year MSIH, http://www.firstyearmsih.blogspot.com, and each month a new blogger gives us four posts on life at the MSIH. Now in its third year, the blog has just added its 100th post and has over 60,000 pageviews to date.
9.13.12 - MSIH Students and Alumni Contribute to Global Health in North America
Last weekend, Annie Tubman, a fourth-year medical student at the Medical School for International Health, participated in a Global Health Workshop convened by the American Academy of Family Physicians in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The workshop centered around global health education and international collaboration, and connected faculty, residents, medical students, and global health leaders.
She presented the poster, “Choosing Primary Care in the Negev: Determinants of American and Israeli medical students going into family medicine,” was co-authored by Dr. Howard Tandeter of the BGU Family Medicine Department, and Avi Shack, current MSIH first-year medical student.
While at the conference, Annie met with five MSIH alumni, all who are specializing in family medicine. As seen in the photo at left: Annie Tubman, Amber Wiekamp, MD (‘10), a PGY-3 resident at University of Massachusetts’ Queens Street Family Health Center and participant in their Global Health track; Megan Guffey, MD, MPH (‘07), who just completed her residency training, and was chief resident of the Department of Family and Community Medicine at University of Arizona at Tucson; Stephanie Youd, MD, MPH (‘08) rural track faculty at Central Maine Medical Center; back row: Laura Blackford, MD (‘11) , a PGY-2 resident at the University of Wyoming at Casper; and Maria Cornelius, MD (‘07), a clinical assistant professor of the Family Medicine Residency Program at University of Wyoming’s College of Health Sciences in Casper, Wyoming
Dr. Wiekamp presented the poster “Colaboracion: Fostering a sustainable global health track.” A recent ten-year, longitudinal study showed that 71% of alumni from the first five graduating classes is involved in one or more areas of global health within two to eight years after graduation.
In other news:
Fourth-year medical student Moshe Prero attended the conference “Judaism, Medicine and the Formation of Clinicians” at the University of Chicago on Monday, September 10. The symposium gathered leading scholars of Judaism and medicine to consider how to best introduce traditional Jewish scholarship regarding medicine to health care professionals, and particularly physicians in training. MSIH Admissions Co-Chair Shimon Glick, MD, (seen at left with Moshe), who is also the MSIH’s fourth-year elective coordinator, and Dr. Kenneth Prager, director of Clinical Ethics at Columbia University Medical Center, chair of New York-Presbyterian Hospital’s Medical Ethics committee and frequent lecturer at the MSIH, were speakers at the conference. Moshe commented “It was wonderful to meet leaders in the field of medical ethics and to hear how they use their Jewish, cultural and spiritual background as a resource in the development of an ethical and compassionate physician.”
9.11.12 - First-year medical students at the Medical School for International Health will take part in the Physicians Oath ceremony on Thursday, September 13, at 11:00am, EDT. You can view the ceremony webcast live by clicking this link: http://www.daromtv.co.il/text.asp?wood=787 .
Two medical students from the Medical School for International Health, second-year student Amanda Norwich, MS and fourth-year student Keiko Chen attended the 19th International AIDS Conference this summer, held in Washington, DC from July 22 - 27.
Keiko, who will graduate in May 2013, was a delegate, and Amanda, who has a master’s degree in Biomedical Science, attended as one of over 2,000 volunteers who served the 22,000 delegates from nearly 200 countries.
As part of the conference, they had the opportunity to attend lectures by Dr. Anthony Fauci, a pioneer of HIV/AIDS research and editor of Harrison’s Internal Medicine, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim and prominent activists such as Phil Wilson, founder of the Black AIDS Institute, and Linda Scruggs.
The theme Turning the Tide Together focused on the eradication of HIV/AIDS and discussed the UNAIDS objectives of “Getting to Zero” through zero new infections, zero AIDS-related deaths and zero discrimination. New research was introduced and discussed, including recent FDA approval of Truvada as the first drug used to prevent the transmission of HIV with up to 75% risk reduction. Campaigns, such as Condomize (http://www.thecondomizecampaign.org/) promoted safe sex through condom use and education. (see photo above of the Condomize display at the conference.)
Ms. Chen, a graduate of Scripps College with a degree in Biology, plans to specialize in infectious disease. She was optimistic about the new information presented on HIV/AIDS treatments, noting “The 19th AIDS conference was truly remarkable in both scope of topics and range of expertise. We, the global community have the tools, the knowledge and continued creativity to offer care for all and even to declare the possibility of the eradication of HIV. Despite the ever-mounting work and challenges ahead, I believe each participant returned home with a renewed sense of hope and vigor to continue this fight. As I stand at the starting line of my own medical career and specialization in infectious diseases, I can’t help but feel grateful to my predecessors for always pressing forward and pushing the limit.”
Amanda (seen at left) and Keiko attended numerous sessions and met with some of the leading authorities on HIV/AIDS and global health. They will each present an overview of the conference proceedings and outcomes to their fellow MSIH students. Upon her return to Ben-Gurion University of the Negev to begin her third year of student at the MSIH, Amanda will present an update on the conference and current research on HIV/AIDs. Keiko, who is presently completing fourth year clinical electives at Columbia University Medical Center through the BGU-CU collaboration, will present her conference report to other fourth-year students in New York later this month.
8.2.12 - 2012 Entering Class at the Medical School for International Health Demonstrates Significant Interest in Global Health
The 2012 entering class has just arrived in Beersheva, Israel and is now in the middle of their second week of a four-week orientation prior to the commencement of their formal studies. In addition to taking tours of campus and visiting local historic sites, the students are also working with BGU student liaisons to find permanent housing, opening bank accounts and selecting cell phone plans.
The class of 31 has an average MCAT score of 30, nearly 8% higher than the previous entering class of 2011, and is comprised of 48% women and 52 % men. Nearly 26% graduated with a degree in Biology, and another 30% graduated with a non-science degree such as Theater Arts or Philosophy.
The class as a whole demonstrates significant interest and experience in global health activities. Here are a few of the notable members of the 2012 entering class:
Jonathan Ditty, (at left) a UCLA graduate with a degree in Biochemistry, who is one of two recipients of a four-year, $12,000 a year scholarship endowed by a generous contributor to the MSIH Scholarship Fund. Jonathan has been working with underserved populations as a disaster relief volunteer since his early teens, visiting disaster areas five times in the past four years.
Zach Morrison, a 2005 graduate of University of California at Berkeley with a degree in Bioengineering, is the other recipient of the four-year scholarship. Zach is a returned Peace Corps volunteer, who spent three years in Burkina Faso teaching math to middle school children and working to fund and build a community library.
Sarah Humphreys, MPH received her masters of public health in Health Policy and Administration from Yale University, after graduating from Brown University with a degree in Bioethics. Her extensive global health work ranges from a project on smoking and cardiovascular disease with the Global Health Leadership and the National Bank of Egypt, to an asthma study with Puerto Rican-Americans in the South Bronx.
Kathleen Biblowitz, has a bachelor’s degree in Law from Amherst College, and completed the Columbia University post-baccalaureate program in 2011. She worked as an intern at Columbia University Medical Center to get more medical experience in surgery, emergency medicine and prevention genetics.
Noah Gorelick, MS recently completed his masters degree in Physiology and Biophysics at Georgetown University. His advisor, Aviad Haramati, MD, is a professor of physiology and medicine at Georgetown University’s school of medicine, and a guest lecturer at the MSIH and BGU who delivered a lecture on physiology in January 2012. Noah is one of two members of the entering class who have received a Jesuit education, which emphasizes service to others and special concern for the underserved, and is compatible with the MSIH’s mission to humanize medicine on a global scale.
Jamie Lynn Borick and Joseph Borick, both from the University of Miami with bachelor degrees in Microbiology and Immunology, are the first married couple the MSIH has accepted in a few years, although every year there are students who are married and often have their spouses living with them in Beersheva. Both are passionate about working with the underserved, with experiences in Kenya and Haiti that drew them to the global health curriculum at the MSIH. Joseph summed up his interest in global health with a quote from Dr. Rudolph Virchow, who wrote “medical education does not exist to provide students with a way of making a living, but to ensure the health of community.”
Avram Shack, MA, (at left) is a Canadian citizen who graduated from McMaster University with a masters degree in Sociology, after receiving his undergraduate degree in Sociology from the University of Toronto He worked as a research coordinator in Toronto, with an interdisciplinary team, to integrate the treatment of elderly patients with congestive heart failure, and coordinated Jewish and Muslim groups to build campus partnership programs at the University of Toronto that involved humanitarian activities.
Jonathan Ditty and Zach Morrison, members of the 2012 entering class at the Medical School for International Health, are the recipients of two four-year, $12,000-a-year scholarships which were provided by a generous supporter to the MSIH Scholarship Fund. The awards are given to those applicants whose academic and personal accomplishments and interests most closely reflect the mission of the MSIH: to prepare doctors to address the cultural, political, economic and environmental factors that impact the health of populations and individuals.
Jonathan, (seen at right, waving), is a 2011 graduate of UCLA with a bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry, and has had an interest in global health since his early in his teens, when he accompanied his parents to the small Indonesian island, Nias, as part of a disaster relief team. He then returned three more times, delivering medical supplies, organizing optometry clinics, and supporting micro enterprise projects.
He described his experiences in Indonesia as the formation of his life’s work. “Indonesia gave me a passion for the world; my time there taught me to love people on the other side of the globe, it allowed me to love difference in culture, and it began in me a love for the field of global health.”
While at UCLA, Jonathan found time to travel to Burma to bring relief supplies to refugees of the cyclone Nargis, where he was learned up close how political factors impact global health: he was only allowed to work under military supervision and UN transportation. He then visited Haiti in January 2010 with Project Medshare, and saw how difficult the work of doctors can be in an undeveloped area. He has also worked in a local food pantry in Santa Monica, distributing clothes and food to the needy.
Zach Morrison (seen at center, left) is a 2005 graduate of the University of California at Berkeley, with a bachelor’s degree in Bioengineering. His extensive experience in working with the underserved began while he was an undergraduate at the University of California at Berkeley. He was drawn to the Bay area because of the social and political environment, and began to believe, he explained, “that serving the greater common good can be a way of life.” He volunteered in the Haight-Asbury Free Clinic in San Francisco and tutored several middle school-aged children.
After graduation, Zach joined the Peace Corps, where he worked in Burkina Faso as a secondary school education volunteer for two years. He worked at a middle school in Tcheriba, a rural village, teaching math classes using the mandated Burkinabe curriculum. He also revised lessons to incorporate critical thinking skills and developed worksheets for that purpose. After his two-year service was completed, he requested an extension, and used the year to develop and build a school library which would serve the entire community.
After returning to the United States, Zach completed his post-baccalaureate work at Harvard University. He spent the summer of 2011 working as an intern in the finance and education department of World Education, a non-profit organization that implements social development programs around the world.
In accepting his scholarship offer, he wrote “I am extremely excited to begin my studies at the MSIH. My over-arching goal is to combine primary care, education, and social commitment to empower under-served populations in America and abroad, particularly youth, to lead healthy, well-balanced lives. MSIH is in a unique position to enable me to further explore those ideals.”
Zach Morrison and Jonathan Ditty represent the kind of medical student who attends the MSIH, which enrolls a diverse student body of more than 150 men and women from around the world. Now celebrating its fifteenth year, the MSIH has 365 graduates in residency, fellowship, private practice, public policy and research positions in the United States, Canada, and abroad. Its mission to humanize medicine on a global scale continues to be fulfilled with the members of the entering class of 2012.
7.12.12 - MSIH students spend summer break working to improve healthcare delivery to refugees in Israel
Jonah Mink, MD (‘12), and Tobin Greensweig, a third-year medical student, are staying in Israel over the summer while collaborating on a project to improve medical services to refugees in Israel.
While doing a global health elective in Tel Aviv, which involved working with patients in the Israeli Ministry of Health’s Refugee Clinic, Jonah saw that despite the best intentions, files often went missing, or the internet connection to the Department of Health would go down. This clinic, which is funded by the Israeli government and the Israel Medical Association, is staffed with volunteers, so patients may never be treated by the same physician twice. And the files were stored based on a patient ID number, which made searching for information for a returning patient very difficult.
Many patients arrive at the clinic via the bus station in Levinsky Park (seen above, photo courtesy of MSIH second-year student R. Mayuri Garekipati) with advanced chronic diseases, infectious diseases such as malaria, or gunshot wounds suffered en route to Israel. Seeing the public health concerns led Jonah and Tobin, who are also members of ROI Community, a global network of Jewish innovators founded by philanthropist Lynn Schusterman, to take their knowledge of other healthcare systems in the world and apply it to this problem.
Tobin, who is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara with a degree in Mechanical Engineering, has experience working with electronic medical records in the third world. Together they drafted a proposal for a project to implement electronic medical records, using software that is easily customized for the clinic’s needs.
The Electronic Medical Records for Refugees in Israel project was launched in May 2012, and is currently being tested in the Tel Aviv Refugee Clinic. Tobin and Jonah are training staff and volunteers to use the new system onsite as well as through YouTube videos and training guides that they developed. They are also launching a program to train nurses from the refugee community to use the EMR system for coordinating patient appointments, diagnoses and treatments.
Once this system is in place, Jonah, who graduated from Brandeis University with a degree in Neuroscience and Biology, will be able to focus on entering the 2013 Residency Placement match. He plans to specialize in Family Medicine. He is using the 2012-13 academic year to advance the EMR project and several other global health-related initiatives.
Dr. Michael Gordon from Baycrest Hospital, University of Toronto delivers talk on ethics to MSIH students
Michael Gordon, MD, MSc, FRCPC visited the MSIH on May 28, 2012 to speak to medical students on the ethics of end-of-life care in the elderly. Dr. Gordon (seen at left with MSIH-BGU Director A. Mark Clarfield, MD, FRCPC) is one of Canada’s best known geriatric medical specialists: he is Director of Medical Ethics and Medical Program Director of Palliative Care at Baycrest Geriatric Health Care System in Toronto, Canada. He is also a professor of medicine in the division of geriatrics at the University of Toronto, and has written extensively on issues related to aging.
The well-attended lecture reflects the emphasis that the MSIH curriculum places on training medical students to develop a humanistic approach to care. Dr. Gordon summarized his lecture by stating “How we address the challenges and care issues of elderly patients as they reach the later stages of their life is a reflection of the respect that we should have for them and our dedication to helping their families during this most difficult and often heart-wrenching period. The provision of compassion, comfort and care should be paramount in how we as physicians and other health care professionals communicate and make our health care decisions.”
in other news…
The Medical School for International Health held a mid-summer happy hour on Tuesday, July 10, to celebrate the commencement of the 2012-13 academic year. Fourth-year medical students, who are in New York taking their electives at Columbia University Medical Center and its affiliates, joined other MSIH medical students, MSIH alumni, faculty and staff to welcome local incoming first-year medical students to the MSIH. MSIH-CU Director Richard Deckelbaum, (seen at left with second-year medical student Angelie Singh, MS) addressed the group, welcoming the new first-year medical students and noted “it’s nice to see the many layers of the MSIH represented here tonight. Our incoming first-year medical students have an opportunity to learn about the global health work that our alumni and current medical students are doing.”
MSIH’s first-year medical students are preparing to arrive on campus in Beer-sheva for the required one-month orientation that begins on July 22nd. In addition to tours of campus and of Beer-sheva, the first-years will have time to visit local historic sites like the Old City in Jerusalem. During orientation they also begin studying Emergency Medicine, and start intensive medical Hebrew.
7.5.12.- Second-year medical student and AMSA bookroom manager Renata Mazurek, MS, and MSIH Professor Mick Alkan, our esteemed professor of infectious disease, worked together to box and ship donated medical textbooks from MSIH students to the Patan Academy for Health Sciences (PAHS) in Nepal (see story below). The books just arrived, and Mr. H.E. Hanan Goder-Goldberger, Israel's Ambassador to Nepal, is shown at left handing the books over to Dr. Rajesh Gangol, Dean of PAHS in a reception held yesterday. Dr. Gangol expressed his appreciation for the ongoing cooperation, as PAHS and Soroka Medical Center have had faculty exchanges and workshops to strengthen medical education practices.
American Medical Student Association (AMSA) elections for the 2012-13 academic year have just concluded, and six MSIH students will step into leadership positions in the MSIH-AMSA chapter and the global AMSA organization.
Congratulations to the newly-elected members of MSIH’s AMSA chapter for the 2012-13 academic year. Anthony Squillaro, MPH, (at far right), a graduate of the College of the Holy Cross with a degree in philosophy, and Tim Lee (second from left), a Knox College graduate with a degree in biochemistry, will share the role of President. They are responsible for attending all MSIH Student Council meetings, coordinating the annual AMSA convention visit, advancing the AMSA mission through MSIH events, and ensuring that the MSIH is in accordance with chapter rules. Anthony received his master’s of public health at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health.
AMSA Programming Director is Katy Goldlist (far left), a native of Toronto, Canada, who graduated from Sarah Lawrence College. She will be responsible for organizing programming at AMSA and ensuring deadlines are met.
And AMSA Treasurer is Angelie Singh, MS, (second from right) who received her master’s degree in nutrition at Columbia University’s Institute of Human Nutrition (IHN). Dr. Richard Deckelbaum, the MSIH-CU Director and founder, is also director of the IHN. Angelie will run the AMSA book room and keep records of AMSA funding.
more AMSA news...
Second years Aubrey Raimondi (in photo, left) and Jess Wilson (in photo, right), the out-going Co-Presidents of the MSIH-AMSA chapter, traveled to the 2012 AMSA convention in Houston, Texas in March. They attended lectures on topics ranging from human trafficking, ethics, policy and single payer healthcare systems, to vaccine diplomacy and Hookworm, Leichmaniasis and Chagas disease.
One of the exciting things about the meeting were the elections for significant leadership positions within AMSA for the 2012-13 academic year. Jess was elected as the Regional Director for all AMSA chapters in Africa, the Middle East, Europe, and Australia. Aubrey was elected as the new International Trustee, and will oversee Jess and the new regional director for the Americas.
And Renata Mazurek, MS, who just completed her second year of medical school and was the AMSA treasurer and AMSA book room manager for 2011-12, teamed up with Professor Mick Alkan to help send 150 medical textbooks to the Patan Academy of Health Sciences (PAHS) in Nepal. Graduating MSIH students returned their books to the book room, and Renata selected books that would be donated instead of being re-sold, all in the ongoing effort to support medical students in underserved regions. Renata is another IHN graduate, receiving her master’s of nutrition in 2010.
According to the Global Health Workforce Alliance, PAHS employs highly innovative strategies in several areas to encourage its graduates to work to improve the health status of the rural poor. Dr. Alkan, an infectious disease expert, traveled to PAHS with other faculty from MSIH to participate in a ten-day faculty training workshop in 2008, where he acted as a team leader in lecturing on current medical education practices. He has been a member of the International Advisory Board for PAHS since 2008, and has visited the school several times in the past four years.
MSIH and BGU’s Tamar Golan Africa Centre sponsor lecture from leading infectious disease specialist
Dr. Debrawork Zewdie, Deputy Executive Director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria at the World Bank was the recipient of an Honorary Doctorate at BGU during BGU’s graduation ceremony in May 2012. Prior to graduation, Dr. Zewdie presented the lecture “Global Solidarity: the Fight Against AIDS” to faculty, staff and students. The lecture was presented jointly by BGU’s Tamar Golan Africa Centre and the MSIH.
Dr. Zewdie has worked at the World Bank since 1994, where she has managed the AIDS Campaign Team for Africa (ACTafrica) and led the team responsible for the one billion dollar multi-country HIV/AIDS program for Africa. Previously she held several research, management, and teaching positions, where she focused on public health issues such as tropical diseases, reproductive health, and sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS.
Alum from class of 2007 to speak to first-year medical students at the Physician’s Oath ceremony this September
Shannon Langston, MD (‘07), seen at left, has been selected by the MSIH Alumni Association to be the first alumni association speaker at the 2012 Physician’s Oath ceremony in September. Dr. Langston is an Assistant Professor in the department of emergency medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
He recently completed a two-year fellowship in International Emergency Medicine at Vanderbilt University following a residency in Emergency Medicine at Wayne State University’s Detroit Medical Center/Sinai Grace program. He worked in Haiti following the earthquake in 2010 and has spent significant time in Guyana, South America assisting with the creation of the first residency in emergency medicine there and the first masters-level residency program for the country.
He will meet with current students as well as colleagues while visiting the MSIH. This is the first of many engagements that the newly-formed MSIH Alumni Association hopes to organize to provide mentoring and support for current students. For more information about the MSIH Alumni Association, visit their page on the MSIH website by clicking here.
6.14.12 - Lee Goldman, MD, Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences and Medicine at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons delivers commencement address at MSIH graduation
The Medical School for International Health held its eleventh graduation ceremony on May 23 and was honored to have Lee Goldman, MD, MPH, Dean of the Faculties of Health Sciences and Medicine at Columbia University, deliver the commencement address.
The thirty graduates plus their families, friends, staff and faculty of the MSIH listened as Dr. Goldman jokingly told the audience, “I thought what I would do, in the next hour and a half, is give you a brief history of medicine.” He did, in fact, describe how modern advances in scientific medicine have improved healthcare outcomes over the past 40 years. He noted that medicine is a life-long profession, and he encouraged the graduates to continue learning, as the training they received will quickly be outdated. But he also stressed that “compassion, social commitment, and humanism, which are an integral part of the MSIH, are enduring qualities that go back to Hippocrates, and are critical components in medicine, as well.“ In photo abov e: Dr. Goldman, seen in the second row, left, with members of the class of 2012, MSIH staff, and Directors Richard Deckelbaum, MD (back row, second from right), and A. Mark Clarfield, MD, FRCPC (back row, far right).
MSIH graduate Jen Shafer, MD was nominated as the class commencement speaker, and her address was both humorous and poignant. “You may be wondering to yourselves, though, why Israel? Trust me, this is a question I and I’m sure we, have all answered A LOT in the last year. Truthfully, it’s the food,” she joked at the beginning of her address. But Dr. Shafer, who begin her family medicine residency at Lincoln Medical Education Partnership in Lincoln, Nebraska, summed up her experiences at the MSIH with a poem by American poet Anis Mojgani: “So when the world knocks at your front door, clutch the knob and open on up, running forward into its widespread, greeting arms, with your hands before you, fingertips trembling though they may be.”
Gold Humanism Awards given to four members of the graduating class of 2012
Four members of the 2012 graduating class, and one who will graduate in 2013, were given the Gold Humanism Award, which honors a graduating medical student’s commitment to service, outstanding compassion in the delivery of care, respect for patients, and demonstrated clinical excellence. From left to right, Rachel Barney, MS, MD, (who was given this award last year, and graduated this year), who will take her residency in emergency medicine/family medicine at Christiana Care Health in Newark, Delaware; Ayol Samuels, MD, who has been chosen for the department of psychiatry residency program at Albert Einstein College of Medicine/Montefiore Medical Center in Bronx, New York; Megan Straughan, MD, who will begin her general surgery residency at Greenville Hospital at the University of South Carolina in Greenville, South Carolina; Katherine Horan, MD, MPH, who will return home to Baystate Medical Center at Tufts University for her residency in pediatrics; Jonah Mink, MD, who will be spending a year working on global health projects before entering the 2013 residency placement match, and Rachael Dunham, not pictured, who took a leave of absence this year, and will graduate in 2013.
Global Surgery Day workshop brings leading global health surgeon to the MSIH
Dr. Dan Deckelbaum, MPH, son of MSIH-CU Director Richard Deckelbaum, MD, who is a leading trauma surgeon and co-director of the Global Surgery Center at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, helped coordinate the all-day Global Surgery workshop on Sunday, April 29th.
Minsoo Kim, who came to the MSIH after graduating from the Rochester Institute of Technology with a degree in Biology, is a rising fourth-year medical student and participated in the day-long workshop. He commented “we had some discussions about how we, as medical students, can impact on the world medical society by participating in medical literature publications. We were very encouraged by lecturers to publish our epidemiology/global health experiences (especially during the fourth year global health electives) into scientific studies.”
Dr. Deckelbaum is a general surgeon with subspecialty training in trauma and critical care. In addition to his clinical work at McGill University he has developed an avid interest in disaster management and emergency response. He has worked at several disasters including Hurricane Ike, suicide bombings in Mogadishu, massacres in northern Kenya and most recently the earthquake in Haiti.
The Medical School for International Health is honored to announce that Lee Goldman, MD, MPH, Dean of the Faculties of Health Sciences and Medicine at Columbia University will deliver the commencement address at the MSIH’s eleventh graduation ceremony on May 23, 2012 in Beer-Sheva, Israel.
The day before the graduation, Dr. Goldman will present the lecture “Predicting Future Coronary Heart Disease: Scientific Methods and Behavioral Madness” to students and faculty at the MSIH and Ben-Gurion University. Dr. Goldman’s lecture is presented by the Department of Medicine at Ben-Gurion University and MSIH's Global Health Forum, which sponsors lectures from leading authorities on global health related topics throughout the year.
Dr. Goldman, who is a cardiologist by training, received his undergraduate and medical degrees from Yale University, where he also earned a master’s degree in public health. He is recognized internationally as an expert in health outcomes research and public health. He have developed predictive models used by clinical investigators and practicing physicians throughout the world, including the Goldman Index for assessing the cardiac risk of non-cardiac surgeries, and the Goldman Criteria for identifying patients who require hospitalization for chest pain. He also created the first “hospitalist” program for physicians who specialize in providing care for hospitalized patients.
You can watch the graduation ceremony live by clicking the link here: http://www.daromtv.co.il/text.asp?wood=787. (Please note that this link may not work with all browsers)
5.17.12 - Second-year medical student Molly Sonenklar (seen at left), who graduated of the University of Maryland with a degree in Biology, delivered a Global Health Forum lunch-time talk to students on her experiences in rural Uganda on May 3, 2012. Her talk “Medicine in Rural Uganda”, described her work with the Global Youth Partnership for Africa. She spent three years coordinating a medical and health education project in rural Uganda, which involved sending Israeli physicians to Uganda to provide outreach clinics in remote areas, and train local health workers. She recruited Israeli volunteer physicians, worked with Ugandan counterparts to coordinate the visiting physician’s work, and prepared them for their trip.
Molly is the MSIH’s representative to the Israeli Medical Student Union. She coordinates activities shared between the two BGU medical schools, with events such as the annual Teddy Bear Hospital held every May. The Teddy Bear Hospital was created to give kindergarten-aged children a way to learn about visiting the doctor and hospital by bringing their dolls and teddy bears into the hospital for check-ups. Maayan Melamed, seen at right, demonstrates a “check-up” to a child’s stuffed rabbit during an introductory session for kindergarteners prior to their visit to the Teddy Bear Hospital.
A team of medical students from MSIH and students from BGU was awarded the top prize at the 2012 International Emory Global Health Case Competition on Saturday, March 31. The competition included twenty-five teams giving case presentations, two of which were delivered via video (the MSIH was one of those, of course!). Video presentations were judged by a separate committee, and MSIH was selected as the winner. Each team was required to included students from multiple disciplines, and to develop a plan for distribution of development aid in Sri Lanka, and was given five days to prepare the plan.
This is Emory’s second national Global Health Case competition, which was expanded in 2011 to include students from thirteen universities across the United States.This prestigious and highly competitive competition was created to promote awareness of and develop innovative solutions for 21st century global health issues. It is another way that students can participate in real-world global health challenges, using a real-world, multidisciplinary approach.
Congratulations to first-year medical students Angelie Singh and Chris Brown (at left top and bottom of photo), who collaborated with second-year medical students Evan Cantor and Jessica Wilson (front right). Two BGU students, Mike Mitchel, an MBA-Social Leadership candidate in the Graduate School of Management (seen at top right), and Jesse Ayala, a journalist studying for a master's degree in BGU's Middle Eastern Studies program (not pictured) were on the team as well. Chris and Jessica are both returned Peace Corps volunteers: Chris served in Senegal, West Africa, and Jess in Guyana.
in other news.....First-year medical student Devin Patchell, MPH and second-year medical student Irene Koplinka-Loehr presented Global Health Made Local: a practical component to global health at MSIH at the second annual Global Health Symposium on April 1, 2012 . This is a proposal to add a practical component to the global health curriculum which would enhance experiential learning in the first year, by pairing up students with local families in underserved communities. Students would meet with these families on a monthly basis to investigate a relevant health topic and assess if any improvement can or should be made (within the views of the family). This would challenge students to navigate cultural, economic, and practical concerns when applying their global health knowledge in the context of family life.
This is the first in a series of reports on the 2012 Global Health and Medicine Symposium. Our next report will highlight the projects from the fourth-year students’ Global Health elective clerkships.
The second annual Global Health and Medicine Symposium at the Medical School for International Health was held on April 1, 2012, just days after fourth-year medical students returned from their eight-week global health elective clerkships in sites around the world.
Presented by the Global Health and Medicine Forum, a group of students and faculty who meet regularly as part of the Global Health and Medicine working group at the MSIH, the symposium highlights the innovative global health work being undertaken by students at the MSIH and the Ben-Gurion University community, and encourages further collaboration and idea-sharing.
Third-year medical students Sanjai Dayal and Dana Wang (seen in photo above), members of the Mental Health Interest Group at the MSIH, presented their research on “Attitudes toward Psychiatry among Global Health Medical Students”. The research involved a survey of medical students at the MSIH (n = 98). Results showed that females and students with prior volunteering experiences in mental health had more negative attitudes toward psychiatry. Females showed a more negative attitude in 2 particular areas: psychiatric patients & illnesses, and psychiatric treatment. You can find more information about the Mental Health Interest Group by visiting their blog at http://www.mentalhealthinterestgroup.blogspot.com/
This year’s keynote speaker was Rabbi Micha Odenheimer, founder of the Tevel b’Tzedek (The Earth in Justice) organization, a group dedicated to promoting social and environmental justice. Tevel b’Tzedek operates a four-month learning service program in Haiti and Nepal program for young adults, as well as other humanitarian efforts such a sustainable agriculture, education, and women’s empowerment.
The global health curriculum at the MSIH is incorporated into all four years of the medical school curriculum through workshops, special lectures and modules. Fourth-year medical students take an eight-week global health clerkship in supervised sites in locations such as Sri Lanka, and India and in independent electives around the world. GHM Clerkship presentations will be outlined in the next e-news update, so stay tuned!
4.19.12 - MSIH Admissions Co-Chair Shimon Glick, MD spoke at the Jeff Seidel Student Information Center at BGU in March on the role of Judaism in Medical Ethics. Dr. Glick, a native of New Jersey who graduated from SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York, trained as an internist and endocrinologist and is a leading authority on medical ethics.
Formerly Dean of BGU’s Faculty of Health Sciences, Dr. Glick’s research has been published in numerous medical journals. His abstract The teaching of medical ethics to medical students was published in the Journal of Medical Ethics in 1994, and can be read by clicking this link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1376563/pdf/jmedeth00293-0041.pdf.
Members of the Ethics Advisory Committee, a student-run organization at the MSIH, participated in the event; the Jeff Seidel Center holds the “Delicious Dinners and Engaging Programs” every Monday.
Dr. David McRay, director of Maternal-Child Health in the Department of Family Medicine at John Peter Smith Hospital (JPS) in Fort Worth, Texas, delivered a Global Health Forum discussion on Global Health Education in Residency: What are the options and how do you chose? on March 29, 2012. Dr. McRay brings a group of medical students and residents from the JPS Health Network to Israel every year to train at Soroka Medical Center as part of their global medicine elective rotations.