The Global Health Research Pathway


Our mission is to train the next generation of pulmonary and critical care physician-scientists with a focus on global lung health using basic, clinical/translational, policy and implementation science approaches.

Our Rationale

There is a tremendous global burden of acute and chronic pulmonary and critical care disease. Of the ten leading causes of death worldwide four are related to pulmonary medicine. Tuberculosis remains the leading cause of death due to a single infectious agent, and emerging epidemic viral pulmonary disease is a major threat in Africa as well as East Asia and globally. Chronic respiratory disease including biomass and tobacco-related airways disease and critical illness are also receiving increased attention globally both in terms of burden of disease and as an identified knowledge gap.

Despite this enormous need there are few programs to train Pulmonary Critical Care physicians in global health and global health research methods. Our program at Columbia University has several unique advantages that we have leveraged to create a Global Health Research Pathway (GHRP).


GHRP fellows are expected to be focused, motivated and productive. The GHRP is a 4-year pathway within the pulmonary and critical care fellowship training program with specific experiences offered each year of fellowship training. Fellows interested in pursuing the GHRP will apply for a position during their second year of fellowship. One to two trainees per year may enter the GHRP. Prior international clinical or research experience is expected for fellows interested in the GHRP. During fellowship, GHRP fellows are expected to submit abstracts, present at international conferences, write papers, and apply for mentored and independent funding.

Clinical and research exposures locally at the Mailman School of Public Health, specific labs at the College of Physicians and Surgeons, and through the New York City Department of Health and Mental Health (DOHMH) are available during the clinical years. Working with Divisional leadership, GHRP fellows will identify mentors and projects within the Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine Division or Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.

During the 3rd year, fellows in the GHRP will attend epidemiology and population health courses at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. Fellows in the GHRP are also required to complete a core course in Global Health (Introduction to Global Health). For GHRP fellows with appropriate research training and well-developed research methods for their project, travel to foreign sites during their 3rd year is encouraged to initiate their research and gather preliminary data.

The majority of the 4th year is devoted to international research, analysis of collected data and/or further coursework. This is a non-ACGME accredited year and is tailored to each GHRP fellow’s specific needs.

GHRP fellow’s progress will be formally reviewed bi-annually by the T-32 Executive Committee to ensure the GHRP fellow is on a trajectory that will lead to a K-award. Support will be through mentorship, bi-annual formal programmatic review, and training grant support.

Research Opportunities and Resources

Opportunities for research include the East Africa Training Initiative (EATI), Tuberculosis Trials Consortium, Centre for AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA), the KwaZulu-Natal Research Institute for TB and HIV (K-RITH), and the Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI), as well as additional opportunities through the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. GHRP faulty have ongoing international research in South Africa, Ethiopia, Uganda, Moldova, as well as multinational collaborations. Areas of focus include, viral pathogen discovery, severe acute respiratory illness, tuberculosis, chronic respiratory disease, and biomass associated lung disease. Methodological approaches include clinical and molecular epidemiology, translational research, implementation science, and health policy.

Research Faculty 

  • Max O'Donnell, MD, MPH, Director, Global Health Research Pathway
    Affiliation: Columbia University School of Medicine
    Interests: TB, SARI, viral respiratory infection
  • Neil Schluger, MD
    Affiliation: Columbia University School of Medicine
    Interests: TB, Chronic lung disease

Affiliated Faculty


  1. Jain P, Hartman TE, Eisenberg N, O'Donnell MR, Kriakov J, Govender K, Makume M, Thaler DS, Hatfull GF, Sturm AW, Larsen MH, Moodley P, Jacobs WR, Jr. 2012. phi(2)GFP10, a high-intensity fluorophage, enables detection and rapid drug susceptibility testing of Mycobacterium tuberculosis directly from sputum samples. J Clin Microbiol 50:1362-1369.[fulltext]
  2. Gopal M, Padayatchi N, Metcalfe JZ, O'Donnell MR. 2013. Systematic review of clofazimine for the treatment of drug-resistant tuberculosis. Int J Tuberc Lung Dis 17:1001-1007.[fulltext]
  3. Cohen KA, Abeel T, Manson McGuire A, Desjardins CA, Munsamy V, Shea TP, Walker BJ, Bantubani N, Almeida DV, Alvarado L, Chapman SB, Mvelase NR, Duffy EY, Fitzgerald MG, Govender P, Gujja S, Hamilton S, Howarth C, Larimer JD, Maharaj K, Pearson MD, Priest ME, Zeng Q, Padayatchi N, Grosset J, Young SK, Wortman J, Mlisana KP, O'Donnell MR, Birren BW, Bishai WR, Pym AS, Earl AM. 2015. Evolution of Extensively Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis over Four Decades: Whole Genome Sequencing and Dating Analysis of Mycobacterium tuberculosis Isolates from KwaZulu-Natal. PLoS Med 12:e1001880.[fulltext]
  4. Sherman CB, Carter EJ, Braendli O, Getaneh A, Schluger NW. 2016. The East African Training Initiative. A Model Training Program in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine for Low-Income Countries. Ann Am Thorac Soc 13:451-455. [fulltext]