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Recently, I had a great conversation with Dave Reidel and Torri Ross, Midd alums from the Class of 1998. They will soon leave for Ghana for a two-year stint with the HIV/AIDS programs funded by PEPFAR (President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief). After graduation, Dave went to medical school at Penn State, completed a residency in internal medicine at Johns Hopkins, and then completed a fellowship in infectious diseases at University of Maryland. An HIV/AIDS expert, Dave has pursued several research projects in India, Singapore, Malawi, Zambia, Tanzania, and Rwanda. Not to be upstaged, Torri earned an MPH at Tulane and then spent two years in the Peace Corps as a community health volunteer in Nepal. She returned to the US and settled at Johns Hopkins for the next five years and did research in women’s health with one study based in Ghana. Torri then completed an RN in nursing, and for the past year has worked as a nurse at the University of Maryland. Oh yeah, at some point in their peripatetic lives they managed to get married.

Torri and Dave’s passionate interest in global health is shared by many other Midd alums. UCLA Assistant Professor Annie Rimoin is investigating the emergence of monkeypox as a human disease in Africa. Rick Hodes has dedicated much of his professional life to caring for patients in Ethiopia, and has formed an international network of surgeons that perform corrective surgery on Ethiopian children. As the president of Save the Children, Charlie MacCormack leads an organization that is respected around the world.

I would like to hear from others in the Middlebury community who are working in global health. Write back with your stories and we will begin to build an alumni network as a resource for current students. Why would such a resource be useful? Well, so far this year, four students are busy designing majors in global health and development though our independent scholar program. A fifth proposal is already in committee review. These students are mining our curriculum for courses in global health and development and have created a solid foundation. Summer internships in global health would enhance the meaning and significance of this academic work, and so I am eager to know of off-campus opportunities that I can share with interested students.

I would also like to know whether there is interest out there in formalizing these curricular interests in global health. By assembling the right combination of courses in sociology and anthropology, political science, economics, foreign languages, and the sciences, along with unique opportunities to pursue internships in global health, perhaps through study abroad, we could create a minor in global health. Is this a good idea? Post a comment and let us know.

28 Responses to “A Passion for Global Health: Guest Blog by Bob Cluss, Dean of Curriculum”

  1. Romany Redman says:

    A minor in global health is an excellent idea. A really good idea. Besides the many independent scholars this year who are pursuing global health as their major, I know many many other students who are passionate about these issues. I have spoken with a few students who would gladly major or minor in public health if this was an option for them. However, the bureaucracy of IS is pretty daunting. While many of these fellow students are gladly following other curricula, it is difficult to work in courses of personal interest related to global health. Global public health dips into so many disciplines.Some of us hope to pursue careers in public health and would appreciate the liberal-arts-ish spread of courses.
    So, catering to students and establishing a global health program would make it more accessible to students who would be otherwise pressured by departmental reqs.
    I didn’t really say that to clearly. What I mean is: GREAT IDEA

  2. Bonnie Pease Keeler, M.D. says:

    Though I am not a Middlebury alum, I do live in the community and run a nonprofit organization, Edgewood Health Initiative, which is funded by a local business person. We fund professional development and educational activities for doctors and medical students committed to working in the developing world. We do this in partnership with several US based global health organizations, such as Partners in Health, Doctors of the World, and Weill Cornell Medical College’s Department of International Medicine. We are supporting doctors in Haiti, Tanzania, Kenya and Rwanda at present. I will be in Africa Nov. 7 to 24, 2008 visiting with some of our partner organizations.
    I hope you will consider us as a local resource. I would be happy to make a presentation to a group of interested students upon my return. We might also consider taking a summer intern at EHI.
    I am delighted that Middlebury students are showing such great interest in global health. At Cornell’s Medical School, of which I am a graduate, nearly 80% of all students have international clinical experience during their four years, which is a good sign!

  3. Global public health dips into so many disciplines.Some of us hope to pursue careers in public health and would appreciate the liberal-arts-ish spread of courses.
    So, catering to students and establishing a global health program would make it more accessible to students who would be otherwise pressured by departmental reqs.

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  15. Davis says:

    That’s such a wonderful story just like in the movie where both will work at the same field and fall in love together doing what they love to do. I would view global health as an growing concern with so many chemicals and biological warfare lingering around the corners and further discussion on how we can cope with health at a global level is a must.

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    http://www.nursetrainingcenter.com

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