July 15, 2011
by Dr. Kenneth Geller
An investment banker returning from a business trip in Warsaw, Poland, develops a fever, cough and muscle aches on the morning he is to return to Chicago. His flight stops in Frankfurt and then New York where he changes planes before going on Chicago. Just before landing he becomes diaphoretic (sweaty) and dizzy. An ambulance meets the plane and he is transported to the hospital where he is diagnosed as having a serious, deadly form for influenza A. Within three days he dies from fulminant pneumonia and respiratory failure. The CDC (Communicable Disease Center) in Atlanta is consulted to track down all his contacts and isolate them. The incubation period for this viral infection is five days.
Welcome to Challenges in Global Health. We no longer live in a world separated by large oceans and impassable deserts and mountains. Commuter and business class flights locally and all over the world can bring disease to us from all corners of the earth. How do we deal with this epidemiological problem that affects everyone in the world?
BISC 499 Challenges in Global Health, taught by a distinguished faculty at Oxford University in Great Britain, will begin to address this problem through a series of lectures on topics which are current challenges we face in 21st-century medicine. The student participants will be studying five major areas which introduce you to a number of major issues:
- Challenges in Global Health addresses the major public health challenges in developing countries and their remedies
- Health Policy and Public Health examines the major principles of public health and the effect of different cultures on its implementation
- Tropical Medicine reviews the more common tropical infectious disease and how they are treated in areas with limited resources
- Vaccinology explores the difficulties in making and distributing vaccines in the third world
- International Development and Health aims to look at the broader issues and challenges to health in those countries struggling with modernization in a global economy.
I am hopeful that these discussions and associated research projects and presentations will stimulate the students to develop a more “global” view of the medical issues facing the world as well as give them a great introduction to the field of Global Health and will serve, perhaps, as a platform for them to then explore, in greater depth, specific international venues and problems.
Dr. Kenneth Geller is the vice chairman in the Department of Surgery and the director of the Division of Otolaryngology and Communicative Disorders at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles. He is also the coordinator of the Pediatric Otolaryngology Rotation for residents from Los Angeles County+USC Medical Center and UCLA Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery residency. In addition to his medical degree, he has a master’s degree in education from USC. Dr. Geller was also recently named as the new director of the USC Dornsife-Keck School of Medicine Academic and Advising Program.