Video @CGD: Why Forests? Why Now?

Global warming and climate change are real and pressing issues for today’s world that cannot continue to grow without any action. Both natural events as well has human activity have led to an increase in average global temperatures. Shifts in climate, extreme weather events, and rising temperatures affect each and every one of us, but more importantly, disproportionately affect our most poor and vulnerable populations.

The impoverished not only face more difficulty obtaining medical care, food, and proper shelter, but also lack the resources to recover from natural disasters quickly. Homes and livelihoods are often lost or significantly damaged because of floods or droughts never seen in this magnitude before. Because of this, we cannot even begin to think about ending poverty without first addressing the issue of climate change.

One proposed solution is to reduce deforestation, and keep tropical forests standing to keep carbon sinks intact. These intact forests not only store large quantities of carbon, but also absorb about one-fifth of carbon dioxide emissions each year. These forests are so vital that they were recognized in the Paris agreement, calling for countries to conserve these forests along with other carbon reservoirs in order to mitigate the effects of climate change.

Not only do tropical forests help mitigate the impacts of global warming, but can also contribute towards the achievement of 4 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs revolving around food, water, health, energy, and human safety are all impacted by the success of maintaining these critical forests.

Maintaining tropical forests make sense economically. Carbon pricing, which is putting a price on carbon pollution based on its wide-ranging effects, has been implemented among 40 countries already, with many seeing success. One of these countries is Brazil, who has already seen a reduction in its deforestation rate of 80% since 2004. Brazil has been utilizing satellite-based technologies to track illegal deforestation and alert environmental police to these areas quickly, with other countries hoping to follow similar models.

Other economic incentives include performance-based payments (PBMs) between high and low-income countries. One such partnership between Guyana and Norway, has seen success in 6 areas, including for example broad buy-in throughout Guyana and strengthening its institutions of forest governance. However, this has not been without difficulties as well, including increasing commercial pressures from logging markets, and long-term uncertainty about the success of these partnerships.

While these initiatives have shown initial success, more impactful solutions such as a reduction in energy subsidies worldwide could free up government spending. This spending in turn, could be targeted towards poor populations in a variety of ways, such as strengthening social protection systems.

So why now? As the impacts of global warming and climate change increase, so too do their effects on poverty. Unless we decide to act now, our ability to target extreme poverty will become even more difficult. In order to reach our SDG of ending all poverty by 2030, we must act now and we must act quickly. Protecting and restoring tropical forests, establishing more global partnerships between low and high income countries, and improving other incentives are critical for the future our Earth as well as its inhabitants.

Global News Round Up

Politics & Policies

Business prides itself on solutions that generate a significant return on investment. As a rule, U.S. global health programs follow this principle. For less than 1 percent of the federal budget, global health investments have yielded impressive results above and beyond their original price tag, and are poised for even greater returns in the future.

Harvard Global Health Institute and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine formed an Independent panel to analyze the global response to Ebola. Their work resulted in a report in the Lancet which identifies 10 important recommendations for reform.

While children in the U.S. are often required to be current on their vaccinations or receive a special waiver in order to attend public school, there is no requirement for adult vaccinations.

In this era of deep political divides and polarized opinions, we should let evidence – not politics – direct actions to benefit everyone in our country.

No More Epidemics is calling on all countries to publish their completed assessments of national capacities to prevent, detect and respond to epidemic threats, known as the Joint External Evaluation (JEE).

According to Robert Gebelhoff of the Washington Post, resistant malaria needs to be a high priority for the new administration and governments in the developing world.

Federal health officials may be about to get greatly enhanced powers to quarantine people, as part of an ongoing effort to stop outbreaks of dangerous contagious diseases.

The Indian government has cut ties with Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and has decided to fund and manage the immunization programs on its own.

In response to Greenpeace’s study that estimated that nearly 1.2 million people die each year due to high concentrations of air pollutants, India’s Environment Minister said that “there is no conclusive data available in the country to establish direct correlation-ship of death exclusively with air pollution.”

Margaret Chan, outgoing director of the World Health Organization, is urging greater collaboration among global health organizations in the face of a challenging political environment in the United States.

Programs, Grants & Awards

Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, the American Public Health Association (APHA), The Climate Reality Project, Harvard Global Health Institute, the University of Washington Center for Health and the Global Environment and Dr. Howard Frumkin, former director of the CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health, announced a Climate & Health Meeting that will take place on February 16, 2017 at The Carter Center in Atlanta, Georgia.

On Feb. 14, women’s-rights activists around the world are commemorating V-Day, hoping to raise awareness of violence against women worldwide. The campaign, One Billion Rising, refers to the U.N. projections that 1 in 3 women will be raped or beaten in her lifetime, or 1 billion in the world.

The Aid & Development Africa Summit 2017 is an exclusive platform uniting regional and global expertise and offering a unique opportunity for cross-sector engagement between UN and government agencies, NGOs, donors and the private sector.

In advance of the upcoming 7th Annual Global Health Conference taking place at FIU this March, FIU’s Global Health Consortium brought representatives from around the world to Washington, D.C. to evaluate the strategies for monitoring and decreasing the impact of antimicrobial resistance.

With funding from The Rockefeller Foundation, Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, home to the nation’s first academic program in climate and health, today announces a Global Consortium on Climate and Health Education to share best scientific and educational practices and design model curricula on the health impacts of climate change for academic and non-academic audiences.


A new study projects that by 2035, cardiovascular disease, the most costly and prevalent killer, if left unchecked, will place a crushing economic and health burden on the nation’s financial and health care systems.  According to the study, in the next two decades, the number of Americans with cardiovascular disease will rise to 131.2 million (45 percent of the total US population) with costs expected to reach $1.1 trillion.

A new study found that nearly all of about 400,000 employees at large companies nationwide in the US face increased risk of heart disease and stroke from obesity, high blood pressure, poor diet and and other risk factors.  The findings, published Tuesday in the journal Health Affairs, illustrate the need for more workplace health initiatives grounded in science and evidence to inspire employee health and reduce employer costs, study authors said.

People who are overweight in their 20s and then become obese later in life may be three times more likely to develop esophageal or stomach cancer, according to new research.

CD8 T cells protect adult naive mice from JEV-induced morbidity via lytic function.

A study recently published in Virus Research took a look into the presence of Zika virus in human breast milk.

Diseases & Disasters

Early cancer diagnosis saves lives and cuts treatment costs, the United Nations health agency today said, particularly in developing countries where the majority of cancer cases are diagnosed too late.

The Zika infection has prompted the World Health Organization to declare a global health emergency due to the link to thousands of suspected cases of babies born with small brains – or microcephaly – in Brazil.  But there are still many, crucial, unanswered questions.


Philanthropist and former Microsoft exec Melinda Gates said this week that the data we have on global health is improving – in part because of projects undertaken by the Gates Foundation and other philanthropic organizations — but there’s still a long way to go.

Environmental Health

On Feb 5th, Dubai residents ditched their cars to participate in the country’s 8th year car-free day initiative.

Human activity is changing the climate 170 times faster than natural forces.” In the last 45 years, temperatures have increased by the equivalent of 1.7C per century and the warmest years on record have occurred since 1998.

New research shows that air pollution has become such a danger that now the ill-effects of breathing in fine particulates outweighs the usual health benefits of 30 minutes of cycling each way.

Equity & Disparities

A model for fighting against hunger and malnutrition with a global reach which has been successful within and outside the region has spread worldwide, first from Brazil and then from Latin America, notes a distinction given to the current Director-General of FAO (United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation), José Graziano da Silva.

Violence toward women does not, at first sight, appear to be a problem in Hong Kong, Japan or South Korea. Overall homicide rates are among the lowest in the world — below 1 per 100,000 people — and street crime is rare. Harassment is also uncommon: women generally feel safe when going out alone at night.  But despite the veneer of safety, the three jurisdictions actually have the highest rate of female homicide victims in the world.

Maternal, Neonatal & Children’s Health

Nine countries have committed to halve preventable deaths among pregnant women and newborns in the next five years.

A study in the International Journal of Epidemiology found problems in the methodology and analysis in the three widely cited studies on the impact of mass deworming in Africa.


Climate & Health Meeting: Live Webcast on February 16th

The following message is from APHA’s environmental health team.

The science on climate change and health is under attack. And we risk seeing the clock turned back decades.

That’s why APHA stepped up and joined forces with former Vice President Al Gore and others to host a meeting on Thursday Feb. 16 focused on climate change and health. We believe it is critical that climate change and other important public health issues receive the attention they deserve and that the drive toward solutions continues. Don’t miss your chance for a front row seat to the meeting via a live webcast!

The Climate & Health Meeting will bring together public health professionals, the climate community and others who are key to confronting and managing climate-related public health challenges.

View the live webcast

We hope to see you there! A recording will be available for any sessions you cannot view live.


Surili Patel
Senior Program Manager – Environmental Health

Surili Sutaria Patel

Questions? Please contact our environmental health team or tweet us @EH_4_All.

Open letter to Dr. Georges Benjamin, Executive Director of the American Public Health Association

As APHA members and Section leaders, we cheer and applaud you for working with Al Gore and partners to revive the cancelled CDC conference on Climate Change. Many of us were seriously concerned with the self-censoring by CDC as a harbinger of worse things to come. The solution supported by APHA is a great inspiration to us.

We vigorously urge you to continue taking strong positions against Executive Orders and laws that would jeopardize the health, safety, and lives of women, children, and men in the U.S. and around the world.

We look to you, as Executive Director of APHA, to lead our 25,000-member strong professional association in speaking out against laws and policies that harm health. With regulatory protections, programs, and budgets for public health now under attack, it is incumbent upon us as public health professionals to remain true to our values, principles, and responsibilities. This may require extraordinary courage in the coming months and years. But that’s APHA’s role. If there is any time in the history of APHA to take a strong stand it is now. Taking the lead to educate the President, his staff, the Congress, and the American people on the science of public health is clearly within the mandate of APHA. Urging Congress to maintain programs and budgets to avoid illness and save lives of women, children, and men who could be denied their right to health and health care is critical. The undersigned Sections are particularly concerned most immediately about the executive order that reinstates and expands the scope of the Mexico City Policy (also known as the “Global Gag Rule”) and other threats of massive cuts in foreign assistance for health. Other major issues of concern abound.

If you need support to assist with external communication for this urgent and ongoing endeavor, please call on us as members to help draft press releases or whatever communication is needed. APHA´s many policy statements on climate change, global and domestic maternal, infant and child morbidity and mortality, global and domestic reproductive health and family planning, HIV/AIDS, malaria/zika/other infectious tropical diseases, tobacco control, gun control, war, refugees, ACA, social and health inequity in the U.S., etc. include information on the science for our arguments that can be quickly translated into press releases and other forms of communication. Your efforts in representation of the public health professional community are greatly valued and appreciated.

Signatories to this letter on behalf of their respective Component:

International Health – Chair, Laura C. Altobelli, DrPH, MPH
Aging and Public Health – Chair, Caryn Etkin, PhD, MPH
Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drugs – Chair, Linda J. Frazier, MA, RN, MCHES
Chiropractic Health Care – Chair, Michael Haneline, DC, MPH
Community Health Planning & Policy Development – Chair, Ashley Wennerstrom, PhD, MPH
Disability – Chair, Willi Horner-Johnson, PhD
Environment – Chair, Megan Weil Latshaw, PhD, MHS
Epidemiology – Chair, Elquemedo Oscar Alleyne, DrPH
Ethics – Chair, Stephanie St. Pierre
Health Administration – Chair, Brian C. Martin, PhD, MBA
HIV/AIDS – Chair, Randolph D. Huback, PhD, MPH
Injury Control and Emergency Health Services – Chair, Lara McKenzie, PhD, MA
Integrative Complementary Traditional Health Practices – Chair, Dr. Sivarama Prasad Vinjamury
Maternal and Child Health – Chair, Deborah Allen, ScD
Medical Care – Chair, James C. Wohlleb, MD
Mental Health – Chair, Margaret Walkover, MPH
Oral Health – Chair, Scott L. Tomar, DMD, MPH, DrPH
Physical Activity – Chair, Andrew T. Kasczinski, PhD
Public Health Nursing – Lisa A. Campbell, DNP, RN, APHN-BC
Public Health Education and Health Promotion – Chair, Heather M. Brandt, PhD, CHES
Population, Reproductive and Sexual Health – Chair, Lee Dooley, MPH, MCHES
Public Health Social Work – Chair, Julia F. Hastings, PhD, MSW
School Health and Services – Chair, Julie Gast, PhD, MCHES
Vision Care – Chair, Glen T. Steele, OD, FCOVD, FAAO
Student Assembly – Chair, Mrs. Rachael N. Reed

February 6, 2017

Meet the Communications Committee’s new co-Chairs!

The Communications Committee has recently recruited two co-Chairs to revitalize the Section’s outreach and communications, and to ensure that the Section continues to be an active contributor to the global health community. Please welcome Sophia Anyatonwu, our new social media manager, and Jean Armas, our new blog admin!


Sophia Anyatonwu

I am from Austin, Texas and have always had an interest in using my skills to make a global impact. I received my Masters in Public Health in 2015 and currently work as an Epidemiologist. In my role as the Section’s social media manager, I hope to further develop my social media skills and remain up-to-date on current trends and breaking developments in global health. Additionally, I am excited to help get the word out about what IH members are working on and passionate about. In the future, I would like to evaluate health services and policies that impact humanitarian aid and economic development.


Jean Armas

Growing up, I was fortunate to travel to many places across the world with my family and saw how difficult life could be for others who had much less than I had. This left a strong impression on me and after many years working in public health in the US, mostly in the areas of chronic disease, health technology, and innovation, I began my career in global health. I currently work for a global health non-profit where I have helped my organization’s partners in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and Liberia introduce technology solutions to help them track vital medicines for survivors of gender-based violence, improve the care for children living with HIV, and tackle the challenging problem of reducing newborn mortality. I have always felt strongly about promoting social equality through public health practice and look forward to continuing to promote APHA’s mission of health for all including finding unique ways to keep our members informed and engaged with their section and the wider global health community, especially during these challenging times.

Don’t forget to submit your abstract for APHA’s 2017 annual meeting!

The 2017 Annual Meeting & Expo will be held in Atlanta, November 4-8. APHA 2017 will bring more than 12,000 public health professionals to Atlanta to learn, network and engage. This year’s theme is “Creating the Healthiest Nation: Climate Changes Health.”

Become a presenter and submit an abstract

Deadlines range from Feb. 20-24, depending on topic area. Authors are encouraged to submit abstracts on the theme as well as current and emerging public health issues.

You do not have to be an APHA member to submit an abstract. However, if your abstract is accepted for presentation, the presenting author MUST become an individual member of APHA and MUST register for the Annual Meeting.

Click here for more information and to start your submission.


Watch this short video from last year’s meeting to learn more about the urgent need to address climate change and its impact on health.

Global News Round Up

Politics & Policies

With a single memorandum, President Trump may well have made it harder for health workers around the world to fight cancer, H.I.V., Zika and Ebola.

President Donald Trump has massively expanded the ban on providing federal money to international family planning groups that perform abortions or provide abortion information to all organizations receiving U.S. global health assistance.

In 2017 new developments, new leaders and new threats promise to tug the reins of global health organizations and send us off in unexpected directions. In fact, we’re already feeling the road change beneath us.

Global health watchers will pay close attention to Geneva, Switzerland, on Wednesday, when the World Health Organization (WHO) will announce the final three candidates to take the agency’s top job.

Programs, Grants & Awards

Pathfinder’s board of directors named Lois Quam CEO last week after conducting an international search.

Pathfinder partners with local governments, communities and health systems to help women get vital health services.  Those services range from family planning and access to contraception, to efforts to help stop the spread of HIV, and care for women during pregnancy and childbirth.

After Trump’s ban on funding international groups whose humanitarian healthcare includes abortion counseling or services, Netherlands announced its intent to organize alternative funding for this vital area of medicine, and today a new global alliance is already rolling $10.7 million strong and up to 20 countries deep.

The Stanford Center for Innovation in Global Health has awarded funding to six multidisciplinary research teams to jump-start novel efforts to address global health challenges.

The Arnhold Institute for Global Health at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and GLG (Gerson Lehrman Group, Inc.) today announced the 2017 class of Mount Sinai-GLG Global Health Scholars.


Bernadette Abela-Ridder and colleagues (November, 2016) describe the commendable joint efforts of WHO, the Food and Agriculture Organization, the World Organization for Animal Health, and the Global Alliance for Rabies Control to control rabies on a global level, including their endorsement of a global framework to eliminate human deaths from dog-mediated rabies by 2030.

Development of Plasmodium falciparum specific naïve, atypical, memory and plasma B cells during infancy and in adults in an endemic area.

Researchers have identified biomarkers (a set of genes including those involved in immune response) that can predict progression of disease in humans infected with the Ebola virus.

Out of pocket (OOP) health spending can potentially expose households to risk of incurring large medical bills, and this may impact on their welfare. This work investigates the effect of catastrophic OOP on the incident and of poverty in Malawi.

Diseases & Disasters

Smoking consumes almost 6 percent of the world’s total spend on healthcare and nearly 2 percent of global GDP, reveals the first study of its kind, published in the journal Tobacco Control.  In 2015 the UN General Assembly adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This includes 17 goals that all member states have signed up to achieve by 2030. Goal 3 includes a target to cut by a third early deaths from non-communicable diseases, such as those caused by smoking, and to strengthen national implementation of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

Health officials in Brazil say there has been a sharp rise in the cases of yellow fever in the country.

Today marks the launch of End Malaria Council, a group of influential public and private sector leaders committed to eradicating malaria, convened by Bill Gates and Ray Chambers.

Tuberculosis (TB) is more than 15,000 years old. The tubercle baccilus was discovered by Robert Koch, MD, in 1882. From that initial discovery we have made dramatic strides in the diagnosis and treatment of this ancient disease. But it has only been in the past 70 years that we have developed effective anti-TB drugs to treat the nearly 10 million people around the globe who still fall sick to this disease every year.

A teenager who sued the Indian government to gain access to a new drug against multi-resistant tuberculosis was granted her petition in a ruling handed down by the New Delhi High Court on January 18, according to the family lawyer.

Technology and Gavi announced a new partnership today to help tech start-up Nexleaf Analytics strengthen vaccine cold chain equipment for developing countries.’s contribution of US$ 2 million, which will be matched by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s funding to the Gavi Matching Fund, will be used to help countries to make evidence-based decisions on the purchase and maintenance of vaccine refrigerators.

Doctors in India are to get text alerts reminding them to ask families to donate the organs of deceased loved ones as part of a campaign to solve the country’s organ shortage, which has fuelled a black market trade.

PLOS NTDs co-Editor-in-Chief Peter Hotez lists the key scientific papers refuting the myth that vaccines cause autism.

Environmental Health

Once a climate-change denier, ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson said during his Senate confirmation hearings that “the risk of climate change does exist, and the consequences could be serious enough that action should be taken, distancing himself from Trump’s position. But he fell short of publicly accepting the scientific community’s consensus that there is a human role.

A toxic stew from a former copper mine in Montana killed nearly 3000 late-migrating geese raising alarm and questions around how the new Trump administration is going to handle this and other Superfund sites around the country.

A new study published examines the public health risk in aluminum cookware made from scrap metals. The authors tested 42 samples of aluminum cookware from 10 countries. They found that one-third of these samples pose lead exposure hazard and have found that these cookware release significant amounts of aluminum, arsenic and cadmium.

Due to persistent conflict, severe drought and economic instability, Nigeria and three other countries face a credible risk of famine in 2017, a report has said.

Equity & Disparities

A large prospective study conducted in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh has examined the health effects of bidis. Bidis are inexpensive, hand-rolled tobacco products manufactured by cottage industries in South Asia that have avoided national and international tobacco regulations. The authors find that bidi smoking is associated with “severe baseline respiratory impairment, all-cause mortality, and cardiorespiratory outcomes.”

They came from Mozambique, India, Sri Lanka, Qatar, Switzerland, Brazil, the US and Uganda. The 20 public health experts gathered in late November in Bellagio, Italy. Their goal: Help countries strengthen public health practice so they can achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

Many low- and middle-income countries are too scared by the threats and misinformation of big tobacco to raise the price of cigarettes, even though it would hugely benefit both health and the economy, according to a major new report.

Maternal, Neonatal & Children’s Health

Reinstatement of policy by Donald Trump could have ‘chilling impact’ in the Latin American region which already has high rates of teenage pregnancy and maternal mortality.

It is MSF (Doctors without Borders) policy to provide contraceptives and abortion care, given that unsafe abortion in one of the top five causes of maternal mortality. The group is now concerned about implications of the US “global gag rule” that now applies to all US-funded programs including HIV and MCH programs.

Starvation in northern Nigeria’s Borno State is so bad that a whole slice of the population — children under 5 — appears to have died, aid agencies say.

With more than 90% of refugees in Lebanon short of food and facing cuts to aid, desperate families often rely on their children to boost income.