Event Invitation: Taking the Pulse of the Expanded Mexico City Policy, 10/19

Posted on behalf of Laura Altobelli, IH Section Chair

Here is an opportunity to hear early research findings on application of Trump’s expanded Global Gag Rule on reproductive health as well as HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis in 7 countries.


The Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE), Human Rights Watch (HRW), and the International Women’s Health Coalition (IWHC) in cooperation with Senator Blumenthal and Senator Shaheen

We invite you to a briefing:

Taking the Pulse of the Expanded Mexico City Policy


2:30 PM – 4:00 PM


First St NE, Washington, D.C. 20515

Refreshments served. Space is limited. RSVP to Annerieke Smaak (asmaak@genderhealth.org).

The Trump Administration’s “Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance” policy, also known as the global gag rule, is currently due for a six-month review. This expansion and re-branding of the “Mexico City Policy” encompasses all global health assistance, including funds to fight HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis. Expert speakers will share new research findings on the early impacts of this policy in Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Swaziland, Uganda, and Zimbabwe. They will also shed light on how previous versions of the policy relate to abortion rates, maternal mortality, and other areas of global health.


Bergen Cooper, Director of Policy Research, Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE)

Vanessa Rios, Program Officer, International Women’s Health Coalition (IWHC)

Skye Wheeler, Emergencies Researcher, Women’s Rights, Human Rights Watch (HRW)

Moderator – Nina Besser Doorley, Senior Program Officer, IWHC


Global News Round Up

Politics & Policies

More than 60% of the newly appointed senior leadership team at the World Health Organization are women.

The American Heart Association (AHA) is demonstrating its commitment to dramatically change the trajectory of cardiovascular disease globally by becoming a member of the World Economic Forum Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, a hub for global multi-stakeholder collaboration.

A new report from Health Canada found more than 2,000 Canadians made the decision to end their lives with the help of a doctor since medically assisted death became legal in the country.

UNAIDS executive director Michel Sidibé can happily list the recent successes that the global community has scored against HIV/AIDS. And he can update you on progress of the 90-90-90 targets (by 2020, ensuring 90% of people with HIV will know their status; 90% of people diagnosed will have antiretroviral treatment, and 90% of people being treated will achieve viral suppression).

Preparedness in the face of major disease outbreaks can save thousands of lives: Rapid deployment of effective diagnostics, treatments, and vaccines may even stop the disease from potentially exploding into a pandemic.

The Chatham House Public Health Africa Policy Forum aims to facilitate the development of evidence-based options that are relevant and appropriate to sustainable health developments in Africa – for consideration by governments, health partners and wider public health stakeholders.

Programs, Grants & Awards

Christopher Plowe, the founding director of the Institute for Global Health at the University of Maryland’s School of Medicine and a leading expert on malaria elimination, has been named director of the Duke Global Health Institute (DGHI).

Three American scientists Jeffrey Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael Young, who discovered the circadian rhythm or the “biological clock” have won the Nobel Prize for physiology or medicine.


In a study led by the Oxford Vaccine Group, a typhoid vaccine has been proven to be most effective yet.  More than 100 healthy adults participated in the study.

New research published in The Lancet shows that the number of children and adolescents worldwide has risen tenfold in the last 4 decades.

Diseases & Disasters

The number of obese children and adolescents (aged five to 19 years) worldwide has risen tenfold in the past four decades. If current trends continue, more children and adolescents will be obese than moderately or severely underweight by 2022.

At least 15 wildfires raged across Northern California in Tuesday, burning at least 73,000 acres and destroying at least 1,500 buildings in the region’s famed Wine Country.

Twenty people are dead following a deadly plague outbreak in Madagascar. The government has banned public gatherings in Antananarivo, capital of Madagascar.

Health officials from around the world are meeting in France to commit to preventing 90% of cholera deaths by 2030.


Recent advances in predictive analytics  – the process by which scientists can use data to map the possibility of future outbreaks – could help break the stranglehold malaria has on Africa.

Typhoid fever, caused by the bacteria Salmonella typhi and spread in food and water, kills almost 200,000 victims a year — many of them young children — in Africa, Asia and Latin America.  But, a new experimental vaccine was a big success.  The trial’s results were published in The Lancet on Thursday: the vaccine turned out to be 87 percent effective.

Marc Deshusses, professor of civil and environmental engineering and global health, is helping to bring sanitary bathroom facilities to people at high risk of diarrheal disease because they lack this basic amenity. He and his team have developed the Anaerobic Digestion Pasteurization Latrine (ADPL) with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. They’re now piloting this low-cost technology at five sites in Kenya, the Philippines and India.

Environmental Health

A 26-year study reveals natural biological factors kick in once warming reaches certain point, leading to potentially unstoppable increase in temperatures.

A new study of 300,000 children across 35 countries has shown that children whose watershed areas have greater tree cover are less likely to experience diarrhea.

Equity & Disparities

East Asia and the Pacific have the most number of slum dwellers surpassing both sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, according to the World Bank report on urban poverty.

Through its International Global Active City initiative, the International Olympic Committee is promoting health and physical activity in 10 pilot cities.

Researchers in the UK are looking at blood biomarkers to measure the impact of social and economic status.

Maternal, Neonatal & Children’s Health

A new study shows that less than half of displaced pregnant mothers arriving in Greece have access to care.

The deepening nutrition crisis in Mali has left tens of thousands of children vulnerable to life-threatening malnutrition. The number of children suffering from severe acute malnutrition is expected to increase from 142,000 to 165,000 next year.

Setting an Example for LGBT Rights

Around the world, gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals face worse health outcomes than the general population. As a result, a large portion of the LGBT community faces mental health issues, injury, violence, suicide, substance abuse and more. We know the problem is in part due to the barriers they face to accessing health care and health professionals being educated in LGBT-related health issues. But because there is relatively little health research on this population globally, the true scope of the global burden is difficult to calculate. These barriers range from denial in care, to inadequate or substandard care, to unwillingness to go to a doctor because of discrimination. Sometimes serious penalties are involved. The most recent news involved the LGBT community in Chechnya (North Caucasus region of Russia), also known as Chechens.  

Canada, a country where leaders of many-if not all- levels of government march alongside the LGBT community in Pride parades, it’s easy to forget that much of the world is still a scary place for LGBT individuals to openly live as such. Don’t get me wrong- not everything is ideal for sexual minorities in Canada either, as many people are victims of bullying or risk of violence and suicide. But these issues are recognized and the Canadian government, in the past few decades, has shown a will to address them. For example, with newly created protections geared towards the transgender community. In the last year a policy was approved that men who have sex with men are allowed to donate blood.

Since last March, Chechnya has been making headlines for its cruel treatment of homosexuals. It was reported that Chechnya’s authorities were detaining over 100 gay men. Eventually more information on this issue surfaced and the details are extremely bone-chilling. Most were arrested and detained from anywhere to a day and up to several weeks, beaten, verbally abused, starved tortured, and forced to reveal the names of others. Continue reading “Setting an Example for LGBT Rights”

Ready or Not? A Glimpse into How Public Health Responses are Coordinated

Most of us dream of one day working for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or World Health Organization (WHO). We often envision ourselves responding to public health events around the globe and being placed in the middle of the action- whatever that action may be…

However, have you ever wondered how the response to an infectious disease outbreak or disaster is organized? Do you know how multiple agencies coordinate people and resources during a response? This blog post will provide a brief overview of functions of the National Incident Management System (NIMS), Incident Command System (ICS), Multi-Agency Coordination Systems (MACS), and Emergency Operations Centers (EOC).

Emergency management professionals are tasked at the local, state, and national level with coordinating responses to incidents- also known as events, natural or human-caused, that require a response to protect life or property, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Governmental agencies in the United States are required to follow NIMS, a systematic approach that is grounded in preparedness concepts and supports incident management for a diverse range of hazards, in order to receive preparedness grants or funding. NIMS incorporates standard resource management procedures and includes principles for information management. While NIMS is NOT a concrete plan, it supports the development of plans created by various jurisdictional players- one of the benefits of being a flexible, scalable, and dynamic approach.

The five key areas of NIMS are:

  • Preparedness– focused on planning, organizing and equipping, training, exercising, and evaluating/improving readiness to respond to an incident. Preparedness is supported by partnerships that are formed between government agencies, nongovernmental organizations, and the private sector before an incident.
  • Communications/Information Management– based on the concepts of a) Common Operating Picture, b) interoperability, c) reliability, scalability, and portability; and d) resiliency and redundancy. Communications systems should be flexible and adaptable to each incident.
  • Resource Management– serves as an accountability system for establishing current assets, identifying needs, requesting additional resources as well as organizing and tracking materials and personnel. It also allows for critical resources to be shared across jurisdictions.
  • Command and Management- consists of three organizational constructs: 1) Incident Command System (includes a management hierarchy that can be integrated into a common organizational structure), 2) Multi-Agency Coordination System (utilized when multiple agencies are involved) and 3) Public Information (processes for sharing timely, accurate, and relevant information during an incident).
  • Ongoing Management and Maintenance

Emergency Operations Centers (EOC) are used for information collection and evaluation, coordination, and priority setting. These are central locations where officials and personnel from key agencies go to meet, make decisions, and direct response activities.  Resources are coordinated at local EOCs, then at state EOCs when there are not enough resources to support an effective response. If state resources are overwhelmed then assistance from the federal government may be requested.

As stated earlier, this is just a brief overview of how a response is coordinated during an incident such as a public health event. In my next blog post, I will share my recent experience applying NIMS from a regional health department perspective.


Watch this video to see how the CDC responds to public health events and sets up its EOC!




Latest issue of IH’s Section Connection now available!

Happy Fall IH members,

The latest issue of Section Connection, the IH Section quarterly e-newsletter, is now available! In this issue you’ll find information on the work the IH section has been doing to advance global health and profiles on a few of our leadership and section members.

You can find the fifth issue of the newsletter here: http://bit.ly/SectionConnection5

If you can’t access the newsletter for any reason please email Theresa Majeski, Global Health Connections Chair, at theresa.majeski@gmail.com.

Hope to see you in Atlanta!