CUGH Webinar: Global Health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), August 8

Consortium of Universities for Global Health is pleased to present:


Tuesday, August 8, 2017
11:30am to 12:30pm ET


WEBINAR | Global Health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Disease knows no borders. CDC's global activities protect Americans from major health threats such as Ebola, Zika, and pandemic influenza and adverse economic impact. CDC detects and controls outbreaks at their source, saving lives and reducing healthcare costs. As importantly, CDC helps other countries build capacity to prevent, detect, and respond to health threats through its work. The knowledge and lessons learned from CDC's work abroad are critical to our public health efforts at home, and to protecting Americans.

CDC works in more than 60 countries, working with ministries of health, the World Health Organization (WHO) and many other partners on the front lines where outbreaks may occur. It addresses global health crises that can extend beyond the health sector to contribute to creating more stable societies, including the growing burden of non-communicable diseases.

Join Dr. Hamid Jafari, CDC Center for Global Health Principal Deputy Director, as he walks us through the structure and activities of CDC's global health center in the United States and abroad. Dr. Jafari's presentation will be followed by a moderated audience Q&A session.

Space is limited so please register now.


|  Speaker  |
Global Health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Hamid Jafari, MD
Principal Deputy Director, Center for Global Health Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Dr. Jafari is currently serving as the Principal Deputy Director, Center for Global Health, at the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC).

Until February, 2016, Dr. Jafari was the Director of Global Polio Eradication at World Health Organization Headquarters, Geneva and the overall leader of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative. Before this appointment, Dr. Jafari served as the Project Manager of World Health Organization's National Polio Surveillance Project in India (2007-2012). As Project Manager of NPSP, he was the main technical advisor to the Government of India in the implementation of the nation's large scale polio eradication, measles control and routine immunization activities and directed WHO's extensive network of more than 2000 field staff.

Previously, Dr. Jafari has served as Director of the Global Immunization Division at the CDC, Atlanta, USA. He has also served as the Medical Officer for Polio Eradication in the Regional Office of WHO for Eastern Mediterranean in Egypt on assignment from CDC.

Dr. Jafari is a graduate of CDC's Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) program, Class of 1992.  He obtained his MBBS degree from Sind Medical College, Karachi University. He completed his residency training in Pediatrics at Dartmouth Medical School and his Pediatric Infectious Disease fellowship training at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas. Dr. Jafari completed a research fellowship at Harvard Medical School. He has been certified by the American Board of Pediatrics in the sub-specialty of Pediatric Infectious Diseases.  Dr. Jafari has published more than 70 scientific papers and book chapters on pathogenesis of infectious diseases, polio eradication and other vaccine-preventable diseases.

|  Moderator  |
Global Health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Hon. Keith Martin, MD, PC
Executive Director, Consortium of Universities for Global Health

Dr. Martin is a physician who, since Sept. 2012, has served as the founding Executive Director of the Consortium of Universities for Global Health (CUGH) based in Washington, DC.

Between 1993-2011, Dr. Martin served as a Member of Parliament in Canada's House of Commons representing a riding on Vancouver Island. During that time he held shadow ministerial portfolios in foreign affairs, international development, and health. He also served as Canada's Parliamentary Secretary for Defense.  In 2004, he was appointed to the Queen's Privy Council for Canada. His main areas of focus are in global health, foreign policy, security, international development, conservation and the environment.

Dr. Martin has been on numerous diplomatic missions to areas in crisis. He served as a physician in South Africa on the Mozambique border during that country's civil war. He has travelled widely in Africa, visiting the continent 27 times. Dr. Martin is the author of more than 160 published editorial pieces, has appeared frequently as a political and social commentator on television and radio and has spoken at conferences around the world. He is a board member of the Global Health Council, Jane Goodall Institute and Annals of Global Health.  He is an advisor for the Int'l Cancer Expert Corps, Global Sepsis Alliance and McGill University's Global Health Program and a member of the Lancet-ISMMS Commission on Pollution and Health.

WFPHA Global Climate Change and Health Policy Survey Report

A report from a global survey to evaluate how nations are responding to the health impacts of climate change shows Australia is well behind other industrialised nations in protecting its citizen from the major health risks associated with global warming.

The report from the World Federation of Public Health Associations (WFPHA) outlines responses from 35 countries in the first-ever global benchmarking survey of national climate and health policy.

The Climate and Health Alliance (CAHA) led the project working group, which includes experts from the WFPHA Environment Working Group/University of Illinois Chicago, Public Health Association of Australia, University of NSW, University of Notre Dame, and Health Care Without Harm.

The report is available at:

Learn more about APHA’s Year of Climate Change and Health and the health impacts of climate change.

And don’t forget to register for this year’s Annual Meeting. Creating the Healthiest Nation: Climate Changes Health.


Global News Round Up

Politics & Policies

Only 2 out of the 28 International Sports Federations identified prevention of chronic diseases on their list of priorities. As gatekeepers of physical activity, federations can and must do more to combat this global epidemic.

There is growing concern that the Trump budget would set back the global fight against HIV/AIDS.

A task force organized by the Center for Strategic and International Studies has recommended that it would be better to fix the US foreign aid program rather than cutting back on it.

Programs, Grants & Awards

Five Kenyan girls who invented the I-Cut App to end female genital mutilation are headed to Google headquarters with the hope of winning the $15,000 Technovation competition prize.

Experts from the CDC’s Division of Global HIV & TB participated at the 9th International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Science held in Paris.


Early results from a Thai campaign (based on the liver fluke control model by Banchob Sripa and others) rolled out in 2016 to control liver fluke infestation are promising. The human infection rates in the worst-hit areas of the Lawa lake region are down to below 10%.

A new report finds that only 23 countries have exclusive breastfeeding rates greater than 60% and that less than half of infants under six months of age are exclusively breastfed. The scorecard is available here.

Despite the decrease in the number of people with visual impairments globally, a new study predicts that number of blind people will triple in the next four decades.

Diseases & Disasters

Pakistan and Egypt bear 80% of hepatitis C disease burden within the Eastern Mediterranean region which has been the most affected region in the world.

An UNICEF supported mobile health clinics fill the gap in Aleppo where years of violence have destroyed the public health centers and where families have little cash to seek private health care.


According to the authors of a review paper, recent technological advances in measuring adherence to ART and PrEP will help us gain insights into adherence behavior.

A mobile health intervention that included frequent emails or texts improved adherence to infant safe sleep practices.

Environmental Health

A new study of chickens from 18 poultry farms in Northern India reveal alarmingly high rates of antibiotic usage.  

A new study has found that only 6 countries have completed the two evaluations of readiness to face pandemics; one for human diseases and the other for animal outbreaks.

By analyzing India’s reported suicides in 32 states between 1967 and 2013, along with statistics on India’s crop yields, and high-resolution climate data, researcher in UC Berkeley has shown that climate change is linked to more than 59,000 suicides in India.

Equity & Disparities

People are still reeling from the repercussions of the Greek debt crisis and subsequent budget cuts and tax increases.

Ghana, country that has long relied on community health workers (CHW) to deliver health care services, has now begun to pay the CHWs.

Maternal, Neonatal & Children’s Health

According to a new report, 64 of 195 countries haven’t been able to meet the DTP (diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis) vaccination goals.  

In northern regions of Cameroon, babies born with HIV often die before their blood results come back. Now the government is planning to launch a program that will allow expectant mothers can get tested in an effort to reduce/prevent deaths among babies.

The foreign assistance bill proposed by the House Appropriations Committee will most likely undermine global health priorities and put women’s lives at risk.

Health Literacy: Is Educational Attainment Enough?

This is a guest blog post by Dr. Heather F. de Vries McClintock PhD MSPH MSW, IH Section Member and Assistant Professor in the Department of Public Health, College of Health Sciences at Arcadia University. It is the second blog  in a three-part series the IH Blog will feature this summer, Global Health Literacy: Conceptual Basis, Measurement and Implications.

Part II: Health Literacy: Is Educational Attainment Enough?

For over a decade I worked in primary care practices providing health education to patients with a broad range of educational and professional backgrounds, from persons who had dropped out of high school to those with dual doctoral degrees. I recall that when I first started I assumed that persons with higher levels of educational attainment would more readily understand and incorporate health education into their daily lives. I soon realized that I was entirely wrong. While persons who had higher levels of education were somewhat more likely to comprehend health information, a large proportion of these persons were unable to adequately understand and act on the health information presented to them. I remember sitting with a patient who had a doctoral degree who explained to me how his depression medication worked best when taken only on Sundays. Conversely, one patient who had not completed high school explained to me the intricacies of high blood pressure management with such clarity that it would have rivaled any veteran educator’s attempts at explaining it. All of these experiences fostered my interest in this concept of health literacy. What was health literacy? How could we adequately measure and improve it? What caused poor health literacy? Was it poor communication, a lack of numeracy skills, cultural barriers or other factors? The complexity of these questions fascinated me and I have pondered them over the last several years in my research.

In recapping my exploration let’s start by discussing how health literacy was initially distinguished from educational attainment. Much evidence has demonstrated that social factors occurring outside of the clinical encounter, namely education and income, profoundly influence health outcomes. Health disparities based on population (e.g. age, race, class, disability) or geographic residence (e.g. neighborhood, urban, country) are significant and have been the subject of much investigation. While a myriad of indicators have been explored in relation to such disparities, many investigations report that educational attainment is the most influential predictor of health. This relationship has been substantiated in a wide range of settings and time periods as well as by the application of varying methodological approaches and indicators of health. Educational attainment improves health through mechanisms on the individual level (e.g., health literacy and skill development); community level (e.g., location of residence characteristics); and macro level (e.g., policies, legislation, infrastructure).

The term health literacy (HL) was introduced and differentiated from educational attainment or literacy beginning in the 1970’s. During this time it was found that while one’s HL level was related to educational attainment (years of schooling) or reading ability/literacy, there was not a perfect linear correlation between educational attainment/literacy and HL. Research showed that individuals who functioned successfully at home or work often lacked adequate literacy to function within the context of a health care system. While varying opinions on the definition of HL have existed over time and are the subject of ongoing debate, generally speaking, being health literate meant that one could read, understand, and act on health information that was provided to them. HL encompassed proficiency in more than just reading ability but also writing, speaking, and listening as well as computational abilities (numeracy). A health literate individual was able to understand health information and use that health information appropriately. For example, a health literate elderly adult who received instructions from a primary physician on how to take medication for blood pressure would both understand the instructions and then take the medication as instructed by the physician. Thus, those with low HL were unable to adequately function within the healthcare environment increasing their risk for poor outcomes.

Some recent initiatives have sought to document stories related to health literacy. To this end, the U.S. federal government hosted an initiative called ‘Stories from the field’ as a part of a program to reduce the burden of low HL. In one story a doctor in Wisconsin struggled with his patients’ lack of comprehension of his instructions during medical encounters. He pondered whether it was poor communication on his part or whether there were other causes. After research and reflection he identified low HL as a prominent underlying cause and founded a small statewide literacy organization aimed at improving low HL called Wisconsin Literacy.

In order to address what has been called a “Health Literacy Epidemic,” both governmental and non-governmental initiatives have been developed to improve HL and in turn, reduce it’s public health burden. A transdisciplinary approach has been encouraged and specific guidelines have been established to foster improved communication. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) developed a National Action Plan to Improve Health Literacy. Broad goals and strategies of this plan are to improve HL in every sector and organization that provides health information and services. With the aim of fostering effective communication the federal government created The Plain which is an internet clearinghouse of information pertaining to the use of clear and understandable language. This initiative defines plain language as “… communication your audience can understand the first time they read or hear it. Language that is plain to one set of readers may not be plain to others.” The Plain Language Action and Information Network (PLAIN), a group of federal employees from many different agencies and specialties who support the use of clear communication in government writing, work to manage the initiative’s website. The Partnership for Clear Communication was established to spread awareness and address the issue of low HL. It established the “Ask me 3” program which informs healthcare consumers of 3 questions that should be asked during a medical encounter: (1)“What is my main problem?” (2) “What do I need to do?” (3) “Why is it important for me to do this?”  The Health Literacy Tool Shed, is a database created and administered by Boston University and the National Library of Medicine to foster collaboration and resource-sharing related to health literacy. The online search engine includes 129 tools related to the assessment of health literacy which range in terms of their purpose and design. They are either general in scope or focus on a certain domain(s) within the construct of health literacy (e.g. numeracy). Many of these tools aim to assess HL related to a specific medical condition (e.g. arthritis or cancer), categorization of health (e.g. oral health) or population (e.g. Dutch, Japanese).  Some tools were developed for rapid assessment.

For the global examination of HL the Institute of Medicine Roundtable on Health Literacy was convened to bring together leaders in the global health field to discuss activities and progress around the world related to HL. The United Nations as well as over a dozen countries were present at this meeting. The roundtable discussed different country’s unique approach to addressing low HL. For example, in Australia HL initiatives are part of the national Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care. Canada connects HL with health promotion activities and the public health sector governs HL initiatives. A consensus from the meeting was that educational systems do not provide their students with the skills to adequately use health information and access health services. Furthermore, participants agreed that there was a lack of capacity for health care services to meet the needs of persons with low HL. This was accompanied by a lack of data on the nature and scope of the problem of low HL as well as the effectiveness of interventions targeting HL. This issue was particularly pronounced in LICs and LMICs, in which very little research had examined HL in any form.

Given the lack of evaluation of HL in LICs and LMICs there is an urgent need to develop a measure HL that can be feasibly employed. Establishing a measure that can assess the burden of low HL as well assess it’s relation to health outcomes is important so that effective interventions can be developed and deployed. Please stay tuned for Part III: The Evaluation and Measurement of Health Literacy in which I discuss my research group’s work in creating and establishing a measure of HL for use in LICs and LMICs.


Dr. Heather F. de Vries McClintockis currently Assistant Professor of Public Health at the College of Health Sciences at Arcadia University. Her research broadly focuses on the prevention, treatment, and management of chronic disease and disability globally. Recent research aims to understand and improve health literacy and the quality of care provision for persons in Sub-Saharan Africa.

US Climate and Health Alliance provides toolkit for health professionals to act on #climatechange

The US Climate and Health Alliance has just launched their new State Policy Initiative. Please explore the online hub, which includes tools and information designed for and by health professionals to help bring the health voice to climate policy. Health professionals can use the tools and resources towards several important goals: to inform policy makers that climate change is a critical health issue; to raise the health voice in state discussions about climate change policy decisions and strengthen support for action at the state level; and to ultimately integrate health and health equity into state climate policies. Start exploring the tools.

Why Does the Health Voice Matter?

Health professionals are respected and credible individuals in their communities. Your voice can raise support for climate action by helping community members and policymakers better understand the health impacts of climate change and co-benefit opportunities of climate action. Until now, the health message—that climate change is our biggest health crisis and that we need to act now—has been largely untapped in the climate change conversation.

Visit the State Policy Initiative site today.