Attention IH Student Members: Two Interim Student Leadership Opportunities Available; Deadline to apply 7/13

We currently have two student leadership opportunities! The deadline is Friday, July 13th for interested students to submit a response to this opportunity. Submission details below.

Two Interim Student Leadership Opportunities:

The APHA IH Section Leadership is writing to share a short-term opportunity: our appointed IH Student Committee leaders have had to step down for personal reasons and the IH Section is very interested in recruiting two interim, Acting Co-Chairs of the IH Student Committee.

The purpose of the IH Student Committee is to support and coordinate the efforts of the IH Section to reach out to students and early career professionals interested in careers in international and global health and to facilitate their engagement in IH Section activities. The committee chair is appointed by the IH Section Chair.  Other IH Section student members representing a cross-section of schools of public health, medical schools, and young professionals can be appointed by the committee and IH Section Chair.

Responsibilities of these two positions are not overwhelming, and include the following:

–          Attending IH Section leadership conference call meetings, in order to represent student interests and serve student’s needs with an official voice on leadership meetings (one hour the fourth Thursday of every month)

  • Identifying opportunities to link student members to our standing IH Section committee and working groups in order to develop future leadership for the IH Section
  • Helping to recruit students to take advantage of these identified opportunities
  • Organizing and leading the IH Student Committee meeting at the Annual Meeting, in order to ensure sustainability of IH Student Committee efforts and initiatives
  • As needed /as interested, recruiting a small team of other IH student members to plan and organize any activities of the IH Student Committee throughout the year

The IH Student Committee is formally described in the IH Section Manual, with some additional functions that we will share during a simple orientation for the selected Interim Acting Co-Chairs of the IH Student Committee.

Length of commitment:

These interim positions are a commitment from time of selection (anticipated July or August this summer) through the November 2018 annual meeting. The IH Student Committee traditionally selects new co-chairs and other committee leaders in person at the annual meeting. The Interim Acting Co-Chairs will have the option to submit their names to the IH Student Committee leader selection process for the coming year.

Applicants should be current members and should be planning to attend the Annual Meeting in San Diego this coming November 2018, where they will chair the meeting at which the new IH Student Committee leaders will be selected, to begin serving as of the end of the 2018 Annual Meeting.

Monthly level of effort of commitment:

Effective incumbents for the IH Student Committee co-chair positions have found that this responsibility requires a range of 2-6 hours per month, including participation on the monthly, one-hour IH Section Leadership calls, as well as emails and personal communication with other leaders of the IH Student Committee and full leadership body, as needed to direct and implement activities and initiatives the IH Student Committee may have undertaken.

Instructions to submit your name:

Interested candidates will please email Mary Carol Jennings (current Section Secretary, marycaroljennings@jhu.edu) and Jay Nepal (current co-chair of IH Section Membership Committee, jnepal360@gmail.com) with a very short statement (<200 words) describing your leadership experience and your personal career and networking goals in the field of international health, as well as one concrete accomplishment you would like to undertake in the position of interim co-chair of the IH Student Committee.

Include your phone number and email so that we can contact you if your candidacy is short-listed for this opportunity. 

Deadline for applications: Friday July 13

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Chagas: A Bug That Gives More Than Kisses

It is definitely feeling like summertime here in America, specifically Texas, where I live. This week, the high temperature reaches 100 degrees Fahrenheit multiple times. During these kinds of summer days, I find myself spending a lot of time outdoors recreationally exploring water holes and hiking. With all the outdoor time, I’ve also come across so many different types of bugs and contemplated how many of these bugs can cause vector-borne infectious diseases. There is one disease in particular that has been at the front of my mind after attending an insightful conference over diseases in nature last month – Chagas disease.

Chagas disease is caused by a parasite called Trypanosoma cruzi and transmitted to people and animals by insects called Triatomines, or more commonly known as “kissing bugs.” Uniquely, these vectors are only found in the Americas (mainly Latin America). The vector, or insect, can infect a person or animal when it takes a blood meal bite near a wound, mouth, eye or other mucus membrane and then deposits feces near the bite. If the human or animal rubs the infected feces into their eye or mucus membrane then the parasite will begin its life cycle, multiply and cause disease.

Chagas disease is tricky to diagnose because it causes mild to no symptoms at all and can go from an acute stage to a relatively quiet chronic stage. Fever and swelling near the bite is common in those that experience symptoms in the acute stage. In some very rare cases, people can experience inflammation of the heart or brain. After the acute stage, most will enter the chronic stage of Chagas disease. Most people will never have any other problems associated with the disease at this point. However, 20-30% can develop life-threatening medical problems associated with the chronic disease including heart rhythm abnormalities, a heart that does not pump correctly, or a dilated esophagus or colon that can cause issues with eating or passing stool. Antiparasitic treatment is recommended for all cases under the age of 50 that have not developed medical problems from the chronic stage. This treatment is typically through the drug nifurtimox or benznidazole.

Chagas diseases does not only affect humans. Dogs have been found to be significantly impacted as well if they ingest bugs or are passed the disease congenitally from their mother. Symptoms in dogs include: fever, loss of appetite, lethargy, swollen lymph nodes, liver or spleen. Many owners don’t notice these symptoms because they are similar to other diseases and resolve over time. If a dog develops a chronic infection, they can develop deadly heart disease which can result in heart failure or sudden death. Unfortunately, there is no medication that has been found to be effective for treating Chagas in dogs and no vaccine against the disease in dogs or humans.

The disease has gotten much attention in the news and public health realm as of recently. CDC deemed it a “neglected tropical disease” and has devoted time to learning more about the disease and its impact. The public health burden of the disease in the United States is uncertain because many states are not required by law to keep track of the number of confirmed cases. As immigration increases in America, specifically from Latin America to the U.S., we are seeing increasing numbers of Chagas reports. In Texas, a research group from A&M that studies kissing bugs extensively has even created a collaborative project where citizens can send in bugs to have identified and be counted for. This study emphasizes the importance of “citizen science” – where the community can contribute to the advancement of scientific research through their participation in the study by sending in insects. They even have provided an interactive map on their website that shows where kissing bugs have been submitted from in the state of Texas.

If you’re interested in seeing a picture of a kissing bug, check out this link from the Texas A&M research site. The photos are taken by Dr. Gabriel Hamer and show the kissing bugs that can be found in Texas as well as the ones found across the United States.

If you live in the Americas, keep your eyes peeled for these bugs this summer and know when to seek care. This article by USA today, hits on some places that the bug can be found including: under porches, cement, in between rock, wood or brush and in outdoor dog houses or chicken coops. If you do come across these bugs and are interested in submitting them to the Texas A&M research team, check out this link. They have a few FAQ’s and reminders on how to handle the bug. Happy summer and bug swatting season!

Global News Round Up

Politics & Policies

Early last week, the White House made a number of modifications to its proposed rescission package, including a removal of the recession of $252 million in remaining unobligated Ebola response funding.

The use of medicinal cannabis is to be reviewed, which could lead to more prescriptions of drugs made from plant, the home secretary has said.

Programs, Grants & Awards

The WHO released a version of ICD-11, a vast improvement on ICD-10 which was launched nearly 18 years ago.

London School of Tropical Medicine led consortium has been awarded £ 3million to investigate the impact of human behavior on the emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistance.

New York city’s health department has launched a public service ad campaign aimed at Chinese men to address the high rates of smoking among them.

Research

Dengue fever is the most prevalent and widespread mosquito-borne disease, and can only be countered by integrated prevention and control strategies, including sustained vector control programs, the best evidence-based clinical care, and vaccination.

Long term survival of patients with recurrent glioblastoma improved significantly with genetically modified polio virus therapy.

Diseases, Disasters & Wars

Governments around the world will not reach the Sustainable Goal Of sharply reducing premature deaths unless “urgent action” is taken, according to a WHO report published today in The Lancet.

A new study shows that a key genetic change the V. cholerae (human cholera pathogen) acquired during the seventh pandemic allows it thrive for 50 years.

A single case of polio has been reported in Papua New Guinea, a country that has been polio free since 2000.

Technology

The FDA-approved wearable device The Embrace analyzes physiological signals to detect seizures. The device aims to change the future of stress management to predict and head off panic attacks.

A computer-generated model allows clinicians to tailor effective therapies for individual patients with multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB).

Using lay mHealth workers to develop real time cartography of an epidemic disease in remote villages has great potential, a new study shows

Environmental Health

Triclosan, a common ingredient in toothpaste and thousands of other personal care products, could be worsening the global problem of antibiotic resistance, a new study shows.

Children in the UK, who walk along busy roads in close proximity to fumes from vehicle exhaust, are exposed to 30% more air pollution than adults.

This month, diplomats from around the world met in New York and Geneva to hash out a pair of new global agreements that aim to lay out new guidelines for how countries should deal with an unprecedented surge in the number of displaced people, which has now reached 65.6 million worldwide.

Equity & Disparities

India’s public health expenditure (₹ 1112 per capita per year) is among the lowest in the world, a  new analysis shows.

Tenants in the slums of Nairobi, Kenya, receive drastically inferior household services and pay more rent compared to those in its formal settlements, a new study shows.

A study conducted in Valencia (Spain) shows that certain neighborhood characteristics are associated with increased risk of family violence, regardless of whether it is intimate partner violence or violence against children.

India ranked as the most dangerous country for women,a new poll shows.

Women, Maternal, Neonatal & Children’s Health

Deaths among children under 5 years of age dropped nearly 20% in just 2 years in Madagascar and dropped 60% in Rwanda between 2005 and 2010. This success is due to the grassroots movements to improve health systems.

According to a new study, food insecurity impacted behavioral problems in young children of single mothers in urban neighborhoods.

A Global Overview of Intimate Partner Violence

This is a guest blog post by Evangeline Wang, a public health student at Arcadia University and Dr. Heather F. de Vries McClintock PhD MSPH MSW, IH Section Member and Assistant Professor in the Department of Public Health in the College of Health Sciences at Arcadia University. It is the first in a three-part series the IH Blog will feature this summer called Intimate Partner Violence: Global Burden, Risk Factors and Outcomes.

Part I: A Global Overview of Intimate Partner Violence

Intimate partner violence, or IPV, as defined by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), is violence that manifests as physical, sexual, or psychological harm inflicted by a current or former partner/spouse (CDC, 2018).

For my friend, it was psychological abuse. Last fall, my friend, a headstrong, independent woman, had just gotten out of an emotionally abusive relationship. As we were discussing it, she stated that although she knew some aspects were bad at the time, she found it difficult to leave the relationship. In this relationship, her partner would text her repeatedly, asking where she was, who she was with, and accusing her of unfaithfulness when she did not respond. She justified this behavior because she thought the constant text messages meant he was in love with her and was showing commitment toward her. One day during a fight he followed her home and despite her protests, entered her home spewing hurtful language. It was at this point she realized how harmful the relationship was and that she could not be in the relationship anymore. She decided to end it. When talking to me about it she expressed how challenging it was to leave and her thankfulness for having done so. She related to other victims and their challenges in ending an abusive relationship with a manipulative partner.  Unfortunately, like many others, my friend fell victim to intimate partner violence, a pervasive global public health issue.

Globally, in 2016, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that 30% of women are physically and/or sexually abused by their partner as the global lifetime prevalence. This means that nearly 1 in 3 women will experience intimate partner violence during their lifetime. In the United States, the median prevalence of physical abuse is 30% (Violence Info, 2018). The prevalence of physical abuse is much higher in countries like Ethiopia (45%), Jordan (43%), and Bosnia and Herzegovina (76%).

Regional estimates range from 24.6% in the WHO Western Pacific region to 37.7% in the WHO South East Asia region. A more nuanced assessment by sub regions shows that the highest prevalence of lifetime intimate partner violence is found in central sub-Saharan Africa, with a prevalence of 65.6%. All regions in sub-Saharan Africa have lifetime prevalence estimates that are greater than the global average (WHO Global and Regional Estimates, 2013).  

The consequences of intimate partner violence are severe with research showing that exposure to intimate partner violence ultimately increases risk for disability and death. Persons exposed to intimate partner violence are more likely to experience physical and psychological trauma and stress. Such experiences are often characterized by musculoskeletal injuries, genital trauma, mental health problems, substance abuse, non-communicable diseases, somatoform disorders and/or many other adverse consequences. Concurrently, victims may have compromised access to health care due to a lack of autonomy as well as limited decision making power regarding their sexual and reproductive health. Intergenerational effects are common with victims experiencing greater risk for having premature and low birth weight babies as well as pregnancy loss (WHO Global and Regional Estimates, 2013).

Intimate partner violence is a pervasive public health problem that discriminates against no one. From underdeveloped countries to developing countries, this is a major public health issue that cannot be ignored. However, many people lack knowledge about the basic components of intimate partner violence. Furthermore, professionals seeking research on this topic have struggled to compile and access comprehensive information. Greater accessibility of knowledge can enhance global prevention, management and treatment efforts.

The World Health Organization developed an interactive app in response to these needs. This app allows for the public to access online violence studies by country and type of violence (e.g. physical abuse, sexual abuse, and psychological abuse). The purpose of the app is to consolidate and centralize academic journals and various reports about violence in order to make this information more accessible and easier for the public to understand. Not only does it allow journal article access, but it provides important information like prevalence, risk factors, consequences as well as prevention and response strategies. The prevention tab is especially helpful because it allows the user to see the effectiveness of given prevention initiatives based on prior research. Additionally, there are multiple graphs and other visuals that users can click on for more information making this an interactive and user-friendly app. This app can be accessed here: WHO Violence Info App.

Please stay tuned for Part II in this series: Risk Factors for Global Intimate Partner Violence

mcclintock-picture.jpg

Dr. Heather F. de Vries McClintock, is an IH Section Member and Assistant Professor in the Department of Public Health, College of Health Sciences at Arcadia University. She earned her Master of Science in Public Health from the Department of Global Health and Population at the Harvard School of Public Health. Dr. McClintock received her PhD in Epidemiology from the University of Pennsylvania with a focus on health behavior and promotion. Her research broadly focuses on the prevention, treatment, and management of chronic disease and disability globally. Recent research aims to understand and reduce the burden of intimate partner violence in Sub-Saharan Africa. Prior to completing her doctorate she served as a Program Officer at the United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants and a Senior Project Manager in the Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of Pennsylvania. At the University of Pennsylvania she led several research initiatives that involved improving patient compliance and access to quality healthcare services including the Spectrum of Depression in Later Life and Integrating Management for Depression and Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus Studies.

evangeline wang

Evangeline Wang is a public health major at Arcadia University. She is the president of the Public Health Society and has volunteered and interned with various public health agencies such as Prevention Point Philadelphia and HIPS in Washington D.C. After graduation, Evangeline hopes to attend graduate school and continue her studies in global public health.

The G20 Makes Early Childhood Development a Priority

World wide roughly 200 million children under the age of five, in low and middle income countries, will fail to meet basic developmental milestones. Such deficits affect health across the lifespan, the ability to contribute to the national economy, and the ability to stop the cycle of poverty. With this knowledge in mind the United Nations made a point of linking their sustainable development goals to children’s issues, specifically early childhood development (ECD). Recently the G20, with Argentina as the new chair, have placed an emphasis on ECD in the international community by adding it to their own sustainability goals. The G20 has recognized that ECD must be incorporated into all programs, not just within child centric programs and that an emphasis must be placed on children under five years of age.

Programmatic areas have remained siloed focusing on nutrition and ensuring school aged children receive an education. While these initiatives play a role in ECD they only focus on topical areas and do not formally integrate ECD, newborn to age five, into programmatic work. The G20 has created a case for cross collaboration within programmatic and policy level work, even laying out funding streams for such work. This puts the G20 in line with World Health Organization guidelines, including guidelines around integration of ECD in emergency situations. When you are already servicing families and their children, especially in low income programmatic settings, it is easy to add in basic ECD education. For example, when providing breastfeeding support to mothers this is a wonderful opportunity to briefly discuss the need to talk and sing to the child in order to develop language acquisition. Another example is to provide pamphlets, that match the health literacy level of the community, around positive parenting and age appropriate milestones at an immunization drive.  

ECD doesn’t just apply to children – it applies directly to the child’s environment: families, caregivers, and national leadership. ECD focuses a lot on positive parenting to encourage positive brain development and language acquisition. The World Health Organization just released a guideline that discusses nurturing care within ECD, highlighting strategies and policies focusing on the environment that impacts ECD. A really interesting piece that the G20 highlights is the need for better trained child care providers. The G20 ties it back to economics – if a family, mothers in particular, feels comfortable leaving their child in the care of someone else they are able to contribute to their local and national economy in a greater way. There is also the money saving aspect for countries who invest in programs that promote ECD in children under the age of five. As discussed in the literature, children’s brains are rapidly developing arguably from in the womb through the first 1,000 days of life, and programs that focus on this age group provide a larger cost saving than programs that focus on children over five. This is because potential developmental delays are prevented, thus not as much money is needed to get a child back on their developmental track. Also, at such a young age with the focus predominantly being on environmental factors the cost is solely around training and educating front line staff, not actual school aged interventions.

Again – it is great news to have a group like G20 make ECD a priority, especially for children under five. It brings the topic back to the front of the global health stage and proves that it can be easily incorporated into programmatic work.