Fogarty Scholar Mara Horwitz talks about the Consortium of Universities for Global Health (CUGH) 2013 meeting
I was excited to attend the Consortium of Universities for Global Health (CUGH) 2013 meeting, where I could (1) present interesting findings from our Fogarty research and (2) learn about the future of global health education and training programs in US universities.
My poster was on cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk screening in an HIV treatment clinic in
Uganda. While chronic disease is a relatively new area of interest for global health research, it is quickly becoming a “hot topic” as we realize the size of the chronic disease burden in developing countries and uncover strong relationships between infectious disease and chronic disease (e.g. HIV and CVD). There were several presentations at CUGH on chronic disease research around the world, from participants at all levels of research — from leaders at NIH to young researchers like myself. The general interest in this topic led to many enriching discussions around my poster. One of my favorite interactions was with Dr. Jeremy Schwartz, from Yale School of Medicine, who is former Fogarty scholar and is still working in Uganda on chronic disease!
As far as the future of global health education and training programs goes, this is harder to summarize. I can report that the Dr. Francis Collins, director of the NIH, reassured the crowd that looming research budget cuts will NOT affect NIH funding for training programs. There was strong representation by alumni of countless global health training programs. There was also many posters examining the structure, ethics, and outcomes of global health experiences for undergraduate students, graduate students, and resident physicians. A walk through the posters was a good reminder that we are constantly developing more effective ways to travel, work, and learn in foreign communities, and that each experience is worth examining to improve those in the future.