Supporting Premature Infants in Bangladesh

Anne Lee, MD, of BWH’s Department of Pediatrics, has spent the past 5 years working in rural Bangladesh helping train local non-medical community health workers to recognize signs of prematurity in babies born at home, and to strengthen the referral process of these high-risk babies for hospital-based care. Now, she is seeking the support of the BWH community in a funding competition through the “Saving Lives at Birth” program in an effort to continue to build upon their work as her and her team was selected as finalists to compete in Washington DC at the end of July.

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Maternal Health Beyond Hospital Walls

Senegal Ouakam HospitalOne would think the process of delivering a baby would be a universal procedure, with physicians and nurses following the same steps for each patient. However, after traveling to Senegal, BWH’s Rebecca Luckett, MD, MPH, PGY3 resident in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, had the chance to experience firsthand the challenges associated with providing clinical care outside of the United States. In an effort to step outside of her American resident self, Luckett entered a place where she did not have every amenity and test at her fingertips, shifting her outlook and gaining a new perspective on the system in which she would be working.

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Health Care where there are no Roads

Raj Panjabi, of BWH’s Division of Global Health Equity, has set out to make health care more accessible to those living in the world’s most remote villages by reconstructing the model of the Community Health Worker (CHW). Over 1 billion people worldwide go their entire lives without receiving any degree of medical care, and Panjabi recognized the need for an improved health care system that reaches rural communities.

In 2007, Panjabi founded Last Mile Health, an organization dedicated to closing the health care access gap through a redesigned and improved CHW program. By professionalizing CHWs through a stringent 5 step process that involves lengthy training, testing and incentivized salary, Last Mile Health is able to serve remote villages through a knowledgeable and fully equipped workforce that is more efficient and effective than the traditional model. The goal is to achieve universal access to care by 2030, a project that seems daunting but is quite possible if health systems focus on and invest in community health worker performance.

Read more about Last Mile Health in this piece by the Huffington Post.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Social Worker from Guatemala Visits BWH

Martha Burke, LICSW received a gift from Visiting Scholar Vicky Tojin.

Martha Burke, LICSW received a gift from Visiting Scholar Vicky Tojin.

BWH’s Department of Social Work chose resiliency as their theme this year, so it’s fitting that Social Work and Care Coordination invited Vicky Tojin, a Guatemalan social worker and civil war refugee who embodies the definition of resiliency, to spend a week as a visiting scholar this May.

Tojin was born to Mayan parents in Guatemala at the start of the civil war, which would go on to claim over 200,000 lives, mostly Mayan, over a 36 year period. In response, she devoted herself to learning how she could support others in their struggle to heal from trauma. Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Partners In Health Receives UNITAID Grant to Revolutionize Access to MDR-TB Treatment

This week, Partners In Health announced a new partnership with UNITAIDDoctors Without Borders/ Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), and IRD to revolutionize access to new multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) treatment in 17 countries, especially among the poor.

“We’re grateful for this support from UNITAID, and particularly for their partnership, with which we’re hoping to make diagnosis and treatment of drug-resistant tuberculosis more effective and more tolerable for patients, as well as more readily accessible and lower-cost,” says Paul Farmer, MD, PhD, co-founder of Partners In Health and chief of BWH’s Division of Global Health Equity. “UNITAID has given us a way to use the power of markets to serve the poor, driving down the cost of essential commodities and helping to deliver them to the people who need them most.”

Read more about the UNITAID grant that will make this work possible.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

BWFH Physician Travels to Qatar

Roger Clark, MD, of Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital Infection Control, recently traveled to Qatar to observe and report on the country’s health care system from an infection control standpoint. He was joined by BWH’s Susan Marino, of Infection Control, and Paula Wright, of Massachusetts General Hospital Infection Control.

The trip was sponsored by Partners HealthCare International, whose mission is to enhance the capabilities of health care systems worldwide.

For almost two weeks, Clark and the team went through every unit of Qatar’s two major hospitals to observe, survey and identify strengths and weaknesses, using the CMS Infection Control Checklist as their guide.

“I think we were able to validate that these hospitals in Qatar are doing a good job in the infection control arena,” said Clark, “The level of cleanliness was as good as any hospital I have seen in the United States.”

Clark said the trip to Qatar was an outstanding opportunity to work with true professionals, including his colleagues from BWH and MGH and the faculty and staff of Qatar’s two major hospitals.

After arriving back in the U.S., Clark, Marino and Wright compiled their findings in a final document survey, which was presented to the hospitals’ executive committees for further examination.

Source: BWFH Pulse 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Global Health Doc Prepares for Boston Marathon

Riviello

Robert Riviello shares this picture of himself on a training run in Rwanda for the Boston Marathon.

One of BWH’s global health experts, Robert Riviello, MD, MPH, is training for the Boston Marathon while he is in Rwanda this month. This year’s marathon is especially meaningful to Riviello, as he was working in BWH’s Emergency Department when the bombs exploded at last year’s marathon.

He writes:

Soon afterward, I received an email from a physician I work with on my regular travels to Rwanda that simply said, “Be strong.” This doctor, a survivor of genocide who I have teamed with as a part of BWH’s Center for Surgery and Public Health, was now supporting me in my community’s time of need.

It was a moving reminder that, no matter who you are or what your circumstances, you never know when you’ll need support—or when an encouraging word can mean the world to someone else.

That’s why I’m running in this year’s Boston Marathon—to pay tribute to the community who stood strong and supported each other through last year’s tragic events. And with less than three weeks until Marathon Monday, my teammates and I could all use some words of encouragement right about now.

I’m writing to you now from Rwanda, where I’m continuing my work with Dr. Georges Ntakiyiruta, but I’m still doing my marathon training—and it hasn’t been easy. (That’s me in the photo, training solo here.)

Running up Mount Kigali is always worth it for the great view, but to make it up there I have to motivate myself by remembering why I’m doing this: to honor the courage of our patients and the passion of our care teams.

This year’s Boston Marathon means so much to me and my teammates, and I’m sure it does to you, too. Please sign the good luck card and leave a message that BWH will deliver to our team the day before the race: http://give.brighamandwomens.org/pages/Marathon-Card

Please feel free to share the link far and wide!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Nurse Volunteers in Dominican Republic

By Courtney Murphy, BSN, RN
Trauma, Burn and Surgical Critical Care Units

From Feb. 22 to March 8, I had an experience of a lifetime. Alongside 24 other registered nurses, I traveled to El Cercado and Cotui, Dominican Republic, on a medical mission with a nonprofit organization called Intercultural Nursing. I had the opportunity and pleasure to provide free health care to some of the poorest people in the Dominican Republic. We treated persons of all ages, from infancy through late adulthood. Many of the men and women I met walked more than two hours to see “the wonderful American nurses.”

During our first clinic day, I met a woman in her 50s who told me she suffered from chronic headaches. After performing a thorough assessment, I decided to give her some Tylenol in addition to the toiletries everyone we saw received. As I handed her a small bottle of Tylenol and began to explain how frequently to take the pain medication, tears began to roll down her cheeks. She told me she has never been able to afford Tylenol and has lived in pain for the past ten years.

Courtney_Murphy

Courtney Murphy is joined by local children who would walk to the clinic after school to visit the nurses.

My heart melted when I saw how appreciative this woman was. To know something as simple as Tylenol was going to make such a huge difference in this woman’s life was a wonderful feeling. For each clinic day that followed, I encountered many more individuals who were so thankful of the care we provided.

As nurses, we make a difference in the lives of strangers each and every day. This opportunity allowed me to change the world, at least for the 800 plus people we saw and treated during my two week mission. I look forward to going on another medical mission in the near future to help even more people and bring smiles to the faces of those in need.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Another Successful Mission for Operation Walk Boston

The BWH-led Operation Walk Boston team is on its seventh annual mission to the Dominican Republic, performing joint replacements on those in need. This year, the team set its sights on providing joint replacements for 43 patients, with the goal of performing 43 total knee replacements and 18 total hip replacements. Check out photos and blog posts from the team throughout its trip at operationwalkboston.blogspot.com

OpWalk

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

New Childhood TB Estimates Double the Number Previously Thought

Researchers from BWH and Harvard Medical School have estimated that around one million children suffer from tuberculosis (TB) annually— twice the number previously thought to have tuberculosis and three times the number that are diagnosed every year.

The researchers also estimated that around 32,000 children suffer from multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) annually. These findings were published in The Lancet on March 23, 2014.

“Despite children comprising approximately one quarter of the world’s population, there have been no previous estimates of how many suffer from MDR-TB disease,” explained Ted Cohen, MD, DrPH, HMS associate professor of Medicine in BWH’s Division of Global Health Equity and co-senior author of this study. “Our estimate of the total number of new cases of childhood TB is twice that estimated by the WHO in 2011 and three times the number of child TB cases notified globally each year.”

These findings underscore the urgent need for expanded investment in the global response to TB and MDR-TB in children.

“Our findings demonstrate that there is a need for improved methods for collecting data on childhood TB. A good starting place would be improved diagnostic methods for children and more systematic collection of information on how many children are suffering with this disease,” explained Helen Jenkins, PhD, HMS instructor in BWH’s Division of Global Health Equity and lead statistician on the project.

Read more about the study in this article by Fox News.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment