Hope in Sierra Leone

Regan Marsh wears personal protective equipment to admit a patient.

Regan Marsh wears personal protective equipment to admit a patient.

Regan Marsh, MD, MPH, of BWH’s Department of Emergency Medicine, shares the following update from Sierra Leone, where she is working with Partners In Health (PIH) to care for Ebola patients. Although the situation is dire, Regan says, “There is definitely hope.”

Partners In Health is managing Ebola in 4 regions of Sierra Leone, including an Ebola Treatment Unit, a maternity hospital, two public hospitals and many rural community sites. I am primarily based at the Government Hospital in Port Loko, trying to effectively reopen it in a robust fashion, since it was deeply impacted on all levels by the epidemic.

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BWFH experts help provide quality healthcare to women in Rwanda

Virtually unknown in the United States, obstetric fistulae, or holes between either the rectum and vagina or the bladder and vagina, which develop after difficult childbirth, leave thousands of women in Africa incontinent. As a result, these women, many of whom are very young and very poor, are ostracized from their community. Since 2003, it has been the mission of the International Organization for Women and Development (IOWD) to bring volunteer surgeons and nurses to Africa to operate and care for these women. At the same time, the group trains the local surgeons in these surgical skills.


In 2003, Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital OR nurse Kathleen Scott, RN, traveled to Niger with the IOWD for the first time. “It’s something I always wanted to do,” says Scott. “And I just got hooked.” Since then, she has traveled with the IOWD to Niger and then Rwanda every year until 2010. “It’s a great group. The doctors come from all over the country,” says Scott. “The thing that’s special about this group is that they train the local doctors and nurses to do the work. You leave the groundwork behind.” Continue reading

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Ebola, A Year After the Epidemic Began

December marked one year since the first case of Ebola was found in Guinea, leading up to the deadliest Ebola epidemic in history.

Rajesh Panjabi, MD, MPH, of BWH’s Division of Global Health Equity and co-founder and CEO of Last Mile Health, recently returned from Liberia where he has been working with the government and other partners to respond. He spoke with WBUR’s “Here and Now” about the outbreak, the progress we have made and the new challenges we are facing in fighting the disease.

Panjabi told WBUR: “Ebola anywhere is a threat to people everywhere, and so you cannot have almost zero with Ebola. You’ve got to get to zero cases.”

Read more: http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2014/12/29/ebola-year-update

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Improving Birth Outcomes in Resource-Limited Settings

CC Lee 2

“It’s the saddest thing in the world to hold a baby who has died,” said Anne CC Lee, MD, MPH, FAAP.  ”But what is even worse and more unjust is holding a baby who has died, when it could have been prevented.”

Lee, who has worked in rural health clinics in Tibet, India, Africa and China, is now working to improve birth outcomes in places with few resources and weak health systems.

Read more about the work of Lee, a physician-researcher in the BWH Department of Pediatric-Newborn Medicine’s Clinical and Translational Research Program, and her team in BWH Clinical and Research News.

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Haiti’s First Emergency Medicine Residency Program



Haiti’s first Emergency Medicine residents

Recognized as the best teaching hospital in Haiti, the 200-bed Hopital Universitaire de Mirebalais (HUM) plays a major role in training future generations of health care providers and is home to residency programs in general surgery, internal medicine, obstetrics and pediatrics.

With the leadership of BWH Emergency Medicine attendings Regan Marsh, MD, MPH, and Shada Rouhani, MD, MPH, HUM recently added a fifth program to the roster: the country’s first Emergency Medicine residency.

“The need for emergency medicine in Haiti was apparent after the earthquake and continues to be an area of priority for the Haitian government and the Haitian branch of Partners In Health.”

Read more in BWH Bulletin.

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Paul Farmer Appears on “The Colbert Report”

“There is a lot of evidence that would suggest the world will be a safer and more prosperous place if there are not these kind of inequalities, if we address them.”

Dr. Paul Farmer, chief of BWH’s Division of Global Health Equity and co-founder of Partners In Health, received resounding applause from the audience of “The Colbert Report” after making this statement during his guest appearance on the show Dec. 4.

Farmer discussed the reasons why he has dedicated his career and life to serving the poor and the incredible work of Partners In Health in helping tens of millions of people across the globe.

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COPE Seeks to Improve Health of Families of Navajo Nation

As health care hubs like Boston continue to advance medical technologies and standards of care, rural communities can often be left behind. The Community Outreach and Patient Empowerment (COPE) Project combats some of these health care disparities through serving the Navajo Nation.

A partnership between the Indian Health Service, Partners In Health and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, COPE provides treatment as well prevention programs for people living within Navajo Nation. Originally launched in 2009, the program focuses on chronic disease prevention through access to healthier foods. BWH’s Dr. Sonya Shin, an associate physician in the Division of Global Health Equity and the Division of Infectious Diseases, directs the project. Continue reading

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Ebola Response Community on GHDP

The Global Health Delivery Project, a collaboration between BWH and Harvard University, has recently created an online community for health care professionals around the world to discuss Ebola treatment and containment. Started in late September, the “Ebola Response community” now has over 278 members from 65 different countries from over 240 organizations. There are several members from the most Ebola-afflicted countries, including Sierra Leone and Liberia, as well as countries that have successfully contained the disease, such as Nigeria and Senegal. Continue reading

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“Realpolitik and Global Pandemics”


Vin Gupta, MD

Vin Gupta, MD, a fellow in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at BWH, pens a piece for The Lancet Global Health Blog highlighting the need for a multinational response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

He writes: “In our globalised world, a collaborative approach is crucial, as communicable diseases know no borders. While the ethos of recent statements put forward by the WHO, the UN, and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advocates for just such a response, a closer look suggests that at least in recent times, realist tendencies permeate initial responses to global pandemics. Ultimately, how we respond initially will dictate the severity of human and economic losses incurred.”

Read the full post on The Lancet Global Health Blog.

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Global Nurses Lead Across Institutions

BWH has a rich legacy of global health work in partnership with a number of sister institutions, including Partners In Health (PIH) and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH).

Three outstanding nurse leaders recently came together to discuss the importance of nursing in global health efforts. Sheila Davis, DNP, ANP-BC, FAAN, Chief Nursing Officer at PIH and staff member in the BWH Division of Global Health Equity; Patricia Daoust, RN, MSN, Chief Nursing Officer at SEED Global Health and Associate Director for the MGH Center for Global Health; and Julie Anathan, RN, MPH, International Nursing Coordinator at the MGH Center for Global Health and Deputy Chief Nursing Officer at SEED have extensive experience in global health work, both nationally and internationally. Continue reading

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