Paul Farmer’s Keynote Speech at BWH Research Day

Paul Farmer delivers the keynote address at BWH Research Day.

If you weren’t able to attend BWH Research Day on Nov. 22, you can still catch the thought-provoking keynote speech delivered by Paul Farmer, MD, PhD, chief of the BWH Division of Global Health Equity. Farmer discussed “Research Methodologies and Global Health Equity: Lessons from Haiti and Rwanda.” View the webcast on YouTube here.

Team Heart Patient Receives Award for Helping Others

Jean Paul and Jacky
Jean Paul and Jacky Iyamuremye during a visit to Brigham and Women’s Hospital last week. The pair were en route to Hawaii, where Jean Paul received the Bakken Invitation Award.

Six years ago, a young man in his 20s lay dying in a hospital bed in Rwanda. Emaciated, bed-ridden and incredibly ill with bacterial endocarditis, Jean Paul Iyamuremye’s chances of survival seemed slim. It was a drastic change from just four months earlier, when life had been so promising. He had just married a wonderful woman named Jacky, and they were ready to start their lives together.

But Jean Paul was lucky. While he was in the hospital, a newly formed group, called Team Heart, was just beginning to plan its first cardiac surgery mission to Rwanda. Led by BWH cardiac surgeon Chip Bolman, MD, and his wife, Ceeya Patton Bolman, RN, the team met Jean Paul and planned to operate on him during their mission five months later, hoping that he would survive in the interim.

He did, and received the first mechanical valve to be done in Rwanda on Team Heart’s inaugural trip in April of 2008.

Today, a vibrant, healthy and optimistic Jean Paul has just returned from Hawaii, where he received an award for his advocacy work on behalf of other Team Heart patients. The team returns to Rwanda each year, and Jean Paul is committed to helping patients as they undergo surgery and begin to recover. Continue reading “Team Heart Patient Receives Award for Helping Others”

Establishing a Neurology Hospital in Somaliland

Essa Kayd and patients, families
Essa Kayd, center (in lab coat) with a patient and family members in Somaliland.

Essa Kayd is a native of Somaliland, which is recognized as an autonomous region of Somalia, Africa, and is comprised of about  7 million people. He returned in 2009, after having been out of Somaliland for 29 years, and began the process of establishing a neurology hospital. This week, Essa will return once again to continue his mission, his “raison d’etre.”

By Essa Kayd, Supervisor of Neurology and EMG for BWH

Four years ago, I returned to Somaliland to take my aunt for surgery and my nephew to receive care after he experienced some fainting spells.

The closest country where this could be done was Ethiopia, which borders Somaliland. We took a plane to get there, rented a hotel room, hired an interpreter and left everybody behind.

I was determined to have my aunt treated and operated on as safely as possible. After her surgery was successfully completed, it was my nephew’s turn to see a neurologist. There, I met more patients from Somaliland and surrounding countries. The neurologist is among very few specialists in the whole continent, and neurological disorders including neuro-infectious diseases are a common cause of disability and death.

I looked carefully around the waiting room and noticed the dear prices that a minimum procedure would cost patients – in terms of time, money, and having to leave their families for a time.

I decided that I wanted to bring neurology to Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland, to make it more accessible to these people. Continue reading “Establishing a Neurology Hospital in Somaliland”

BWH, HMS and HSPH to Host Global Health Summit Nov. 25


Atul Gawande, MD, MPH, Paul Farmer, MD, PhD, and Nawal Nour, MD, MPH – some of the world’s biggest names in global health are participating in a panel discussion together for the first time at the Global Health Summit Nov. 25.

BWH, in partnership with Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health, is hosting the summit  Nov. 25, 2 – 6:30 p.m. , at the Joseph B. Martin Conference Center, 77 Avenue Louis Pasteur.

Global health experts from all three institutions will participate in panel discussions throughout the afternoon, culminating with the keynote panel and a reception. Check out the complete program and impressive panelist biographies here.

All are invited to attend, but space is limited. Please register online for each panel you would like to attend.

Rwandan Doctors’ Housing Wins Architecture Award


Housing for doctors at Butaro Hospital in Rwanda, supported by the Daniel E. Ponton Fund at Brigham & Women’s Hospital, has been awarded the Buro Happold Effectiveness Award by World Architecture News (WAN). The honor, part of the annual WAN Awards contest for excellence in architecture,  celebrates designs that have made a positive impact on society.

Three years ago, a group from Brigham and Women’s Hospital traveled to Butaro, Rwanda, to visit a newly built hospital supported by Partners In Health. The group included BWH President Betsy Nabel, Surgeon-in-Chief Michael Zinner, MD, and Daniel E. Ponton, philanthropist and co-owner of Club Colette who was successfully treated at BWH for a life-threatening brain tumor. Ponton saw how the housing shortage made it difficult to attract and retain qualified medical staff, and his foundation — the Daniel E. Ponton Fund at Brigham & Women’s Hospital—subsequently funded and built the Butaro Doctors’ Housing project, which was designed by the MASS Design Group.

All building materials were produced on site, and hundreds of workers were trained in masonry, carpentry and other skills. A goal of the housing project was to create a more sustainable rural health care system, and since the residences opened last fall, physicians from Rwanda and other countries have lived in the new housing while providing care at the hospital and educating the next generation of young Rwandan clinicians.

According to an editorial in World Architecture News announcing the winner, the judges were “won over by the care and attention paid to the Housing from the ground up – the use of local craftsmen, sustainable, local resources, and even the graceful final touches of interior decor.” Read the editorial.