GH symposium 2016_1

Training the First Generation of Neurologists in Haiti

Aaron Berkowitz teaches a neurology course to residents in Haiti.

Haiti has just one neurologist for 10 million citizens, but the burden of neurological disease there is enormous, say BWH’s Aaron Berkowitz, MD, PhD, and Louine Martineau, MD, of the University Hospital in Mirebalais, Haiti.

Since BWH helped the University Hospital open in 2013, Martineau has been regularly consulting on his neurologic patients with Berkowitz, who leads BWH’s Global Neurology Program. “By opening an outpatient clinic in communication with Dr. Berkowitz, we have created a way to manage patients with neurologic problems,” says Martineau.

To address the larger problem, Berkowitz and colleagues are launching Haiti’s first neurology training program. Initial seed funding will allow them to train two neurologists over the next two years.

“With further investment in the fellowship, we hope to train a few neurologists every year,” says Berkowitz. “These neurologists will serve different regions of the country so patients can get the care they need from local providers.”

Read the full story in the Brigham and Women’s magazine (pages 24 and 25).

GH symposium 2016_1

How A Checklist Can Help Address Causes of Mother, Infant Death in Childbirth

After years of testing in dozens of countries around the world, the Safe Childbirth Checklist was recently released by the World Health Organization (WHO) in collaboration with Ariadne Labs, a joint center of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Scientists at Ariadne Labs helped develop and adapt the checklist and, with Population Services International, are leading the largest randomized controlled trial – called the BetterBirth Program –to test its effectiveness at lowering maternal and neonatal deaths. The BetterBirth Program is implementing the checklist with peer-to-peer coaching and data feedback in more than 100,000 live births across Uttar Pradesh, India.

In this Q&A,  Dr. Katherine Semrau, a Brigham epidemiologist in the Division of Global Health Equity and the Director of the Ariadne Labs BetterBirth Program, tells us more about the Safe Childbirth Checklist.

Katherine Semrau, PhD, MPH
Katherine Semrau, PhD, MPH

How are we doing, globally speaking, when it comes to maternal and neonatal care in childbirth?

Since the establishment of the Millennium Development Goals in 2000, we have made great strides globally in reducing maternal mortality by 43 percent. Unfortunately, reductions in newborn mortality have been marginal; 45 percent of all child mortality occurs in the first 28 days of life. Even with these successes, 303,000 women and 2.9 million newborns die each year. We can do better.

Much of the focus on reducing maternal and newborn mortality has been on improving access to facility-based delivery with a skilled birth attendant in low- and middle-income countries. This approach has improved access to care—but that alone has not solved the problem. Continue reading “How A Checklist Can Help Address Causes of Mother, Infant Death in Childbirth”

GH symposium 2016_1

DGHE’s Introduction to Social Medicine Course: Brigham at Its Best

SOLEDAD, CHIAPAS, MEXICO - AUGUST 13, 2015: Dr. Dan Palazuelos, center, talks to bootcamp participants in the community of Soledad.  (Photo by Cecille Joan Avila / Partners In Health)
SOLEDAD, CHIAPAS, MEXICO: Dr. Dan Palazuelos, center, talks to bootcamp participants in the community of Soledad. (Photo by Cecille Joan Avila / Partners In Health)

Every year since 2005, BWH’s Division of Global Health Equity (DGHE) has offered an Introduction to Social Medicine course—jokingly referred to as “GHE boot camp” due to the jam-packed and demanding schedule of activities—in Rwanda or Haiti. The course is a way to introduce new global health equity residents to “global health: the Brigham and Partners In Health (PIH) way,” says BWH hospitalist and course instructor Dan Palazuelos, MD, MPH.

“We discuss many different themes in global health and are able to demonstrate our approach in real time, including how we partner with local governments and communities to achieve high-value clinical outcomes,” said Palazuelos, who is assistant director of BWH’s Hiatt Global Health Equity Residency. “The program is in part a product of the Brigham philosophy of how we treat each other, how we treat patients and why we pursue excellence in training. Like at the Brigham, all PIH sites are dedicated to doing whatever it takes to help patients get healthy again.”

This year, the course was held in Chiapas, Mexico, for the first time. The setting was a familiar one for Palazuelos, who, although having Mexican roots, first stepped foot on Chiapanecan soil in October 2005 as a Hiatt Global Health Equity resident. He originally set out to help with relief efforts after Hurricane Stan devastated the area, but he stayed dedicated to the region and ultimately worked with PIH to launch an entirely new comprehensive primary health care program there. Continue reading “DGHE’s Introduction to Social Medicine Course: Brigham at Its Best”