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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University May 15, 2006 | Vol. 35 No. 34
A Center for Global Health Is Announced

Director Thomas Quinn speaks with reporters at a briefing announcing the establishment of the Johns Hopkins Center for Global Health. Deans Martha Hill, Michael Klag and Edward Miller listen.

Efforts at Public Health, Medicine and Nursing will be coordinated

By Dennis O'Shea

The Johns Hopkins University is launching a Center for Global Health to coordinate and focus its efforts against HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, hepatitis, flu and other worldwide health threats, especially in developing countries, President William R. Brody has announced.

The center will bridge the international work of the university's Bloomberg School of Public Health, School of Medicine and School of Nursing. It will be led by Thomas Quinn, a professor of international health, epidemiology, and molecular microbiology and immunology in the Bloomberg School and professor of medicine in the School of Medicine.

"Johns Hopkins already works around the world to stop HIV/AIDS, to promote maternal and child health, to prevent malnutrition and to fight diseases — from malaria to high blood pressure — in the developing world," Brody said. "But we want to do more, we know how to do more, and we must do more.

"The most effective way to strengthen our efforts is to find smart ways to combine and focus them," Brody said, "to create teams of physicians, nurses, entomologists, engineers, basic scientists — whoever is needed to attack a problem in a coordinated way. That's what the Center for Global Health will help us do."

The Center for Global Health, Quinn says, is the first such center anywhere to combine the strengths of top-ranked schools of medicine, nursing and public health.

Both the causes and effects of many health problems — infectious, environmental, behavioral or stemming from man-made or natural disasters — are increasingly global in nature, Quinn said. In that worldwide environment, he said, "you can't solve one small problem without looking at the big problem. Bringing together the expertise of the three disciplines of public health, nursing and medicine is far more effective than one specialty alone in solving today's global health problems.

"To fight HIV, for instance," he said, "you need the behavioral specialists — that's public health and nursing. You need the infectious disease specialists — that's medicine and public health. And you need the skilled care delivery — that's nursing.

"We want to take all that expertise and put it together and focus it," Quinn said. "I have been on the ground in these countries for more than 20 years. I know what has been accomplished. My colleagues and I know how much more can be accomplished. The faculty is rallying to this idea. In many cases, they want to implement their research findings on a larger scale in order to influence change and improve health wherever disparities exist."

The center will help to broker collaboration among nearly two dozen existing programs in the three schools [see below]; together, those programs already operate more than 400 projects around the world. Other Johns Hopkins entities collaborating with the center will include the Berman Bioethics Institute, JHPIEGO and Johns Hopkins Medicine International. Additional Johns Hopkins organizations are expected to affiliate as the effort becomes widely known around the university.

The center will seek out and secure funding for new initiatives and recruit faculty to address emerging global health issues. It also will have students working shoulder to shoulder with faculty mentors out in the field, where they can train most effectively to become the next generation of leaders in global health.

Quinn has won a half-dozen awards from the U.S. Public Health Service for outstanding, meritorious or distinguished service and was elected a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences in 2004.

"Tom Quinn is an excellent choice to spearhead this center," said Bloomberg Dean Michael J. Klag. "The Bloomberg School of Public Health's international mission has been part and parcel of what we've done since the school was founded in 1916. [Tom] and his colleagues will build on our already strong partnerships with the School of Nursing and the School of Medicine so that Johns Hopkins is even more effective in preventing and treating diseases that kill millions of people around the world."

Martha N. Hill, dean of the School of Nursing, added that the center is a unique three-way partnership.

"With the Center for Global Health and under the leadership of Tom Quinn, we will rapidly increase our effectiveness in research, teaching, practice and service around the world," Hill said. "Our students and faculty are enthusiastic about the schools working together as we prepare practitioners and scientists to work in teams dedicated to improving global health."

Edward D. Miller, dean of the School of Medicine and CEO of Johns Hopkins Medicine, said that the fusion of the three schools' expertise, leadership and resources would result in a "uniquely Hopkins enterprise to address international health problems."

"While the challenges are daunting," Miller said, "I have no doubt that this center will play a major role in improving the health and lives of people throughout the world."

The center's staff will work with an executive advisory committee, as well as internal and external advisory committees, to define key global health problems and then design scientifically based interventions, address barriers and identify potential financial resources. Center leaders will also act as Johns Hopkins' voice in support of local, national or international policy or political initiatives. Funds will also be identified to support travel by students and young investigators to international field sites.

Quinn's own work on the epidemiology and nature of HIV/AIDS infection around the world has led to recognition of the importance of treating and preventing other sexually transmitted diseases to slow the transmission of HIV. He directs programs in Africa, Latin America and Asia that examine the biological and behavioral aspects of HIV transmission and the effectiveness of community-based STD treatment and HIV care programs in controlling HIV spread worldwide.

As with HIV and other STDs, many health problems in today's world can have major implications not only locally or regionally but across national borders, making a global health perspective on those problems critically important, Quinn said.

"Emerging and re-emerging epidemics can spread rapidly due to international travel and can have major health and economic implications in all countries within weeks to months," he said. "Chronic diseases are on the rise in developing as well as developed countries. Malnutrition, child survival and disaster relief are constant problems facing many countries that lack sufficient resources to mount effective responses."


Johns Hopkins Center for Global Health

Collaborating Groups: Collaborating with the Center for Global Health are Johns Hopkins global health programs and activities that include the following:

Berman Bioethics Institute
Center for Clinical Global Health Education
Center for Clinical Trials
Center for Collaborative Intervention Research
Center for Communication Programs
Center for Health Disparities Research
Center for Hepatitis
Center for HIV/AIDS
Center for Hospital Epidemiology and Infection Control
Center for Human Nutrition
Center for Immunization Research
Center for Nursing Research & Sponsored Projects
Center for Tuberculosis Research
Collaborating Center of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)
Dana Center for Preventive Ophthalmology
Division of Infectious Diseases
Fogarty AIDS International Training and Research Program
Global Health Promotion Research Program
Institute for Johns Hopkins Nursing
International Center for Advancing Neonatal Health
Johns Hopkins International
Malaria Research Institute
McKusick-Nathans Institute of Genetic Medicine
Minority Health and Health Disparities International Research Training Program
Office of Critical Event Preparedness and Response
Office of Global Nursing
Welch Center for Prevention, Epidemiology and Clinical Research

Governance: The center will be governed jointly by the deans of the Bloomberg School of Public Health, School of Medicine and School of Nursing. The director will initially report to the Bloomberg School's dean, Michael J. Klag. The center's staff will also work with an executive advisory committee, as well as with internal and external advisory committees, to define key global health problems.

Affiliated Faculty: More than 100 faculty members will work closely with the center, but virtually all Johns Hopkins faculty members currently working in international health (approximately 600) will be affiliated with the center. Faculty will continue to hold primary appointments within their current departments.

Center Staff: The center has a director, Tom Quinn, and eventually will have three associate directors tasked and appointed by the dean of each respective school, as well as an additional eight full-time staff members. The staff will have offices on the East Baltimore campus.

Funding: The deans of the Bloomberg School of Public Health, School of Medicine and School of Nursing have committed funds to launch the Center for Global Health. Currently, Johns Hopkins is awarded approximately $500 million in international health funding each year from various sources. Staff will also seek additional donations for the center.

Contact for Johns Hopkins affiliates: Thomas Quinn, 410-955-5194 or 615 N. Wolfe St., W1600, Baltimore, MD 21205


Related Web sites

Center for Global Health
Thomas Quinn


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