The Indiana University Center for Global Health convenes Global Health Scholars Day each spring to showcase the excellent work being done by the IU community to improve the care of patients worldwide, research the complexities of global health, and educate learners about the care of local and global populations.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, this year’s event took on a new format with global health research posters and photo contest entries available for review prior to the event and live presentations via Zoom of the top submissions.
“Global Health Scholars Day is a chance for everyone in the university community who is interested in addressing healthcare inequities locally or globally to share that passion and learn from the broad expertise found at IU,” said Adrian Gardner, MD, MPH, director of the IU Center for Global Health.
“You do not have to have a medical degree to have an interest and impact on the health and well-being of your fellow citizens in Indiana or around the world,” added Jenny Baenziger, MD, associate director of education for the center and organizer of the event.
Posters were evaluated by Jill Helphinstine, MD, assistant professor of clinical pediatrics, and Palka R. Patel, MD, assistant professor of clinical medicine at IU School of Medicine, who selected the following as top submissions this year:
- Starting at the Roots: Using Human-Centered Design to Develop a Sex and Pregnancy Education Curriculum for Adolescents in Kenya Sean Buehler, BSPH, IU School of Medicine student
- Psychiatrists on the Front Lines of the U.S.-Mexico Border Immigration Crisis: Proving Forensic Evaluations and Establishing Asylum Clinics at Academic Institutions Corissa (Cori) Dionisio, MD, triple board resident
- Delayed Diagnosis: Progressively Worsening Cough in a Healthy Adolescent Allison Lyle, MD, MA, pediatric resident
Buehler was a 2019 Slemenda Scholar and spent last summer at the IU-led AMPATH partnership in Eldoret, Kenya, where he participated in the curriculum development process highlighted in his poster. He said teen pregnancy rates remain unacceptably high and poor outcomes weigh on futures worldwide. He described the human-centered design process used in this effort as one that includes user input at every stage of the development process. He said the young women want to take their education into their own hands, but need materials that are culturally appropriate and understandable. “I’m not Kenyan, adolescent or female. To be culturally humble, you need to realize that you have to be a good listener to be a good teacher,” he said.
Dionisio focused on applying her medical education in a different way to help her clients at U.S. asylum clinics. There are 16 such clinics that provide asylum seekers with forensic evaluations to document physical or mental trauma or torture to meet the burden of proof for asylum applications. “We can use our medical knowledge as a way to provide that proof,” said Dionisio. She said that the successful granting of asylum was 90 to 95 percent in cases with supporting affidavits and only 37.5 percent without it. “There are so many different ways we can practice global health domestically and this is one of them,” she concluded.
Lyle presented a case of a persistent cough in a healthy adolescent who was born in the U.S. The patient was eventually diagnosed with tuberculosis despite no known exposure. The case demonstrates the importance of clinicians staying open to all potential diagnoses, said Lyle. “Tuberculosis, which disproportionately affects people in developing countries, does not spare the United States,” she concluded, noting that it is not necessary to travel abroad to practice global health.
Other poster presenters during the live portion of the event were Bilal Jawed, MS2; Shelly Lash, MD; and Nathan VanderVinne, DO, MPH.
Jawed was also a Slemenda Scholar last summer and did his research poster based on his experience in the AMPATH HIV drug resistance clinic that has served more than 600 patients for whom a second regimen of antiretroviral drugs has not been successful. He said the secret sauce for the success of the clinics are the HIV peer counselors. Jawed described the peer counselors, who are themselves living with HIV, as “essentially a patient-friend who knows the system and can lead them. If that isn’t leading with care, than I don’t know what is,” he continued.
Lash, a 3rd year neonatology fellow, focused on the barriers to identifying, referring and transporting sick newborns in low- and middle-income countries. Neonatal (newborn) mortality is an urgent global health crisis with more than 2.7 million newborn deaths occurring each year, said Lash. Among the barriers that Lash identified was parents who fear that a referral for their sick infant means that death is imminent and then don’t follow the referral.
The case presentation by VanderVinne focused on a patient with a fatal heart attack while he was completing an emergency medicine global health elective in Patan, Nepal.
For the first time, this year’s Global Health Scholars Day featured a photo contest as well. Helphinstine and Caitlin Bernard, MD, assistant professor of clinical obstetrics and gynecology, selected these top photos showing a variety of global health scenes:
1st place: Karen Chahal, MD; Trek to Rainbow Mountain, Peru
2nd place: Eric Raynal, MD; Comuna 13
3rd place: Dionisio; Progress
Honorable Mention: Anna Pendrey, MD; The Future
During a trip to Medellín, Colombia, Raynal took a walking tour of Comuna 13, an area known for its rich cultural arts and social support programs. His photo shows a mural that reminded Raynal of his time in med school dissecting cadavers. The artist (Defos) uses birds to represent the colors of the Colombia taking flight, lifting the spirits of the people. The "key" to this uplifting lies within the people themselves, and inside, the bones and muscles are identical across all people. “Only togetherness will lift us from this terrible pandemic, and we must resist the temptation to divide across lines we artificially create,” Raynal said. “Within each of ourselves, we are all equally bone and muscle--we are all the same."