This past July, Dr. Remley took two students (Krishna Aluri, 2014 MD Candidate and Eboni Corprew, 2013 MPH Graduate) to the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) meeting in Washington, DC. The title of the meeting was "Global Infectious Disease Meeting: Identifying Opportunities for Increased Collaboration." The students had an opportuntiy to meet health officials from local, state and national government, while also learning the importnance of global health and how it affects ones community. Please read their comments below.
From left to right: José Thier Montero, MD, MPH (Director, Division of Public Health Services, New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services), Krishna Aluri, Paul E. Jarris, MD, MBA (Executive Director, ASTHO) and Eboni Corprew, MPH
One of the first things I realized during this conference was that the state health officials, state epidemiologists, CDC representatives, and other attendees took the issues they discussed very, very seriously. Throughout the day, it became clear that this was because the connected nature of today's countries meant that "global" diseases were causing illness in their local communities, demanding comprehensive responses to unfamiliar circumstances, requiring policy debate and change, and draining their already limited budgets. One recurrent theme was the meaningless distinction between global, national, and local - diseases act at each and all of those levels at the same time. As a medical student, more used to focusing on details, I was struck by the scale and complexity of these concerns. Policy decisions trickle down with unforeseen consequences, as when the absence of a line-item in the federal budget for tuberculosis treatment means that even one case of XDR-TB can overwhelm a state's ability to care for patients with TB - something that global interconnectedness forces them to do. I was heartened by one challenge in particular - refugee resettlement and immigration patterns into the US often result in groups from specific countries or regions of origin living together within US communities. These groups carry their own healthcare needs, which many communities may never have faced before. This in turn means that, as local providers, we must strive to learn about the diseases and cultures of these groups in order to treat each individual effectively and provide them with the support they deserve.
Thank you for the opportunity to join you at the ASTHO Global Infectious Disease Meeting that was held on Wednesday, July 31, 2013. As an epidemiology student in the Eastern Virginia Medical School Graduate Program in Public Health, I greatly appreciated the opportunity to see public health professionals collaborating on global issues that affect everyone. The meeting shed light on the need to address an important issue in global health: global effects on domestic health issues. So often we focus on global health as it is related to helping developing countries, and we forget that global health similarly affects the developed world. This occasion to observe global health “in action”, provided by the M. Foscue Brock Institute of Community and Global Health, has served as an invaluable addition to my education at EVMS. Again, I thank you and the Brock Institute for this hands-on learning opportunity and I look forward to sharing my experience with students and faculty.
President, MPH Class of 2013"