from The President

Richard V. Homan, MD
Richard V. Homan, MD

In 2005, three-time Pulitzer Prize winner Thomas Friedman authored the landmark book “The World Is Flat,” about the dramatic global changes resulting from rapid-fire advances in technology.

If Mr. Friedman thought the world was flat nearly 15 years ago, imagine what he would say today about the globalization of disease, as recent zika and ebola outbreaks tragically illustrate.

The growing field of global health — the focus of this EVMS Magazine — addresses that kind of biosocial threat. But at EVMS, our Global Health programs also train students to be engaged physicians and health professionals who pursue health equity in every community they encounter, whether in Eastern Virginia or East Africa. The incredible learning experiences our students had in Panama and Bangladesh are just two examples of this important training.

The majority of our work occurs in Hampton Roads and on Virginia’s Eastern Shore, where we have the privilege of providing healthcare to migrant-worker and refugee communities. This local experience is broadened through the rural health missions we support across the commonwealth, as well as the clinical and research initiatives we sustain through partnerships around the world. Some partnerships offer us the gift of volunteer service in overseas communities that lack access to healthcare. Others allow us to research solutions to medical conditions for which geographic boundaries no longer exist.

At the same time, we recognize that global health is not exclusively international. Health inequities persist in our own backyard. Even our annual Community Impact Day, when incoming EVMS students volunteer at local nonprofits, introduces students to the global health concept of interdisciplinary teams working together to reduce health disparities.

The vision of EVMS is to be recognized as the most community-oriented school of medicine and health professions in the nation. Equipping our students with the skills to be engaged citizens of the global community is a vital part of realizing that vision. Thank you for supporting us in that effort.