Newsletter - June 2018

Global Health and Social Medicine - June 2018 Newsletter


On May 21, 2018, Paul Farmer, MD, PhD, was featured as part of the Harvard Gazette's Experience series. The article, written by Alvin Powell, Harvard Staff Writer, is an interview with Paul titled, "Paul Farmer on Partners In Health, Harvard–Haiti and making the lives of the poor the fight of his life." As the interview title suggests, Paul talked about the Harvard-Haiti contrast and thinking and that he would not understand health disparities in Haiti if he hadn’t gone to Harvard Medical School. To support this thinking, Paul suggested that one, "look at all the missionaries and aid workers and humanitarians who get socialized for scarcity on behalf of others because they don’t go back and forth to a place like Harvard. Look how quickly people turn when they’re in those settings—not to cynicism, but to being beaten into believing that there’s nothing, or not a lot, you can do. When asked how he handles the extensive domestic and international travel his job demands, Paul replied, "I think it’s a better and more bracing thing to go between places, and maybe that’s one of the reasons that travel doesn’t bother me." 


Congratulations, Vikram Patel, MBBS, PhD, on the publication of "Where There is no Psychiatrist," 2nd edition. Book Description: Mental illnesses are common and cause great suffering to individuals and communities everywhere in the world, but many health workers are more comfortable dealing with physical illness. This practical manual of mental health care is vital for community health workers, primary care nurses, social workers and primary care doctors, particularly in low-resource settings. This guide gives the reader a basic understanding of mental illness by describing more than thirty clinical problems associated with mental illness and uses a problem-solving approach to guide the reader through their assessment and management. Mental health issues as they arise in specific contexts are described - in refugee camps, in school health programmes, as well as in mental health promotion. The final section helps the reader to personalise for a particular location, for example, by entering local information on voluntary agencies, the names and costs of medicines and words in the local language for symptoms. This product is also available as Open Access. Patel, V., & Hanlon, C. (2018). Where There Is No Psychiatrist: A Mental Health Care Manual. Cambridge: Royal College of Psychiatrists. To learn more about the book, please visit the Cambridge University Press website.


Save the Date... 10th Annual Anesthesia for Global Outreach Course

Friday, October 26–Sunday, October 28, 2018 | Boston Children's Hospital | Course Director: Faye Evans, MD

The anesthesia for global outreach course is focused on providing anesthesia providers with skills and knowledge to facilitate short-term surgical missions and exchanged, the prevailing model for global surgery and anesthesia initiatives. By the end of the course participants can expect to: recognize and demonstrate the knowledge of anesthetic techniques likely to be encountered in low-resource settings; learn the preparations needed to safely work in austere conditions specific to the practice of anesthesia including intellectual, technical, ethical, and attitudinal factors; discuss and demonstrate various means of delivering educational programs in resource-poor environments such as the use of simulation to practice clinical and technical skills and care delivery; discuss the psychological and ethical adaptations that occur when working in an austere practice environment. For more information, please visit the website.

The UnLonely Project

On April 8, 2018, as part of its TogetherTODAY challenge, the Today Show featured Jeremy Nobel MD, MPH, Lecturer on Global Health and Social Medicine, to talk about loneliness as a health issue and what the "UnLonely Project" is doing about it.

The UnLonely Project is a response to the growing public health concern of social isolation and loneliness. The goal of the initiative is to broaden public awareness of the negative physical and mental health consequences of loneliness associated with a wide range of life conditionals and circumstances while also exploring and promoting creative arts-based approaches to reduce the burden. The UnLonely Project seeks to raise awareness about loneliness as a pressing health problem and promote creative expression as an innovative approach to alleviate it; offer creative arts-based on-line experiences, downloadable tools, resources, and programs for managing loneliness; and catalyze and conduct further research into how to most effectively and creatively reduce the burden of loneliness for millions of American. Please visit The UnLonely Project website to read about this timely project.


Anne Becker, MD, PhD, FAED, received the AED Leadership Award for Research on April 21, 2018, at the Academy for Eating Disorders (AED), International Conference on Eating Disorders in Chicago, Illinois. The AED, founded in 1993, is "an organization of eating disorders professionals that embodied excellence in education, treatment, and research that could advocate for patients with eating disorders, provide professional training and development and, in general, represent the field of eating disorders." Congratulations, Anne.

David Jones, MD, PhD, has received the Everett Mendelsohn Excellence in Mentoring Award at the Graduate School of Arts and Science, Harvard University. The award, named for Professor Everett Mendelsohn, recognizes exemplary mentoring of graduate students. Thirteen graduate students nominated David for this award. Cara Fallon, a seventh-year PhD student in the history of science spoke on behalf of all of Jones’ nominators. “He has students from across the graduate career, from first years to postdocs, who are eager to express their gratitude,” Fallon said. “He is a virtuoso mentor, one with the flexibility, kindness, and exceptionally high standards that help students at any and every point in our graduate careers.” Fallon noted that Jones has students whose areas of research range from prostate cancer to Japanese medicine. “David knows how to suggest sources and archives for every single topic and knows the art of a perfectly timed question that will open up new avenues of research,” said Fallon. To read more about the Award and other winners, please visit the GSAS website.

Eric Krakauer, MD, PhD, has been named honorary chair of the newly established Department of Palliative Care at the University of Medicine and Pharmacy at Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. One of the first academic departments of palliative care in a low- or middle-income country, it provides training in palliative care and pain control for medical students, residents, and nurses with curricula developed by Dr. Krakauer, and specialist training in palliative care for physicians from Vietnam and the Southeast Asia region is planned. To learn more about the University of Medicine and Pharmacy at Ho Chi Minh City, please visit their website.

Eric L. Krakauer, MD, PhD, associate professor of global health and social medicine, has been awarded a 2018-2019 Fulbright US Scholarship for work in Vietnam. Dr. Krakauer will use the award to assist the University of Medicine & Pharmacy at Ho Chi Minh City to establish a regional center for palliative care training and research that will include the first sub-specialist training program in palliative care in the developing world.

Gene Richardson, MD, PhD, has been appointed a visiting scholar at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, NJ for the 2018-2019 academic year. 


Omar Haque, MD, PhD gave a talk on, "Humanizing Clinical Care for Patients with Disabilities" at the Harvard Law School's Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics, at the conference on, "Beyond Disadvantage: Disability, Law, and Bioethics in Cambridge in May 2018.

In December 2017, Omar served on a panel at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York City organized by the Maimonides Institute for Medicine, Ethics, and the Holocaust at the "Commemorating the 70th Anniversary of the Doctors' Trial and the publication of the Nuremberg Code: "What Have We Learned?"

Eric Krakauer, MD, PhD, gave a plenary address at the 25th International Conference of India Association of Palliative Care in New Delhi, titled “Palliative Care – The Global Disparity in Access: Responses by WHO, the Lancet Commission on Palliative Care, and Disease Control Priorities 3rd Ed.” To read more about the conference, please visit their website.

Chunling Lu, PhD, was an invited presenter at the January 31-February 2018, Early Childhood Development: Challenges and Progress in Measuring Children under Risk of Development in Developing Countries. Countdown to 2030 Scientific Meeting, WHO, Stellenbosch, South Africa. Countdown to 2030 tracks coverage levels for health interventions proven to reduce maternal, newborn and child mortality. It calls on governments and development partners to be accountable, identifies knowledge gaps, and proposes new actions to achieve universal coverage for women's, children's and adolescents' health. To read more about Countdown to 2030, please visit their website.

Chunling also presented “Effects of survey design on self-reported out-of-pocket health spending in developing countries” Health Behavior and Policy Seminar, School of Medicine, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA (April 17, 2018) [read more]

On May 1-2, 2018, Chunling presented, “Measuring progress in mental health care financing” 2018 Global Mental Health Workshop, NIMH, Bethesda, MD (May1-2, 2018). [read more]

On May 10-11, 2018, Chunling presented, “Insights from tracking resources for adolescent health” Joint consultation by Countdown to 2030 and Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health, London, England (May 10-11)

Vikram Patel, MBBS, PhD, presented the 2018 Paul Myerson Memorial Lecture at Tufts University School of Medicine on April 17, 2018. Vikram's talk was on "Scaling Up Mental Health Care Globally: From Science to Action.

Vikram also lectured at a special Grand Rounds on April 26, 2018, at Massachusetts General Hospital, the talk of the lecture was, "Mental health in the era of sustainable development: evidence for action."

On April 22, 2018, Vikram participated in a plenary at the University of California Global Health Day, his talk was, "Universal mental health coverage: realizing the sustainable development goal aspiration." More about this event may be found online.

Gene Richardson, MD, PhD, was an invited presenter at Princeton University's Center for Health and Wellbeing's Global Health Colloquium on February 16, 2018. Gene spoke on, "Epidemic Illusions: The Symbolic Violence of Public Health Discourse." For more about the Center for Health and Wellbeing, please see their website.

Gustavo Velásquez, MD MPH, presented at a late-breaker session at the Conference on Retroviral and Opportunistic Infections on March 5, 2018, in Boston. He presented on our high-dose rifampin trial (Carole Mitnick is co-PI), which found that higher doses of rifampin have a modest effect on reducing the load of TB bacteria and that these higher doses do not seem to impart additional risk. This randomized, controlled trial of two experimental doses, compared to the standard dose of rifampin, also reveals that many of the Peruvian patients who receive the standard dose of rifampin do not reach target plasma concentrations of the drug and maybe underdosed. There are other trials underway that are trying to optimize the dose of rifampin for shortened TB treatment; while these are completed, our data and those of other recently completed trials suggest that treatment outcomes may be improved by using these higher doses in some patients. To read more about the conference, please visit their website.


Evans, F. M., Duarte, J. C., Haylock Loor, C., & Morriss, W. (2018). Are Short Subspecialty Courses the Educational Answer? Anesthesia and Analgesia, 126(4), 1305–1311. [link]

Morriss, W. W., Milenovic, M. S., Evans, F. M. (2018). Education. Anesthesia and Analgesia, 126(4), 1298–1304. [link]

Tanaka, G., Tang, H., Haque, O.S., & Bursztajn, H. J. (2018). Preserve Enduring Personality Changes After Catastrophic Experience (EPCACE) as a diagnostic resource. The Lancet Psychiatry, 5(5), e9. [link]

Haque, O.S. & Bursztajn, H.J. (2017). Can Pragmatic Philosophy Restore Psychiatry’s Humanity in the Age of Neuroscience? Psychodynamic Psychiatry, 45 (4), 623-625. [link]

Tanaka, G., Soonsawat, A., Haque, O.S., Kohn, R., Bursztajn, H.J. (2017). The traumatized older individual and society. In Holzer, J.C., Kohn, R., Ellison, J.M., Recupero, P.R. (Eds.) Geriatric Forensic Psychiatry: Principles and Practice. Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press. [link]

Krakauer EL, Thinh DHQ, Khanh QT, et al. Palliative care in Vietnam: Long-term partnerships yield increasing access. J Pain Symptom Manage 2018;55:S92-S95. [link

Sharkey L, Loring B, Cowan M, Riley L, Krakauer EL. National palliative care capacities around the world: Results from the World Health Organization Noncommunicable Disease Country Capacity Survey. Palliative Medicine 2018, Vol. 32(1) 106–113. [link]

Rhee JY, Foley K, Morrison RS, Centeno C, Krakauer EL. Training in Global Palliative Care Within Palliative Medicine Specialist Training Programs: A Moral Imperative. J Pain Symptom Manage 2018. 55;e2. [link]

Krakauer EL, Muhimpundu MA, Mukasahaha D, et al. Palliative care in Rwanda: Aiming for universal access. J Pain Symptom Manage 2018;55:S77-S79. [link]

Li Z, Li M, Subramanian SV, Lu C. Assessing levels and trends of child health inequality in 88 developing countries: from 2000 to 2014. Global Health Action 2017 10(1) [link

Lu C, Chu A, Li ZH, Shen J, Subramanian SV, Hill K. Assessing development assistance for child survival between 2000 and 2014: a multi-sectoral perspective. PLoS One 2017 12(7) [link]

Lu C, Cook B, Desmond C. Does foreign aid crowd out government investments? Evidence from rural health centres in Rwanda. BMJ Global Health 2017;2:e000364. doi:10.1136/ bmjgh-2017-000364. [link]

Liu K, Yang J, Lu C. Is the Medical Financial Assistance Program an Effective Supplement to Social Health Insurance for Low-Income Households in China? A Cross-Sectional Study. International Journal for Equity in Health 2017 16:138. [link]

Cook B, Creedon T, Wang Y, Lu C, Jules P, Alegría M. Examining racial/ethnic differences in patterns of benzodiazepine prescription and misuse. Drug and Alcohol Dependence 2018 (187): 29-34. [link]

Li Z, Li M, Subramanian SV, Lu C. Assessing levels and trends of child health inequality in 88 developing countries: from 2000 to 2014. Global Health Action 2017 10(1) [link]

Crick Lund, Carrie Brooke-Sumner, Florence Baingana, Emily Claire Baron, Erica Breuer, Prabha Chandra, Johannes Haushofer, Helen Herrman, Mark Jordans, Christian Kieling, Maria Elena Medina-Mora, Ellen Morgan, Olayinka Omigbodun, Wietse Tol, Vikram Patel, Shekhar Saxena. Social determinants of mental disorders and the Sustainable Development Goals: a systematic review of reviews. Lancet Psychiatry 2018; 5:357-69. [link]

Dean T Jamison, Ala Alwan, Charles N Mock, Rachel Nugent, David Watkins, Olusoji Adeyi, Shuchi Anand, Rifat Atun, Stefano Bertozzi, Zulfiqar Bhutta, Agnes Binagwaho, Robert Black, Mark Blecher, Barry R Bloom, Elizabeth Brouwer, Donald A P Bundy, Dan Chisholm, Alarcos Cieza, Mark Cullen, Kristen Danforth, Nilanthi de Silva, Haile T Debas, Peter Donkor, Tarun Dua, Kenneth A Fleming, Mark Gallivan, Patricia J Garcia, Atul Gawande, Thomas Gaziano, Hellen Gelband, Roger Glass, Amanda Glassman, Glenda Gray, Demissie Habte, King K Holmes, Susan Horton, Guy Hutton, Prabhat Jha, Felicia M Knaul, Olive Kobusingye, Eric L Krakauer, Margaret E Kruk, Peter Lachmann, Ramanan Laxminarayan, Carol Levin, Lai Meng Looi, Nita Madhav, Adel Mahmoud, Jean Claude Mbanya, Anthony Measham, María Elena Medina-Mora, Carol Medlin, Anne Mills, Jody-Anne Mills, Jaime Montoya, Ole Norheim, Zachary Olson, Folashade Omokhodion, Ben Oppenheim, Toby Ord, Vikram Patel, George C Patton, John Peabody, Dorairaj Prabhakaran, Jinyuan Qi, Teri Reynolds, Sevket Ruacan, Rengaswamy Sankaranarayanan, Jaime Sepúlveda, Richard Skolnik, Kirk R Smith, Marleen Temmerman, Stephen Tollman, Stéphane Verguet, Damian G Walker, Neff Walker, Yangfeng Wu, Kun Zhao. Universal health coverage and intersectoral action for health: key messages from Disease Control Priorities, 3rd edition. Lancet 2018; 391: 1108–20. [link]

Chunling Lu, Zhihui Li, Vikram Patel. Global child and adolescent mental health: The orphan of development assistance for health. PLOS Medicine, March 9, 2018. [link]

J Daniel Kelly,  Mohamed Bailor Barrie,  Annelies W Mesman,  Sahr Karku, Komba Quiwa,  Michael Drasher,  Gabriel Warren Schlough,  Kerry Dierberg, Songor Koedoyoma,  Christina P Lindan,  James Holland Jones,  Gabriel Chamie, Lee Worden,  Bryan Greenhouse,  Sheri D Weiser,  Travis C Porco,  George W Rutherford, Eugene T Richardson. Anatomy of a Hotspot: Chain and Seroepidemilogy of Ebola Virus Transmission, Sukudu, Sierra Leone, 2015-2016. The Journal of Infectious Diseases, Volume 217, Issue 8, 28 March 2018, Pages 1214–1221. [link]

J. Daniel Kelly, Eugene T. Richardson, Michael Drasher, M. Bailor Barrie, Sahr Karku, Mohamed Kamara, Katrina Hann, Kerry Dierberg, Allan Hubbard, Christina P. Lindan, Paul E. Farmer, George W. Rutherford, Sheri D. Weiser. Food Insecurity as a Risk Factor for Outcomes Related to Ebola Virus Disease in Kono District, Sierra Leone: A Cross-Sectional Study. The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. [link]

Ware NC, Pisarski EE,  Nakku-Joloba E, Wyatt MA,  Muwonge TR, Turyameeba B, Asiimwe SB, Heffron RA, Baeten JM, Celum CL, Katabira ET. Integrated delivery of antiretroviral treatment and pre-exposure prophylaxis to HIV-1 serodiscordant couples in East Africa: A qualitative evaluation study in Uganda. Journal of the International AIDS Society, Forthcoming.

Agaba PA, Genberg BL, Sagay AA, Agbaji OO, Meloni ST, Dadem NY, Kolawole GO, Okonkwo P, Kanki PJ, Ware NC. Retention in Differentiated Care: Multiple Measures Analysis for a Decentralized HIV Care and Treatment Program in North Central Nigeria. J AIDS Clin Res. 2018 9(2). pii: 756. doi: 10.4172/2155-6113.1000756.  [link]

Gilbert H, Wyatt MA, Asiimwe S, Turyamureega B, Tumwesigye E, van Rooyen H, Barnabas RV, Celum CL, Ware NC. Messaging Circumstances and Economic Pressures as Influences on Linkage to Medical Male Circumcision Following Community-Based HIV Testing for Men in Rural Southwest Uganda: A Qualitative Study. AIDS Res Treat. 2018, 8387436. [link]