Program in Global Noncommunicable Disease and Social Change

Program Director: Gene Bukhman, MD, PhD

Program Background

The Program in Global Noncommunicable Disease and Social Change (PGNCDSC), housed in the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine, brings together scholars, researchers, educators, and health care practitioners to address the endemic noncommunicable disease and injury (NCDI) burden of the world’s poorest people.

A third of the disease burden in the poorest populations is the result of a handful of major infectious conditions such as diarrhea, pneumonia, HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria. The NCDIs that account for another third of the burden include such disparate entities as type 1 and malnutrition-associated diabetes, rheumatic and congenital heart disease, sickle cell disease, Burkitt’s lymphoma and cervical cancer, hemoglobinopathies and glomerulonephritis, epilepsy and schizophrenia, appendicitis and trauma in its various manifestations. These endemic, noninfectious conditions are more likely to be the result of infections and harmful environments than unhealthy behaviors. The challenge for policy and practice is to develop and evaluate integrated policies and service delivery strategies in the absence of single large diseases or risk factors.

The PGNCDSC supports research and aims to train a generation of researchers and practitioners focused on NCDIs in the poorest populations. In support of this mission, the PGNCDSC served as the Secretariat for the Lancet Commission on Reframing Noncommunicable Disease and Injuries for the Poorest Billion (NCDI Poverty Commission) from 2015 – 2020. A major recommendation from the Lancet Report was the creation of the NCDI Poverty Network, a group of 22 low- and lower-middle-income countries (and growing) as well as policy, advocacy, and technical partners, that was formed in December 2020 to implement the recommendations of the Lancet Commission on Reframing Noncommunicable Diseases and Injuries for the Poorest Billion. The NCDI Poverty Network website highlights our Program’s continued involvement in health system strengthening in low- and lower-middle income countries (LLMICs) using our PEN-Plus model.  

In 2022, the Program in Global NCDs and Social Change along with the Division of Global Health Equity at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the NCD Synergies project at Partners In Health founded the Center for Integration Science for Global Health Equity (CIS) at Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston. The mission of the Center for Integration Science is to accelerate the just redistribution of resources in the interest of global health equity by identifying integrated units of operational effectiveness in health care delivery and scaling their implementation through collective action.