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Poverty and humanitarian crises — Our impact

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A cross-disciplinary approach to eradicating malaria

December 17, 2014 –There is an arsenal of cost-effective tools available to combat malaria but getting people to adhere to treatment regimens can be challenging, said Jessica Cohen, assistant professor of global health, at a symposium focused on “The Last Mile to…

Simple preventive measures may help stem Ebola

December 5, 2014 – The rush to contain the Ebola outbreak in West Africa in the last few months has generated years’ worth of new information about the previously little understood infectious disease, including simple but effective prevention measures, according to Lindsey…

A wide-angle view of global health

Humanity has made huge achievements in health, but has a long way to go. That’s the message in an article by Harvard School of Public Health’s David Bloom in the December 2014 issue of Finance & Development (F&D)—the quarterly magazine of the…

Humanitarian response to Ebola outbreak slow, fragmented

November 20, 2014 -- The humanitarian response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa has been fraught with challenges, according to Michael VanRooyen, director of the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative and professor in the Department of Global Health and Population at Harvard School…

Improving civilian-military humanitarian response when disasters strike

When a large-scale disaster like the current Ebola crisis in West Africa or a major storm like Hurricane Katrina hits, coordination often is lacking between the U.S. military and civilian-run nongovernmental organizations and intergovernmental organizations. To address this issue, the U.S. Naval…

Unraveling mosquito mating secrets for malaria prevention

A study led by Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) and University of Perugia (Italy) researchers reveals intriguing new findings about mosquito mating behavior that one day could lead to new ways to control the spread of malaria by mosquitoes. “The new…

A storm leaves poor health in its path

November 14, 2014 — Mariana Arcaya is a Yerby Fellow at Harvard School of Public Health whose work focuses on the intersection of urban planning and public health. She was lead author of two recent papers that tracked the health of a…

For India’s children, poor sanitation affects growth

Malnutrition and stunted growth impacts both wealthy and poor children in India, Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) researcher SV Subramanian said at an international research conference held November 10-12, 2014 in New Delhi. The conference, entitled Stop Stunting, was sponsored by…

Text messages effective in treating malaria

Simple text message reminders to take medication can help malaria patients stick to their medication regimen, according to a new study by researchers at Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) and the non-profit Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA). The study was published…

Investing in health systems may stem Ebola outbreak

A broad humanitarian response that includes investments in health care staff, medical resources, and health systems is more likely to be effective in halting the current Ebola outbreak in West Africa and creating sustainable models for responding to future infectious disease outbreaks…

An equal exchange

[ Fall 2014 ] HSPH pairs with refugee public health students to create a healthier Burma The thatched bamboo huts sprawling up the side of a mountain near Thailand’s border with Burma could at first be mistaken for a tranquil rural village. Surrounded…

Ebola epidemic could lead to broader humanitarian crisis

The rush to halt the spread of Ebola in West Africa is not only about saving lives, it’s also about keeping the epidemic from growing into a broader humanitarian crisis, according to a Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) panel that included two Harvard…

Roma in Europe face prejudice, exclusion, hate crimes

The Roma in Europe are increasingly subject to racism, social exclusion, trafficking, and violence, in spite of efforts by European Union institutions to uphold Roma human rights, according to a new article by researchers at Harvard School of Public Health’s FXB Center…

Mental health of children affected by HIV

Children affected by HIV—those who live with HIV-positive caregivers or who are orphaned by AIDS—experience anxiety and depression at levels that are similar to children who actually have HIV, according to a new study led by Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH).…

HSPH, Burmese students team up to improve health at refugee camp

May 20, 2014 — The Umpiem Mai refugee camp in western Thailand was erected three decades ago to provide temporary housing for Burmese refugees fleeing the repressive rule of their country’s military government. Today, more than 13,000 people still live in this…

Leaders share universal health care experiences

A natural disaster or a significant shift in a nation’s political leanings are among the forces that can spur countries to adopt universal health care (UHC), according to a panel of experts convened by Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) to discuss…

Teaching survival skills in disaster-prone areas

Harvard School of Public Health Professor Jennifer Leaning joined a team from Chinese University’s center for disaster and medical humanitarian response to deliver rescue and relief bags to Chinese families living in rural areas vulnerable to natural disasters. The inexpensive bags include…

Syrian refugees in Lebanon struggle with social isolation

Syrian refugees in Lebanon are experiencing the same struggles as many other groups of refugees, but their particular circumstances make social isolation a problem as well, writes Susan Bartels, a fellow at the FXB Center for Health and Human Rights in an…

Economic growth no cure for child undernutrition

For immediate release: Wednesday, March 26, 2014 Boston, MA — A large study of child growth patterns in 36 developing countries finds that, contrary to widely held beliefs, economic growth has little to no effect on the nutritional status of the world’s…

Health care with dignity

[ Spring/Summer 2011 ] Alum Robert Taube helps homeless people build healthier lives—and self-esteem. Casey Hubbs’s world crumbled after her husband died, and she wound up living under a bridge in Boston. Her existence was grim, and she felt ashamed. “I smelled…

Bridging a cultural divide

[Winter 2010] Are better tools needed to identify emotional distress in non-Western refugees? More than 17,000 Iraqi refugees arrived in the United States in 2009, carrying the deep physical and emotional scars of war. Many are widows with young children. Some have…

Women, welfare & human rights

[ Spring/Summer 2010 ] HSPH student examines government policies and social forces that affect the sexual and reproductive health of women. Should poor women on welfare have additional babies while receiving cash assistance? In the wake of welfare reform in 1996, some U.S. policymakers…

Can doing good be done better?

[ Spring/Summer 2012 ] Better-trained aid workers, closer coordination among relief agencies, and a bigger dose of humility while working in unfamiliar cultures would help ensure that the billions of dollars spent each year on humanitarian assistance are not wasted. Harvard Public…

A humanitarian academy at HSPH

[ Fall 2011 ] Plans are underway to create a new Humanitarian Academy at Harvard School of Public Health, the first global center dedicated to training and teaching the next generation of humanitarian leaders. Approximately 240,000 humanitarian workers worldwide provide billions of dollars in…

A women and health agenda: It's time

[ Spring/Summer 2010 ] by Julio Frenk, Dean, Harvard School of Public Health In today’s global health agenda, women’s experiences—from birth to death and in all their diversity—deserve to occupy center stage. Why? Because at the most basic level, we are talking about sheer survival.…

Poverty, disasters & health against all odds

[Fall 2013 Centennial issue] The most powerful influences on population health are not the medical interventions that diagnose and treat disease. Rather, they are the broad social forces—war or peace, poverty or financial security, political oppression or fundamental human rights—that shape all…

Making sense of sexual violence in Central Africa

[ Spring 2009 ] Imani* was just 15 when soldiers from the rebel group Interahamwe seized her on the road. Amid a bewildering array of competing armies, local militias, and rebel factions, sexual brutality has reached unprecedented levels there, terrorizing Congolese women…

Bringing aid to the world's most dangerous places

[Fall 2013 Centennial issue] January 1992. The scene in Mogadishu was as close as it comes to hell on earth. As Somalia’s civil war gathered force, “the fighting was a combination of direct slaughter and indiscriminate firing of very heavy weapons on…

Changing the cycle of family abuse in India and South Asia

[ Spring/Summer 2010 ] Child Brides, Child Mothers, Child Victims It’s a tale of two siblings that plays out hundreds of thousands of times every year in rural India. While her older brother completes his education and is given the opportunity to…

Life after death: Helping former child soldiers become whole again

[ Fall 2011 ] Today, among the 87 war-torn countries in which data have been gathered, 300,000–500,000 children are involved with fighting forces as child soldiers. Some, as young as seven, commit unspeakable atrocities: killing parents and siblings, assaulting neighbors, torching the…

John Briscoe offers bold, unorthodox ideas for managing scarce water

[Fall 2009] What do people in developing nations understand about water that people in wealthy nations do not? "They understand the absence of it," says John Briscoe, newly appointed Professor of the Practice of Environmental Health at HSPH.  If it doesn't rain, women who haul…

Improve education to boost global economy

Despite progress made in educational systems in recent decades, over 100 million children are not enrolled in primary or lower-secondary school, and many of those who do attend lack basic reading and writing skills, according to the World Economic Forum (WEF). Meanwhile,…

Syrian refugee children in Lebanon extremely vulnerable

A new report released by Harvard’s FXB Center for Health and Human Rights on January 13, 2014 documents the dire conditions faced by Syrian refugee children in Lebanon. Released in conjunction with a United Nations-sponsored donor conference on Syria taking place in…

HSPH efforts in Africa helped lead to decade of success against AIDS

Government-funded program known as PEPFAR allowed School to scale up efforts February 11, 2013 -- The largest public health initiative in history dedicated to a single disease was announced unexpectedly during President George W. Bush’s State of the Union address in 2003:…

Harvard Humanitarian Initiative: Transforming humanitarian relief efforts

August 2013 -- Humanitarian crises include conflicts and natural disasters that threaten civilian populations. Meeting the essential needs of these populations requires understanding crisis, and the best methods and tools for preparing and responding to crisis. Director Michael VanRooyen describes HHI’s mission:…

Reclaiming childhood

Article in Harvard Magazine, November-December 2012 issue, featuring HSPH’s Theresa Betancourt

Why civilian war deaths matter

November 1, 2011 -- Experts estimate that hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians have died since 2003 as a consequence of the United States war in Iraq. But John Tirman thinks Americans haven’t paid enough attention. Still, he says, gathering accurate data…

Surgery an unmet need in global health

Public health professionals who work in the developing world have long focused on defeating infectious diseases, and recently have widened their focus to include chronic illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. But access to quality surgical care remains a large…

Technology boosts humanitarian efforts

August 24, 2011 -- Harvard Humanitarian Initiative Helps Aid Organizations Respond to War, Disasters Coping with humanitarian emergencies brought on by war, famine, or a natural disaster is rife with challenges. Aid workers can face armed militias, an earthquake-stricken landscape of blocked roads…

Making a difference while making a profit

June 6, 2013 -- Can for-profit health ventures be an effective way to improve the health of poor people around the globe? Teams of students at Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH), Harvard Business School (HBS) and Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) sought…

Painting the big picture on a Navajo reservation

November 1, 2012 -- Once upon a time, Anne Newland wanted to go to film school. But because life unfolds with its own logic, she instead became a doctor with the federal Indian Health Service (IHS). And shaped by her experience working…

Improved sanitation vital to safe drinking water

September 10, 2013 – To help ensure clean drinking water for future generations, it is important to understand the links between clean water and sanitation. Antiquated sanitation systems must be replaced in many parts of the world, particularly in developing nations. That…

Research team corroborates Darfur abuse allegations

After reviewing and analyzing medical records, researchers say they’ve corroborated allegations by Darfur civilians who say they were tortured, sexually assaulted, or otherwise abused by Sudanese government or Janjaweed forces in the Darfur region of Sudan. The research was published April 3,…

Vitamin A supplement programs improve child survival

Further research needed on more frequent supplementation and alternative dosing approaches, says HSPH’s Fawzi Vitamin A supplementation is an “important child survival initiative,” HSPH Prof. Wafaie Fawzi and doctoral candidate Andrew Thorne-Lyman wrote in the August 25, 2011 British Medical Journal. Their…

Ecosystem alteration linked to human health risks

November 25, 2013 — Across the globe, there are signs that human activity is causing changes to Earth’s natural systems that may result in risks to health—from Indonesia, where fires used to clear land have been linked to cardiopulmonary disease downwind in…

Maternal health advocates push for new global goals

March 5, 2013 -- Throughout history, more women have died in childbirth than men have died in battle, Mahmoud Fathalla, founder of the Safe Motherhood Initiative, told attendees at the recent Global Maternal Health Conference in Arusha, Tanzania, co-sponsored by Harvard School…

Women's height declining in many low-income countries

April 25, 2011 -- Over the last four decades the average height of women has declined in Africa, stalled in several South American countries, and varied considerably in other low- to middle-income countries, according to a new HSPH study. The declines or…

Crises responders seek to bridge gaps in emergency response

March 29, 2011 -- When the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded April 20, 2010, killing 11 workers, injuring dozens and spewing thousands of barrels of oil for days into the Gulf of Mexico, the disaster was more than a classroom discussion for some…

Innovative study documents changing health needs of African women

March 13, 2013 — Public health resources in Africa have long been devoted to infectious diseases such as AIDS and malaria and, for women, reproductive health services. But while these services are vital, the health needs of a growing population of African…

Health ministry teams gather in South Africa for regional workshop

November 27, 2012 -- In Rwanda, health officials would like to reduce childhood stunting. In Zambia, there’s an interest in improving the quality of service in provincial hospitals. Other African nations hope for further reductions in maternal and neonatal mortality. These were…

Global health: Flood illuminates the struggles of Pakistan's women

September 22, 2010 -- The scene that confronted Nabeel Zafar, MPH ’10, in southern Pakistan’s flood-ravaged Khairpur district was devastating. While visiting displaced persons camps on a medical aid mission, he and his fellow physicians found hundreds of homeless flood victims —…

Economic growth fails to remedy undernutrition in India's children

March 11, 2011 -- Growth in India’s economy since 1992 has not ended undernutrition among children in that country and may require the Indian government to directly invest in appropriate health interventions such as food aid, according to a new study by researchers…

Diets of low-income adults in federal food program SNAP need improvement

October 9, 2012 -- Researchers offer policy recommendations to better address dual challenges of food insecurity and obesity in low-income Americans More than 44.7 million Americans — roughly one in seven — receive benefits to purchase food from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program…

Stemming child exploitation

A new Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) program aims to help the millions of children around the world who are sexually exploited, serving as child soldiers, or toiling in virtual slavery. HSPH’s François-Xavier Bagnoud (FXB) Center for Health and Human Rights…

Role of stress in health disparities explored

Twenty-five experts from around the world gathered in Boston recently to discuss the impact of chronic stress stemming from low socioeconomic status and discrimination on health disparities and premature death. The conference was organized by Michelle Williams, Stephen B. Kay Family Professor…

Sharing passion for public health at Kenya hospital

Karima Ladhani, a SD ’16 candidate in the Department of Global Health and Population at Harvard School of Public Health, was among several Harvard graduate students featured September 10, 2013 in a Harvard Gazette article about their diverse summer work. Ladhani spent…

Tuberculosis experts address role of immune response

Tuberculosis (TB) remains a major infectious disease global threat, with 8.7 million new cases and 1.4 million deaths worldwide reported in 2011 alone. In the United States, an estimated 10 million to 15 million people are infected. With multidrug-resistant forms of TB…

Forced prostitution raises risk of HIV/AIDS infection

Women in India who are forced into prostitution or sex trafficking are almost three times more likely to be HIV-infected than those who joined the industry voluntarily, according to Kathleen Wirth, ScD ’11, research fellow in the Department of Epidemiology at Harvard…

HSPH alumni and faculty part of Boston Marathon tragedy response

Harvard School of Public Health-affiliated physicians were among the hospital emergency department staff called upon to care for victims of the explosions at the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013. Stephanie Kayden, MPH ’06, was the senior physician in charge of the…