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Global Health Program not the first

Yale Medicine Magazine, 2012 - Winter


I feel compelled to point out that although Michele Barry, M.D., HS ’77, and Frank J. Bia, M.D., M.P.H., FW ’79, were innovators in sending residents abroad, they were not the first to do so [“Yale’s global health program celebrates 30 years,” Yale Medicine Online Extra, July 2011].

I served as an intern and junior assistant resident on the Osler Medical Service at Johns Hopkins from 1966 to 1968. Each year, the Department of Medicine sent two residents to work on the cholera wards of the Infectious Diseases Hospital in Calcutta, and I was sent there in early 1968. This was a time when clinical investigators under the direction of Nate Pierce, M.D., were working on the formula for oral rehydration therapy (ORT). Within a short period of time, a formula was worked out and introduced in the field. ORT saved thousands of lives in the cholera epidemics that accompanied the Indo-Pakistan War of 1971, and it became the backbone of who’s global Diarrheal Diseases Control Program a few years later.

Needless to say, my experience in Calcutta, together with my two years with the Yale-China Association in Hong Kong in 1959-1961, changed my life. I imagine that Yale’s global health program has had similar effects on the residents who have been sent abroad over the past 30 years.

David S. Fedson, M.D. ’65
Sergy Haut, France