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Proposing a new paradigm as international health hits close to home

Yale Medicine Magazine, 2006 - Spring


Each October, students in medicine, nursing and public health present their findings from a summer of research abroad at the Committee on International Health Symposium Poster Session and Reception. But last year Hurricane Katrina cast a shadow as Curtis L. Patton, Ph.D., director of International Medical Studies and professor of epidemiology, suggested that health issues once thought to occur only in the developing world have emerged in this country.

“The United States is clearly part of the globe,” Patton said. “We have all thought of ourselves as separate and distinct and immune from disasters. We should seriously consider having students who want to do international health, do international health in the United States. Problems we have had this past fall suggest that there are opportunities to do in the United States the kind of work that is truly international.”

Three students made oral presentations at the symposium. Sayaka Ogata, a nursing student, described the integration of HIV/AIDS services with family planning in rural China. Public health student Vidya Angundi studied placental malaria in western Kenya. The placenta, she noted, is susceptible to the most severe form of malaria. Carolyn Graeber, a medical student, measured central corneal thickness, a gauge of intraocular pressure that is a factor for the development of glaucoma, in Puerto Rico.

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