Yale Institute for Global Health Announces Faculty Award Winners

The Yale Institute for Global Health announced the recipients of the 2018 Hecht Global Health Faculty Network Award on October 11.  A total of $100,000 was awarded to four groups of Yale faculty on a variety of issues, including cardiovascular disease and early childhood development in Latin America; and self-care of chronic conditions, and scale-up training for pediatric surgery in Uganda.

The Award was launched as the result of the generous support of Robert Hecht (YC’76), who has more than 30 years of experience in global health, nutrition and development in senior management positions with the World Bank, UNAIDS, the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative and Results for Development. He is a widely recognized policy analyst with a strong track record of advising top decision makers on issues related to immunization, HIV, health financing, health sector reform, and nutrition. Hecht is currently a clinical professor of epidemiology and lecturer at Yale School of Public Health and the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs, and President of Pharos Global Health Advisors.  “I am delighted to help support the work of such a talented group of people,” said Hecht at a meeting of all the award winners.  “I expect their work will lead to important results and create pathways to positive health changes among the populations in Africa and Latin American who are the focus of these research projects.”   

The Award was also made possible through matching support from the MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies. Two awards of $10,000 each were given to:

Latin American Indigenous Health Network

Claudia Valeggia, Professor of Anthropology, Spanish, and Portuguese and Nicola Hawley, Assistant Professor, Chronic Disease Epidemiology, YSPH, and Anthropology 

Award funding will be used to launch the Latin American Indigenous Health Network, a platform to support research, education, and service on the health of indigenous populations of Latin America and to connect scholars in health and social sciences at Yale and partners in Argentinian institutions and indigenous communities. The network activities will initially focus on working in northern Argentina, building on research with Qom populations by Dr. Valeggia, who specializes in human biology, and the complementary expertise of Dr. Hawley in indigenous public health, to address the dramatic increases in the prevalence of metabolic and cardiovascular diseases among the Qom of Argentina. 

Early Childhood in Colombia

I expect their work will lead to important results and create pathways to positive health changes among the populations in Africa and Latin American who are the focus of these research projects.

Robert Hecht

Angie Ponguta, Associate Research Scientist, Yale Child Study Center; Costas Meghir, Professor of Economics, SOM; Chin Reyes, Research Scientist, Zigler Policy Center, Yale Child Study Center

In partnership with the National Commission for Human Development in Pakistan, the Yale team developed the Youth Leaders for Early Childhood Assuring Children are Prepared for School (LEAPS) program, which trains female community youth leaders to deliver an early childhood development and education program in under-resourced communities. With Hecht Award funding, the goal is to assess the feasibility of implementing the LEAPS program in Colombia, where the government as prioritized early childhood education and youth development as strategic areas for social investment. The proposed study builds from past and ongoing efforts with multiagency and government support and holds great promise to impact youth and children globally.  

Two awards of $40,000 each were given to:

Scale-Up of Trauma and Pediatric Emergency Surgical Training in Uganda

Doruk Ozgediz, Assistant Professor of Surgery and of Pediatrics, Department of Surgery, YSM; Mari Armstrong-Hough, Associate Research Scientist, Epidemiology, YSPH; Maija Cheung, General Surgery Resident, Department of Surgery, YSM

Trauma is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide, disproportionately affecting the adolescent and young adult workforce. Estimates suggest that providing safe and timely surgical care, including prompt evaluation and triaging of trauma patients, can effectively prevent 34-48% of all injury deaths worldwide. The Yale team will use previously developed courses in conjunction with leading training institutions, professional societies, and the Ugandan Ministry of Health for scale-up of trauma and pediatric emergency surgical training at four sites in Uganda. This contextually-appropriate training course will improve the quality of emergency assessment, treatment and resuscitation, thus decreasing morbidity and mortality. Additionally, the open-source content with “train-the-trainer” program can be reproduced in other low- and middle-income countries.

Self-Care of Chronic Conditions in Uganda

Jeremy Schwartz, Assistant Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, YSM; Nicola Hawley, Assistant Professor, Chronic Disease Epidemiology, YSPH, and Anthropology; Tracy Rabin, Assistant Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, YSM; Christine Ngaruiya, Assistant Professor, Department of Emergency Medicine, YSM; Evelyn Hsieh, Assistant Professor, YSM and YSPH; Kasia Lipska, Assistant Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, YSM; David Berg, Clinical Professor, Department of Psychiatry, YSM; Mari Armstrong-Hough, Associate Research Scientist, Epidemiology, YSPH

The Yale Network for Global Non-Communicable Diseases (NGN) is comprised of faculty from the health professional schools who are engaged in programs and scholarship focused on non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in low resource settings.  NGN aims to apply its collective expertise towards a demonstration project that will serve as both preliminary data for future federal funding and a platform for career development and organizational growth. The team will develop a research partnership that leverages their collective expertise and matches the needs and capacities of its partners in Uganda. The goal of the partnership is to build a research program focused on self-care of chronic conditions, as a tool with which to decrease morbidity and mortality from NCDs in low-resource settings. Uganda was an ideal site for this project due to long-standing collaborations that are supported by deep-rooted Yale and Ugandan institutional commitment.

This article was submitted by Elisabeth Reitman on October 16, 2018.