New UM Center for Global Health
In one of her first acts as provost of the University of Michigan, Teresa Sullivan endorsed the creation of a campus-wide Center for Global Health, to be developed by the School of Public Health. Sullivan spoke to Findings about the center and what she hopes it will achieve.
Q: Why is global health a priority for the university?
In the last few years, there has been a significant increase in the public attention to and philanthropic support for work on global health. This is a critical coming together of concern and resources that makes effective action possible. As a public institution, we have a responsibility to seize such opportunities and make a contribution to public well-being.
What do you see as the most pressing global health issues today?
One of the major challenges in world health is balancing the need to meet the basic needs of vulnerable communities while pursuing promising research. Addressing issues such as access to clean water, effective sanitation, and improved nutrition is critical to improving health. We also need to pursue research in areas as diverse as heat-stable vaccines and treatment of chronic infections like tuberculosis.
What strengths does the University of Michigan bring to the field of global health?
The university has strong programs in critical disciplines—public health, medicine, nursing, dentistry, LSA, natural resources and environment, law, social work, and public policy. Our unique contribution is the cross-disciplinary work our faculty does, bringing different disciplinary perspectives together to develop innovative ideas and applications. For example, we have doctors from the medical school faculty teaching courses in public policy. This kind of boundary-crossing creates opportunities to address global health concerns in a holistic way.
What do you hope the Center for Global Health will accomplish?
From research on new vaccines to the development of community education programs, faculty and students from many of our schools and colleges are engaged with a wide range of health concerns around the world. The Center for Global Health will provide a central point for all of this activity. It will serve as the first point of contact for outside organizations and health professionals seeking information and advice. It will also be a campus meeting point, organizing seminars and other activities that will bring several disciplinary perspectives together to address global health concerns. I think the center will be a terrific resource for students—the next generation of health professionals—as they work to integrate new ideas and practices in global health.
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"Addressing such issues as access to clean water, effective sanitation, and improved nutrition is critical to improving health."
--UM Provost Teresa Sullivan