News & Announcements

School of Public Health Welcomes Partners from Mexico's National Institute of Public Health

From October 25th to 27th, the School of Public Health hosted Dr. Tonatiuh Barrientos-Gutierrez, the Director of Reproductive Health at the National Institute of Public Health (INSP) in Mexico, and INSP Research Associates Rodrigo Zepeda-Tello and Dalia Camacho-Garcia Formenti.

As an epidemiologist with the National Institute of Public Health, Barrientos-Gutierrez saw interventions aimed at changing individual health behaviors having little effect, so he looked for another solution: structural interventions. "How do you set the systems so healthier decisions are easier?" he asks. "We're going to have to start changing the rules of the game." Mathematical modeling is a method that researchers and policy-makers can use to understand the effects of a law on health behaviors. It is still a fledgling field in Mexico, so Barrientos-Gutierrez turned to Rafael Meza, Assistant Professor of Epidemiology, who is trained as an applied mathematician, to help adapt US diabetes mathematical models to Mexico. The model they developed was used by policy-makers to inform their tax on sugar-sweetened beverages. As new data becomes available, they are looking to expand and refine their model and to explore new avenues of collaboration, including the development of models to inform contraception and marijuana legalization policies.

"Modeling is a way to synthesize information to help policy-makers make decisions," says Meza, and as mathematical modeling becomes a sought-after tool to help inform new policy, there is a critical need to help create capacity among public health practitioners and researchers in Mexico. Meza has been working closely with Barrientos-Gutierrez to offer training in mathematical modeling to graduate students, PhD students, and to students taking summer session classes at INSP. Some students have come from as far away as Cuba and Colombia.

Although INSP is the central public health institution in Mexico, its influence reaches throughout Latin America. INSP is a critical partner to the School of Public Health, and by working together, Meza believes that they can address the challenge of building public health capacity in Mexico and throughout Latin America.

Expanding Cancer Research in Ethiopia

ADDIS ABABA — Inside Bereket Woldeab's office at Ethiopia's Public Health Institute in Addis Ababa, two things stand out in an otherwise bare room. One is the impressive microscope on top of the desk. The other is the plethora of black hardcover files stacked everywhere.

These black files contain more than 14,000 handwritten notes and pathology reports regarding the health status of cancer patients—their tumors, diagnoses, treatments, progress and other details. Now, thanks to a project with the University of Michigan School of Public Health, these hand-written files are finding a place in a streamlined online database that can be used for research, look for patterns and assist public health officials with better information that is used in the management of cancer and ultimately, cures.

Two students from SPH spent the summer in Ethiopia's capital transferring this massive pool of information into an international format that is provided and supported by the university.

The project grew out of a chance meeting between Woldeab and cancer researcher Laura Rozek, associate professor of public health and director of U-M's Global Cancer initiative. Rozek was in Addis Ababa with her two students when she ran into Woldeab on the street outside the institute. Her students' internship had just fallen through.

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Three Michigan Public Health researchers receive Fulbright awards

Two University of Michigan School of Public Health faculty and one post-doctoral researcher have received Fulbright U.S. Scholar Awards that will take them overseas to do research during the 2017-2018 academic year.

Kyle Grazier, Richard Carl Jelinek Professor of Health Management and Policy and professor of Psychiatry; Sioban Harlow, professor of Epidemiology and Obstetrics and Gynecology; and Abram Wagner, a post-doctoral research fellow in the Department of Epidemiology, are among about 800 U.S. citizens who will teach, conduct research, and/or provide expertise abroad this year through the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program. Recipients of Fulbright awards are selected on the basis of academic and professional achievement as well as record of service and demonstrated leadership in their respective fields.

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School of Public Health and West China School of Medicine Establish Joint Center

This summer, the University of Michigan School of Public Health and West China Hospital/West China School of Medicine at Sichuan University established the Joint Center for Big Data and Health Analytics.

"The Joint Center allows us to formalize our existing relationship with West China Hospital and Medical School to facilitate joint research, faculty training and education in a way that promotes and elevates public health and biomedical research at both universities. The big data and analytical tools shared by the two institutes will facilitate researchers' investigation in a variety of emerging fields, including precision medicine, health outcome research and surveillance of infectious disease," said Yi Li, professor of Biostatistics and Global Public Health at the School of Public Health, who is the appointed U-M director for the partnership.

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Professors of Global Public Health at the School of Public Health

The University of Michigan Board of Regents has approved the first cohort of Professors of Global Public Health at the School of Public Health effective January 1, 2017. This represents a new professorial designation and is open to tenured faculty with a primary academic appointment in the SPH who have demonstrated substantial experience in and sustained contributions to global public health research, training, education and practice. Appointments are for a three-year term and are subject to re-review and renewal.

The new Global Public Health Professorship will lend heightened importance and institutional support to faculty working in global public health at U-M SPH for the purposes of demonstrating the school's ongoing commitment to global health, rewarding faculty achievement, and enhancing the visibility of global public health work at the U-M SPH.

Please join us in congratulating the new Professors of Global Public Health at the School of Public Health:

The second nomination and application cycle for Professors of Global Public Health are due by June 1, 2017.

Appointment as a Global Public Health Faculty Associate is open to tenured and non-tenured faculty, research faculty, research scientists, research investigators, and clinical faculty who are actively involved in global public health research, practice, service, teaching, training or capacity building activities. SPH faculty interested in applying should review this document, which outlines the nomination, application and approval process.

For additional questions, please contact Amy Sarigiannis in the UM-SPH Office of Global Public Health.

Changes on Travel Restrictions and Warnings

Due to increased number of countries under U.S. State Department Travel Warning and Restrictions, there may be some countries to which UM Faculty, Staff, and students cannot be authorized to travel for official purposes. UM policy is that proposals to travel to ANY country listed as restricted for travel by the U.S. State Department must be approved by the International Travel Oversight Committee (ITOC) by submission of a safety plan at least three weeks prior to scheduled travel.

Because of increased political and environmental instability around the world, there may be some countries for which Political Evacuation and Natural Disaster coverage is not available, and so travel may be prohibited. ITOC must contact our insurance providers in each case to determine if coverage is available for the country requested before approval can be granted.

The Travel Restriction and Warning list is ever changing, so please check the list regularly to see if the country you hope to travel to is on the list, and plan accordingly. This may mean being prepared to pursue an alternate internship at the last minute. Unfortunately, global health funding awards cannot be used for domestic internships.

Michigan named North American hub for RITMOS

UM SPH has just been named the North American Hub for the organization RITMOS - Red Iberoamericana de las Tecnologías Móviles en Salud - International Network of Mobile Health for Iberoamerica (Spain and Latin America). This organization will be leading the way for inter-university collaboration, knowledge transfer, capacity building, and funding for mobile healthcare development. Our Center for Managing Chronic Disease in HBHE will be the primary point of contact. For more about RITMOS, see the website (in Spanish)

Faculty Activities Survey Results!

Thank you to the many SPH faculty who responded to our global activities survey last winter. We were surprised to find that we have 79 faculty from all 6 departments working in 70 different countries around the world! You can read about these and other survey results compiled in the Global Public Health Faculty Survey Assessment. The findings of this survey will be used to guide our future office activities and help us identify faculty with complementary research interests as we look to expand the school's global health portfolio.


The Vision for Health Systems Strengthening (HSS) 2015-2019 is a key document that will help guide USAID's work and investment focus to evidence-based HSS approaches that contribute to positive health outcomes and help create an environment for universal health coverage. It will also help the Agency meet its goals of ending preventable child and maternal deaths, creating an AIDS-free generation, and protecting communities from infectious diseases, including achieving the goals of the Global Health Security Agenda.

USAID's Vision for HSS is to partner with countries to provide sustained, equitable access to essential, high-quality health services that are responsive to people's needs without financial hardship, thereby protecting poor and underserved people from illness, death, and extreme poverty.

USAID's Vision focuses the Agency's HSS work to achieve four strategic outcomes:

  • Financial Protection
  • Essential Services
  • Population Coverage
  • Responsiveness

USAID's primary HSS technical focus areas mirror the six internationally accepted core health functions: human resources for health; health finance; health governance; health information; medical products, vaccines, and technology; and service delivery.​ See the full publication.

Faculty Spotlight: Cliff Douglas

Cliff Douglas is an adjunct professor in HMP and the Vice President for Tobacco Control and Director of the ACS Center for Tobacco Control at the American Cancer Society. He has served as an advocate, lawyer, and policy advisor for twenty seven years in the field of domestic and international tobacco control.

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Professor Cliff Douglas