Projects

Russia: Comprehensive Community-Based Public Health Prevention Project in Pskov, Russia.  The goals of the Comprehensive Community-Based Public Health Prevention Project in Pskov, Russia are: (1) to improve reproductive health outcomes, by reducing high rates of abortion and STIs, by increasing use of protective contraceptive methods; and (2) to increase life expectancy and improve quality of life, by reducing high rates of diabetes and stroke, by implementing community-based health promotion activities focusing on improving dietary and physical activities and reducing smoking and alcohol consumption, in Pskov, Russia.

China: Reducing exposure to antibiotics and synthetic hormones in the food supply by use of Traditional Chinese Medicines in animal husbandry.  The goal of this project is to identify botanicals used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) that can replace or reduce the overuse of antibiotics and synthetic hormones as feed supplements in animal husbandry.  The results of this research are intended to address growing concerns about antibiotic resistance in livestock, and to benefit human health by reducing the presence of antibiotics and hormones in the global food supply and replacing them with potentially more beneficial botanical products.  This research also seeks to demonstrate the economic viability of protecting small farms from development and to promote the protection of bio-diverse environments.  Another research objective is to advance the science of standardization of TCM preparations through the use of powdering technologies.  The research is being conducted in collaboration with Tsinghua University in Beijing and Shandong Agricultural University in Tai’an, China.

Iran: Collaborations in Health Promotion in Tabriz, Iran.  The goal of this project is to foster collaborative ties between health researchers in Iran and the US.  The project has four components.  The first component focuses on developing and evaluating community-based approaches to outpatient diabetes management.  The second project focuses on abating arsenic contamination in local water supplies.  The third project addresses issues in women’s health, focusing in particular on community-based approaches to improving quality of life for women going through menopause.  The fourth component provides trainings in global health leadership and conflict resolution to staff at the National Public Health Management Center.  This research is being conducted in collaboration with Tabriz University of Medical Sciences (TUMS).

South Africa: South African AIDS Vaccine Initiative (SAAVI): Research on Community Readiness and the Role of Community Advisory Boards.  The goals of this research are: to assess the extent to which community members are adequately prepared to make informed decisions about whether they want to participate in new experimental HIV vaccine prevention trials; and to examine the role of Community Advisory in insuring that adequate protection are in place.  Since the conduct of the controversial HIV-perinatal transmission trials in the early 1990s, debates have raged about the ethics of international health studies.  In response to these controversies, a number of bioethicists have recently issued calls to mandate community involvement in decision-making about the conduct of health research.  One major concern raised by these analyses is whether Research Ethics Committee (REC) reviews and individual informed consent provide sufficient ethical safeguards in all contexts.  To advance the development of sound context-appropriate ethical standards, the purpose of this research is to develop a principled justification for the ethical assessment of international health research protocols by community representatives and to make practical recommendations regarding a feasible process for achieving community oversight.  This research is being conducted in collaboration with the Medical Research Council in South Africa.

Afghanistan: In collaboration with the UMass Center for International Education, the UMass Institute for Global Health is participating in a $5.4 million project funded by US AID to improve the quality of medical education and establish the first School of Public Health in Afghanistan.  The Higher Education Project – Medical Education (HEP-ME) was initiated in July 2009.   Project partners include the Institute for Global Health; the University of Nebraska Medical Center; Indiana University; the Academy for Educational Development; and the UMass Center for International Education.  The HEP-ME project has six major components: (1) creating a new MPH degree program; (2) revising existing public health courses in the undergraduate medical education program; (3) improving clinical rotations for medical students; (4) building capacity in English as a Second Language; (5) building capacity in informational technologies, and (6) institutional development.