UCSF To Launch Global Health Sciences Program; Graduates Will Combat Diseases in Resource-Poor Nations
The University of California-San Francisco on Friday is scheduled to launch its Global Health Sciences program, which will train health care workers from the United States and other countries to fight diseases in resource-poor nations, the San Francisco Chronicle reports (Russell, San Francisco Chronicle, 2/11). According to an analysis by the Joint Learning Initiative -- a consortium of more than 100 health care leaders -- published in the Nov. 27, 2004, issue of the journal Lancet, approximately four million health care workers are needed worldwide in order to effectively fight diseases such as malaria, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis in developing nations. The most heavily affected countries are in sub-Saharan Africa, where one million health care workers are needed, according to the analysis (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 11/29/04). The UCSF program, which currently is partnering with medical schools in Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda, initially will invite a small number of medical students from developing countries to attend classes. In order to prevent "brain drain," the courses will be structured as a "sandwich program," in which students begin their training in their home countries, travel to the United States to attend courses at UCSF and then return home to finish their degrees. Dr. Haile Debas, a former UCSF chancellor and medical school dean and the initiator of the program, said, "It's impossible to prevent brain drain, but we think that if individuals get their degrees in their home universities, rather than at UCSF, the likelihood of their staying is larger." The program will focus on emerging diseases, such as HIV/AIDS, SARS and avian influenza, as well as traditionally Western diseases, including diabetes, obesity and heart disease. "The number one cause of death in developing countries is not AIDS or malaria," Debas said, adding, "It's cardiovascular disease." The Global Health Sciences program will work with the UCSF AIDS Research Institute and Institute for Global Health, among other UCSF programs, according to the Chronicle (Russell, San Francisco Chronicle, 2/11).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.