Grants awarded to improve global health
Feb. 1, 2012
The inaugural Globalization Demonstration Project grants awarded through BCM's Center for Globalization support important health initiatives, including preventing cervical cancer in Malawi, integrating cell phones into HIV care in Africa, identifying genetic causes behind susceptibility to norovirus, expanding a pilot program called Helping Babies Breathe and using electronic records to facilitate health care reform in India.
"The grants were created to support faculty who have concepts for global projects and need initial funding," said Dr. Bobby Kapur, director of the Center for Globalization, assistant professor of medicine and pediatrics at BCM and associate chief of emergency medicine at Ben Taub General Hospital. "We also encouraged project leaders to collaborate with researchers in other BCM departments in hopes of furthering multi-disciplinary research and the BCM mission."
Members of the BCM junior faculty (instructors or assistant professors) were asked to submit project proposals, and only five out of more than 40 submissions were chosen for the one-year, $50,000 award.
A committee chose the awardees based on which projects would have the most innovative global reach and could be sustained through outside funding after the one-year grant was completed.
The awardees include:
Dr. Maame Aba Coleman, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology – One Woman Screened, One Life Saved: Towards Cervical Cancer Prevention in Malawi.
Coleman's project goal is to help decrease the incidence of cervical cancer in Malawi by educating the community, increasing access to screening and expanding the health service corps trained to perform the screenings by building on services available through the Baylor International Pediatric AIDS Initiative (BIPAI) in Malawi.
Dr. John Kelly, instructor of medicine – Using cell phone-based case management tools to enhance the impact of integrating community-based HIV care into primary care.
Kelly co-directs a community health worker program collaborating with the Ministry of Health and Wellbody Alliance in Koidu Town, Sierra Leone, which uses cell phone-based case management. His project goal is to investigate the community impact and how to optimize this form of communication for use in integrating HIV care into primary care.
Dr. Hoonmo Koo, assistant professor of medicine - infectious disease – Host genetic and immune determinants of norovirus infection in children in developing countries.
Koo's project will work to identify genetic determinants of susceptibility to norovirus in developing Latin American nations. This data will be used to improve vaccine development for the illness. The project will also focus on understanding what groups would benefit the most from vaccination and what areas would most benefit from future studies that are currently in development by BCM researchers.
Dr. Alina Saldarriaga, assistant professor of pediatrics - neonatology – Helping Babies Breathe (HBB) in Botswana, Malawi, and Swaziland - Basic Neonatal Resuscitation with Obstetrics, Neonatology, Retrovirology and Global Health, and BIPAI.
Saldarriaga's project will expand on Helping Babies Breathe, a pilot program currently in Lesotho through BIPAI, that is designed to teach neonatal resuscitation techniques in resource-limited settings. The planned expansion will include Botswana, Malawi and Swaziland. Those taking part in the program will also be involved in outreach education programs and help determine if Helping Babies Breathe should be incorporated into future health curricula.
Dr. Hardeep Singh, assistant professor of medicine – Using Electronic Health Records Safely and Effectively to Facilitate Health Care Reform in India.
Building on experience with electronic health records in the United States, Singh's project will work to improve the use of electronic health records in India by developing and evaluating a preliminary self-assessment guide to identify high-risk components of the clinical work system. Working with the Public Health Foundation in India, the project will also develop best practices in EHR safety, efficiency and usability.