New Initiative Centralizes International Health Efforts
By Kelly Blake
Photo courtesy of the School of Public Health
While the School of Public Health’s work touches lives around the world in countries as far-flung as Bangladesh, Peru and Tanzania, awareness of the school’s global health activities—and coordination across campus—has been limited. The new Global Health Initiative aims to change this.
The initiative, announced on July 16 and led by Research Professor Dina Borzekowski, will centralize, coordinate and raise awareness of the school’s international health efforts, serving as a hub for all things global health within SPH.
“The Global Health Initiative is setting the foundation to bring together research, service and education at SPH in terms of endeavors around the globe,” she says. “This is a way to bring people together who have common interests and are working in similar places.”
Borzekowski has a well-stamped passport, having conducted health communication research in more than two dozen countries. In the last year alone, she has been to India twice, Uganda, the Czech Republic and Sierra Leone. She’s worked with Sesame Workshop, MTV, and UNICEF to develop broadcasts that embed health messages into entertaining media. Borzekowski has also led student trips to some of the world’s most challenging hot spots, plagued by civil unrest and extreme poverty.
“Her compassion for the overall health of people is inspiring, as is the wisdom she has acquired from all her experiences abroad,” said community Health major Kelsie Challenger, who travelled to Sierra Leone with Borzekowski in June. “Under Dr. B.’s leadership, Maryland is going to be everywhere.”
In addition to coalescing efforts and promoting awareness of global health-related UMD activities, the initiative will create new courses and host lectures and other programming. Future plans include new degree programs and concentrations to meet the increasing interest in global health, and more opportunities for students to apply their knowledge in real-world settings.
“We’ve been doing incredible work in this area throughout our first 10 years, and now we need the structure to formalize and organize things and the leadership to take it to the next level,” says Dean Boris Lushniak.
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