July 28, 2020

Apply now: Program for faculty interested in global health research continues

A program to help faculty nurture their interest in global health research is set to enter its fourth year and welcome its next cohort of participants.

Applications for the 2020-21 session of the Global Health Research Certificate Program are now open, with the first meeting to take place in September. Administered by UMMS Global REACH, the program open to faculty and trainees from any U-M health science school interested in establishing or expanding their research activities in the international setting.

“I would definitely recommend it,” said Ana De Roo, MD, a general surgery resident who recently completed the program. “It was great to hear from a variety of speakers and learn how they incorporated global research into their careers. For some, it’s their entire career focus. For others, it’s a passion and represents one aspect of their interest. Hearing their perspectives helped  me think about how I want to design global health into my future career.”

De Roo, who is also a participant in the National Clinician Scholars Program, is one of 10 people who recently finished the program, a group that included faculty from several Medical School departments, as well from the schools of Public Health, and Social Work.

Rama Mwenesi in February at Landan Hospital in Nairobi, Kenya, where he is engaged in a project help strengthen the country's surgical care infrastructure.

Participants attend monthly seminars led by global health leaders across U-M, including Sr. Associate Dean for Education and Global Initiatives Joseph Kolars (on sustainable international collaborations); Professor of Epidemiology Sioban Harlow (global burden of disease); Assistant Professor of Anthropology Scott Stonington (global health ethics); and many more. Sessions have been conducted via webinar since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and will continue to be held online for the foreseeable future.

Each participant is also paired with a faculty mentor who can help them shape and advance their own global health project ideas. Rama Mwenesi, an Adjunct Clinical Instructor in the School of Nursing and Michigan Medicine’s PeriOperative Services Manager for Quality Assurance & Innovation, is engaged in a project to evaluate and ultimately improve the surgical infrastructure in his native Kenya.

“Having direct access to the faculty mentors and my fellow participants to talk through these complex topics was really special,” he said. “All of us are in global health to move the needle forward and make a difference, but the question is how. I came away with some clear strategies to actually pursue my goals.”

David Flood, Clinical Lecturer of Pediatrics and Internal Medicine, arrived at UMMS just a year ago, also as a National Clinician Scholar. Getting to know others at U-M with a shared interest in global health was invaluable, he said.

“U-M is so big that without convening mechanisms, you can feel like you’re just in your silo,” said Flood, MD. “For me, one of the richest aspects of the program was a mechanism to create community at UM. I have found that to be very valuable.”

The application period for the upcoming 2020-21 session is open through August 14, 2020. Monthly sessions will continue to take place online via webinar. Complete program details can be found at the Global REACH website.

“If the last six months have taught us anything, it’s that if we are to solve global problems, it will require a global effort,” Mwenesi said. “But global health as an academic pursuit can be difficult because there are so many barriers to entry. The core strength of this program is that it aims to reduce those barriers.”