Public health students consider global problems

March 13, 2013 11:00 AM

Deidre Boling

Students at the Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine spent last week addressing “One World Problems” at the second annual Global Health Summit produced by the school’s student government association.

France Donnay

Dr. France Donnay, senior program adviser for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, chats with Dr. Richard Oberhelman, chair of  the Tulane Department of Global Community Health and Behavioral Sciences, at a reception following her keynote presentation. (Photo by Rick Olivier)

This year’s summit theme, #oneworldproblems, demonstrated the commonalities among health concerns around the globe, including topics such as maternal and child health, the foundations of community and the global burden of disease.

“It was great to see faculty, staff, prospective students and current students all together, not just enjoying the event but also taking away key lessons,” said Anoop Jain, president of the student government association.

The summit opened with a keynote speech by Dr. France Donnay, senior program adviser for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Donnay, who has an extensive background as both an obstetrician/gynecologist and a consultant for major global health organizations, provided an overview of the maternal health program at the Gates Foundation and offered hope for the future in this field.

“What is exciting is that there is a discussion about an end game for maternal mortality,” Donnay said. “We can predict that it would be possible to reduce the number of maternal deaths in sub-Saharan Africa and south Asia to a level that would be commensurate with the level reached by developing countries.” Donnay predicted that this key level — approximately 50 deaths per 100,000 — could be achieved by 2030 or 2035.

Local artist Candy Chang, a Tulane Urban Innovation Fellow, provided the closing keynote with an inspiring look at how she has combined her own disparate interests in ways that have given voice to thousands. Chang uses interactive public art as a way for community members to provide input on and in their public spaces. She encouraged public input about community on the Neighborland website.

Dee Boling is director of communications for the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000 website@tulane.edu