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UCLA panel discusses global health evolution over next two decades

The panel discussed the concept of global health convergence within 20 years and the simultaneous shift in emphasis from infectious to chronic diseases such as diabetes and cancer
The panel discussed the concept of global health convergence within 20 years and the simultaneous shift in emphasis from infectious to chronic diseases such as diabetes and cancer
Robin Wulffson, MD

UCLA Health System delivers stat-of-the-art healthcare to Angelenos as well as the rest of the nation. In addition, the facility has a strong interest in global health. On April 15, the UCLA Center for World Health held an inaugural panel discussion entitled Global Health 2035: The World Converging within a Generation. The panel comprised: Ambassador Eric Goosby, MD, Former United States Global AIDS Coordinator & PEPFAR Director, 2009-2013; Richard Horton, the editor of the Lancet; Global Health 2035 report author Dean Jamison; Victoria Fan from the Center for Global Development in Washington DC; and Jon Cohen, writer for Science and other magazines.

In response to the British medical journal The Lancet's recent publication of the Global Health 2035 report, the UCLA center convened this panel to celebrate their formal inauguration and to discuss the changing panorama of world health in the next 20 years. Global Health 2035 took a look back at the last 20 years since the 1994 World Development report prompted major investment in global health by people like Bill Gates; in addition, it looked forward to the possibility of a global health convergence within a generation. The panel discussed the concept of global health convergence within 20 years and the simultaneous shift in emphasis from infectious to chronic diseases such as diabetes and cancer. The Center for World Health is focused on international medical cooperation to support advancements in medical care. It explored impending transformations in global health challenges as world economic scenarios improve. As poor nations transition to being middle income countries over the next generation, their health profile will undergo radical changes; thus, they will require demanding shifts in world health perspectives and global investments, as well as education and training.

The UCLA Center for World Health Global health education programs:

To improve world health by nurturing a new generation of leaders, it provides clinical, research, and humanitarian training for medical students, residents, fellows, and faculty at UCLA and across the globe, enabling them to engage health challenges worldwide. The programs include opportunities for fourth-year medical students, as well as residents in internal medicine, pediatrics, ophthalmology, and surgery, to participate in patient care in China, Ghana, India, Peru, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, and Thailand. It also hosts medical students, residents, and faculty from institutions around the world who come to UCLA to learn and to perfect their skills.

The center collaborates with institutions around the world for innovative interdisciplinary research to address the most pressing health issues facing today’s world, including infectious diseases such as HIV, as well as the growing epidemics of diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. In partnership with the UCLA AIDS Institute and Center for AIDS Research, it provides pilot grants to launch cutting-edge HIV research projects in countries heavily affected by the epidemic. In addition, it is initiating programs to address virally induced cancers and noncommunicable diseases in lowand middle-income nations, and it collaborates with institutions in Europe and Asia on medical research of global significance.

To develop a health workforce that is skilled and patient-centered, the center works closely with partner physicians to ensure they are skilled in providing high-quality, up-to-date, and sustainable care that addresses local health problems. Its projects include a collaboration with clinics in Central America to improve the surgical outcomes of children with neurological disease, and to build the capacity of local surgeons and healthcare providers to provide world-class care to these children. It also receives USAID funding to strengthen health systems and improve clinical skills in southern Africa.

To share global health solutions, the center develops platforms focused on connecting people. By linking students, faculty, patients, and advocacy groups, it helps to form global networks committed to improving world health. It recently provided webcasts of cutting-edge surgical techniques from Los Angeles to locations around the world. It also is developing web-based classroom platforms in Latin America focused on capacity-building via UCLA’s world-class education programs.

The center conducts policy research and convene stakeholders to ensure that the highest-quality science and research translates into the best possible action on the ground. We aim to build cross-political collaborations to transform ideas into action by gathering together community leaders and policy makers, while engaging global citizens both within and outside academia. Examples include China, Malawi, and Mozambique, where it is actively involved in advancing guidelines and policies for improving preventive and clinical care in the fields of pediatrics and infectious diseases.

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