Scientific solutions to today’s health problems require innovation and collaboration. We partner with institutions around the world on interdisciplinary research to address the most pressing health issues facing the world today. We also want our science to translate into action so that it can make a difference. We conduct policy research and convene stakeholders to ensure the highest quality science and research translates into the best possible action on the ground.
Please visit our EXPLORE database for a comprehensive view of the global research being conducted by faculty at the David Geffen School of Medicine and UCLA Health in collaboration with international partners.
Photo: Faculty at the Soka Ikeda College of Arts and Sciences in Chennai, India graciously receive students from the International Alliance for the Prevention of AIDS.
Amrita Ayer is a second year student at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. This past summer, she completed a short-term training program (STTP) in global health research in Chennai, India.
What motivated you to pursue the global short-term training program (STTP)?
I came to DGSOM wanting to do global health work in the future, but not knowing what that entailed. The global STTP seemed like an incredible, natural way for me to learn from another health system, further develop research skills, and form a relationship with mentors both here and abroad.
Did you have global health experience prior to completing your research project?
I actually didn’t have any global health experience going in, which made me a bit nervous at first, as I wanted to be sure I could contribute effectively. On the other hand, this lack of experience also meant that I had no expectations of my STTP, meaning that I could participate in and enjoy it with an open mind. The strong mentorship I received, through the Center for World Health, my faculty mentor (Dr. Kiran Mitha), as well as the physicians and staff members at the partner site made me feel prepared and as though I was part of a community working toward a common goal.
What did your research project consist of?
While in Chennai, I worked with a local non-governmental organization (NGO) called the Internation Alliance for the Prevention of AIDS (IAPA). I did a qualitative research project to evaluate the success of a telephone triage pilot the NGO had developed in concert with UCLA last year. The research consisted of semi-structured interviews with the NGO’s staff, volunteers, and patients and allowed me to further develop my research skills. I am now preparing an abstract to submit to conferences and will continue to work with the NGO in whatever capacity they need.
What drew you to this particular site and topic?
I picked Chennai as my STTP site for both professional and personal reasons. Professionally, this STTP served as an incredible model of community health work and advocacy, which are important to me. Personally, I felt a strong connection to the location, as it is my father’s birthplace and so I care deeply about the community.
How did participating in a global STTP influence your career plans?
This global STTP reaffirmed my desire to work internationally in the future, as it showed me a sustainable, ethical partnership between a U.S.-based institution and an international organization. I think that global health and local health are really two sides of the same coin of advocacy and health justice and I would like to engage both fronts in my career.
What advice would you give to medical students interested in participating in a global STTP?
Practically, I would tell them to be organized—create a timeline where you can plan your project, meet with mentors, and submit your proposal to the IRB early, so that you are ready to go once you arrive in country. Perhaps a little paradoxically, though, I would also tell them to be very flexible, because the (global) STTP can have many moving parts and the best way to enjoy them is to be open to changes.
Amrita can be reached at AAyer@mednet.ucla.edu
It is our great pleasure to present to you the UCLA Center for World Health (CWH) 2016-2017 annual report
The UCLA Center for World Health
(CWH) was established in 2012 as a joint initiative of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and UCLA Health to produce leaders who will meet the changing health needs of our planet and optimize health care through community partnerships.
UCLA attracts extraordinary minds – both faculty and students – that strive towards a culture of innovation and are dedicated to strengthening human capital. We have exceptional intellectual capacity and a robust history of generating research that benefits millions worldwide.
We are committed to transform the practice of world health to close the gaps and make a sustainable difference by providing clinical experiences, innovative research opportunities as well as humanitarian training.
This report summarizes the highlights of our programs, and describes the expansion of our educational, research, capacity building and health systems strengthening projects that support our vision of a world in which all people achieve their right to high-quality, compassionate, and affordable health care. We develop major collaborations in global pediatric care that will have a lasting impact on the well-being of all children. We work with people around the world to develop the skills they need to solve problems where they live. We work with them to develop educational and health systems that make a difference. We train them to leverage the science and technology necessary to understand how best to improve health locally. We partner with them to educate their next generation of leaders, and we strive toward clinical excellence for everyone, everywhere.
We are also very proud to feature our Global Health Education Program and the accomplishments of some of the students and faculty of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.
provides additional information on the projects of our many global faculty and partners that we weren’t able to feature in this report.
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Photograph: Drs. Luis Javier Gonzalez and Manuel Raices present to UCLA faculty and students on Cuba’s pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry.
Monday, June 5, 2017
Despite the economic consequences of a decades-long U.S. embargo, Cuba has developed a robust pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry. Because the embargo limited Cuba’s ability to import pharmaceuticals and health technology, the country invested heavily in medical research as a necessity to address the health needs of their population. Today, Cuba boasts a sophisticated pharmaceutical sector that presents a largely untapped market for both commercial prospects and non-commercial medical research. Regulatory changes made under the Obama administration have relaxed economic sanctions against Cuba, creating the opportunity for increased collaboration between the U.S. and Cuba in the medical sphere.
In May 2017, the UCLA Center for World Health hosted Drs. Luis Javier Gonzalez and Manuel Raices from the Cuban Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (CIGB) to discuss Cuba’s increasing prevalence in the international biotechnology and pharmaceutical market.
CIGB is a part of the larger group BioCubaFarma, a biotechnological and pharmaceutical group comprised of over 30 enterprises, 64 manufacturing facilities, and over 20,000 employees. BioCubaFarma was established in 2012 and integrates Cuban companies dedicated to scientific development, research, production and marketing of biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, and medical equipment to supply to domestic and international markets. BioCubaFarma’s products are marketed in 49 countries and are in clinical trials in 18 countries.
Today, BioCubaFarma hopes to break into U.S. markets with a variety of medicines, including Heberprot-P, a promising treatment for foot ulcers in diabetic patients. The medicine, created by a team of researchers from CIGB (including Dr. Raices), has proven very effective, reducing the relative risk of diabetic foot ulcer (DFU) amputation in more than 71% of cases in pilot studies. So far, more than 250,000 DFU patients from 26 countries have been treated with Heberprot-P in Cuba.
While at UCLA, Drs. Gonzalez and Raices hosted a roundtable discussion highlighting Cuba’s contributions to the biotechnology and pharmaceutical sectors. Attended by faculty and students from the David Geffen School of Medicine, Fielding School of Public Health, and School of Nursing, Drs. Gonzalez and Raices stressed the importance of continuing the normalization of U.S.-Cuba relations. The doctors argued that because the U.S. and Cuba face similar disease burdens, such as the high prevalence of diabetes and lung cancer, a collaborative approach would be beneficial for both countries. For example, in the U.S., where 9.3% of the population has diabetes, Cuban-developed Heberprot-P could have a tremendous impact.
More information on BioCubaFarma
More information on the Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology