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Strengthening Human Capital

Improving the health of the world requires a health workforce that is both skilled and patient-centered. We instruct fellow physicians throughout the world in major new advances in medical and surgical care. We work closely with partner physicians to ensure they are skilled in providing high-quality, sustainable care that addresses local health problems.

Please visit our EXPLORE database for a comprehensive view of the global service projects being conducted by faculty at the David Geffen School of Medicine and UCLA Health in collaboration with international partners.


The UCLA Global Surgery Initiative guides the next generation of surgical leaders to use their vision, talent, and commitment to transform the practice of world health and make a sustainable difference.


The UCLA Health International Services website provides information for patients traveling to UCLA from other countries to seek medical care, and assists them in accessing services.


The mission of RENEW is to donate medical equipment to developing countries, while reducing waste. It is a program of the students of the David Geffen School of Medicine and the nurses of the UCLA Ronald Reagan Medical Center.


  • 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.

    Our website provides additional information on the projects of our many global faculty and partners that we weren’t able to feature in this report.

    The UCLA Center for World Health would like to thank you all for your continued interest and support. Please sign up for our email newsletter if you would like to receive updates on our events, programs, and other activities.

    Photo: Uday Devaskar at Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital (DMH) with Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India, and Rajan Joshi, Director of the DMH NICU.

    Monday, July 3, 2017

    Uday P. Devaskar, MD, Chief of Neonatology at UCLA’s Department of Pediatrics, has dedicated his career to improving the health and well-being of neonates (babies in the first four weeks of life). Since 2001, Dr. Devaskar has been building a close collaboration with Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital (DMH), a charitable, 800-bed multispecialty hospital in Pune, India.

    Dr. Devaskar’s program with DMH has resulted in the institution becoming a center of excellence for high-tech newborn patient care, education, and research. DMH’s neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) has expanded from 16 to 45 beds, and the excellence of its care for newborns is now comparable to that of the NICU at UCLA. DMH also has emerged as a center of education and training for physicians and nurses in Pune and in surrounding areas in India.

    On December 8, 2016, Dr. Devaskar was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Neonatology Forum, the largest scientific body of professionals involved in managing newborn care in India. Dr. Devaskar was presented with this prestigious award as a way to recognize his major contributions to improving the health of newborns in India.

    In September 2016, a UCLA surgical team completed their annual obstetric fistula repair and training camp in Uganda. The nine-member team provided surgeries for women suffering from fistula, as well as offered training to local providers and medical trainees in the techniques of fistula repair. The team, led by Dr. Christopher Tarnay, Division Chief of Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery at UCLA, operates under the non-profit organization, Medicine for Humanity, or MFH. Through a partnership with Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST), UCLA team members are playing a critical role in improving access to high-quality maternal health care and gynecological surgery in Uganda.

    Obstetric fistula is a childbearing injury in which holes are formed between the mother’s birth canal and digestive tract, leaving the woman chronically incontinent. Fistula can occur as a result of obstructed labor, when a baby becomes trapped in the birth canal, necessitating an emergency Cesarean section. Because of limited access to health care facilities in remote areas, emergency C-sections are often unavailable, giving women no other option than to endure sometimes life-threatening labor. Prolonged obstructed labor can have severe consequences for both the mother and baby. The baby can die due to lack of oxygen and the mother can develop fistula, which often leads to chronic medical problems and social ostracism.

    For the past 7 years, Dr. Tarnay has regularly been taking surgical teams to Uganda for fistula repair “camps,” two-week long concentrated collaborations between MFH and MUST to provide and improve access to fistula care. Any woman who needs fistula repair is provided the surgery, as well as all transportation, housing, food, medical support, and postoperative rehabilitative services, free of charge.

    This year, the UCLA/MFH team performed 64 fistula surgeries and 20 Cesarean sections, while concurrently training local Ugandan residents in Urogynecology. By allocating a significant portion of time towards the training and education of local providers, MFH takes a sustainable approach to improving access to fistula care.

    Apart from capacity building and the provision of surgical care, the work of MFH is also deeply linked to a more holistic, emotional aspect of healing. “The team is able to do so much more than just repair the physical aspects of fistula,” said Dr. Tarnay. “This operation can be life changing. Being able to witness these women leave the hospital smiling and with hope perhaps for the first time in years brings tremendous gratification.”

    For more information on UCLA’s efforts with Medicine for Humanity, visit