Your first visit to Africa is a full-on assault on the senses," says Tim Lahey, Assistant Professor of Medicine and Microbiology & Microbiology. "The colors, the foreign voices and city noises, and the smell of smoke and food and pollution can really blow you away."
A deeply poor country, Tanzania has only about 800 doctors for a population of over 35 million, and life expectancy has decreased from about 55 in the mid-1990s to 43, mostly due to HIV.
Dr. Lahey regularly travels to Tanzania as part of the multifaceted DarDar Consortium founded by C. Fordham von Reyn, Professor of Medicine. Von Reyn's program is credited with the discovery of the first vaccine proven to protect adults with HIV from tuberculosis, the identification of a new "subclinical" syndrome of tuberculosis, and the inception of a new NIH-funded study of nutrition in HIV-infected women. Finally, in collaboration with Professor of Pediatrics Paul Palumbo, the program has founded a PEPFAR-funded pediatric HIV clinic that serves several hundred children in downtown Dar es Salaam. In addition, Dartmouth's Geisel School investigators have founded an NIH-funded program to train Tanzanian physicians in public health and basic sciences so they can return to Tanzania as leaders in their fields.
A regular corps of Dartmouth undergraduates and medical students also visits Dar es Salaam to work
"How can we effect change half a world away?"
in the pediatric HIV clinic, visit the wards of Dartmouth's sibling institution Muhimbili University of Health and the Allied Sciences, to participate in research studies, and do humanitarian outreach work.
Geisel School student Daniel Kaser went to Tanzania at the end of his first year, and created a documentary about the vaccine study. "At times it was really tough, hearing some of the stories and seeing infections and illnesses that are really preventable," says Kaser. "My work in Tanzania really opened up my eyes to the type of medicine that is practiced and needs to be practiced around the world."
"After you catch your breath," Dr. Lahey says, "you develop a real
appreciation for the vibrant culture and spirit of collaboration of the Tanzanian people." Geisel School investigators partner closely with physicians and investigators at the Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences to conduct research studies, train Tanzanian physicians to become the leaders in their country, and provide clinical outreach.
In 2005, Dartmouth launched a partnership with Muhimbili University College of Health Sciences through the Dartmouth Global Health Initiative, which brings together the Geisel School of Medicine, the Thayer School of Engineering, Tuck Business School, and the Dickey Center for International Understanding.
In 2005, Geisel and Muhimbili University College of Health Sciences in Tanzania officially launched a multifaceted Global Health Initiative to create an extended program in Tanzania and to address global health issues