For Release: November 23, 2005
Contact: Mednews Office 603-653-1997

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Dartmouth Pairs with University in Tanzania to Launch Global Health Initiative

HANOVER, NH - Dartmouth and Muhimbili University College of Health Sciences (MUCHS) in Tanzania today formally launched a joint Global Health Initiative (GHI) with the signing of a memorandum of understanding. A multifaceted program, the GHI's various objectives include the creation of an extended global health program in Tanzania, engaging campus and community members in a discussion of global health issues, and a curricular component which will include developing new courses in global health for undergraduates.

Stephen Spielberg (second from left) and Kenneth Yalowitz (second from right) sign a Memorandum of Understanding confirming the College's participation in the Global Health Initiative. They are joined, from left to right by Ford von Reyn, Barry Scherr, and Joseph Helble, Dean Thayer School of Engineering. (Photo by Joseph Mehling '69)

The initiative is being led at Dartmouth by the John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding as well as by Dr. Stephen Spielberg and various faculty members from Dartmouth Medical School (DMS). The faculty of Arts & Sciences, the Tuck School, and the Thayer School are all also actively involved with this effort.

"I see the Global Health Initiative as a model for the future," said Ambassador Kenneth Yalowitz, the Norman E. McCullough Jr. Director of the Dickey Center. "So many 21st century problems are interdisciplinary in nature. By bringing all of Dartmouth's strengths to bear on this project, I believe we are establishing a model of broad-based cooperation that can and will be successfully replicated."

The GHI is a multidisciplinary program that builds on the College's ongoing DARDAR (Dartmouth Medical School/University of Dar es Salaam) project. Conducted by Dr. Ford von Reyn, DMS Head of Infectious Diseases with Dr. Kisali Palangyo, Principal of MUCHS, the initiatives comprising DARDAR include a clinic for children with HIV/AIDS, a trial of a vaccine for tuberculosis associated with HIV/AIDS, and a five-year Fogarty Foundation training grant for researchers in Tanzania.

The strong relationship already established with MUCHS was a leading factor in selecting Tanzania as the site for GHI projects. In addition to strong institutional contacts and stable political environment, DMS Dean Stephen Spielberg said, "Tanzania also offers our students and faculty an opportunity to learn in a setting that is a microcosm for the challenges currently faced in global health. There are many diseases there including AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria that take a high human toll. By working with this population we hope to work across disciplines to create novel, innovative approaches to addressing critical international health needs."

Tuck and Thayer students, for example, are working to determine the feasibility of establishing a pharmaceutical industry there that will serve Tanzania and East Africa.

"The GHI emphasizes Dartmouth's strengths in internationalism and public service, as well as our expertise in dealing with issues related to community health," said Provost Barry Scherr. "The institution-wide involvement in this program, including the participation of undergraduate and graduate students, a wide range of faculty members, and the unique expertise of the Dickey Center, makes this a particularly compelling opportunity. Our leadership in this endeavor not only supports the academic mission of the college, it engages us in an effort that will have lasting benefit to society."

According to Yalowitz, the GHI will also continue to raise awareness of global health issues at Dartmouth through public events, including a speakers series and a recent symposium on global bioethics cosponsored by the Dickey Center, The Ethics Institute and Dean of Faculty. "The Dickey Center has also sponsored a new undergraduate group called the Dartmouth Coalition for Global Health," he says. "Through this dynamic, new group we are supporting students as they learn about and respond to the issues and challenges of global health."

The GHI will also have an impact on Dartmouth's curriculum. The GHI Faculty Steering Committee is developing new courses for undergraduates that deal with global health. "There is also a desire to have an African language taught on campus," said Yalowitz. "We are working with the University in Dar es Salaam to have an instructor come here and provide Kiswahili language instruction." Additional curricular exchanges are being explored in fields including environmental sciences/ecology, geography/land management, history, social policy, and government.


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