Peter J Hotez MD PhD1
1Professor of Pediatrics and Molecular Virology, Texas Children’s Hospital Endowed Chair of Tropical Pediatrics, Director of the Sabin Vaccine Institute and Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development, and Dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas
A decade ago, the Duke Global Health Institute was launched as an overarching organization to channel global health activities across the University and to bridge Duke’s campus with additional university faculties in Durham, North Carolina, as well as those in Singapore, Africa, Brazil, and elsewhere. Under the visionary leadership of Dr. Michael Merson, by almost every measure the Duke Global Health Institute has been a resounding success, helping to elevate Duke University to its current stature as one of the very important institutions working to address health disparities in the world’s low- and middle-income countries.
Since its beginning, the Duke Global Health Institute has emphasized undergraduate education and the need to introduce university undergraduates of diverse backgrounds to the complexities of international development and health. By fostering this environment, the Duke undergraduates have now responded by establishing a global health journal wholly independent of the Institute itself: the new student-run Duke Student Global Health Review, which will emphasize essays, global health projects, and other writings.
The timing of this year’s launch is perfect, given that 2016 marks the start of the new United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). A hallmark of the SDGs is to reaffirm the importance of health in its links to international development, but also to emphasize how these goals go beyond traditional health norms, including diverse elements such as the environment, water, climate change, urbanization human migrations, and conflict. The SDGs highlight how global health is intertwined with these various Anthropocene forces, so that solving complex global problems will require the full commitment – by students especially – of a large and comprehensive university, such as Duke. In this way, the Duke Student Global Health Review can serve as important clearinghouse for students to tackle health disparities in the context of sustainable development.
The Duke Student Global Health Review will emphasize HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, the now 18 neglected tropical diseases (with the latest inclusion of mycetoma), important vaccine preventable diseases of childhood, and key non-communicable diseases, such as cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and chronic pulmonary diseases. It will address the scourges of unipolar depression and other global mental health disparities. But in the spirit of the SDGs this new journal will also provide an opportunity to comprehensively evaluate health disparities in multiple dimensions, and of course with the recent recruitment of Dr. Gavin Yamey to Duke the Review can serve as an important sounding board for global convergence in the coming decades. I congratulate the students who founded this new important Duke Student Global Health Review as well as the faculty and leadership of the Duke University Global Health Institute for keeping these issues front and center on the University agenda!