Pediatric Global Health Initiative

Global health places a priority on improving health and achieving health equity for all people worldwide.

The numbers supporting the need for Pediatric Global Health are heartbreaking:

  • 90% of the world’s children live in low and middle-income countries (LMIC) where barriers to health contribute to significant child morbidity and mortality
  • In 2018, an estimated 6.2 million children and adolescents under the age of 15 years died, mostly from preventable causes
  • More than half of these early child deaths are preventable or can be treated with simple, affordable interventions including immunization, adequate nutrition, safe water and food and appropriate care by a trained health provider when needed

Increasing awareness of these facts, coupled with an emerging shared global identity has resulted in surging interest in global health experiences amongst medical trainees, especially pediatricians.

To support this growing interest, the Herman & Walter Samuelson Children’s Hospital at Sinai is formalizing and expanding its response through its Pediatric Global Health Initiative (PGHI). The PGHI supports global health education of pediatric residents and faculty through various initiatives:

  1. A formal Global Health Curriculum for residents which provides Global Health education for all residents including lectures, case studies and Journal Clubs. We also present yearly relevant Pediatric Grand Rounds topics.
  2. Short-term exchanges between the Herman & Walter Samuelson Children’s Hospital at Sinai and the Dana Children’s Hospital at Tel Aviv, Sourasky Medical Center (TASMC), which we are hoping to arrange virtually form now, given the current pandemic.
  3. Partnership with The Aslan Project (Aslan) which includes remote training via lectures and case presentations and provides short-term specialty training in Pediatric Hematology and Oncology in Ethiopia and Kenya.
  4. Short-term clinical experiences in Haiti with an organization, Sante Total, that provides medical care to a rural area in Haiti.
  5. Raising patient safety awareness and promoting patient safety education through partnership with the Accra College of Medicine in Ghana.
  6. Various short-term trips to other regions of the world including Honduras, where a collaborative trip with Kennedy Krieger staff provides a multidisciplinary clinic for children with developmental needs.

These experiences give providers from the Samuelson Children’s Hospital the opportunity to experience a healthcare setting in a foreign country with a different model of care and to collaborate on best practices and research. Residents and physicians who have participated in such programs attest to being amazed at what is done differently as well as how much they have in common. The exposure to injuries, illnesses and diseases that are not seen as frequently in their home country provides education that has been shown to benefit their hospital and patients upon return.

A note about The Aslan Project

Most childhood cancers are curable at a low cost. In high-resource countries, more than 80% of children with cancer survive. Elsewhere, the reverse is true: most children with cancer die, often in great pain. Aslan and the Herman & Walter Samuelson Children’s Hospital at Sinai are committed to fixing this disparity.

Since 2012, Aslan has spearheaded the development of a comprehensive pediatric cancer health system in Ethiopia, a country that faces a projected 6,000 to 8,000 new cases of childhood cancer annually. Its co-founder is Dr. Aziza T. Shad, the Ellen W.P. Wasserman Chair of Pediatrics at the Samuelson Children’s Hospital at Sinai.

The American Academy of Pediatrics and Global Health

The American Academy of Pediatrics “strives to promote and lead efforts to help children throughout the world attain optimal physical, mental and social health and well-being through high-quality education and training, effective partnerships and collaborations, and staunch advocacy for the world’s children.” Pediatricians should therefore engage in global health activities domestically and collaboratively across international borders to improve the health of children throughout the world.

Pediatricians in the United States are increasingly engaged in global health locally and in LMICs. The wide spectrum of involvement includes short-term and long-term global health commitments and clinical care, teaching and training, mentoring, collaborative research, health policy, and advocacy.

Barbara with Boy
children using water system
Hand Washing Station
Barbara examining patient
Group collaborating helping babies breath
Parvathi with baby
Resident caring for young child
Dr. Shad with children patients