Across the Foundation’s priority areas, our grantees are working to improve the health of the public through innovative research and programs. The Foundation awards up to 40 grants on a rotating schedule each year.
Interdisciplinary Global Public Health Program
This grant supports the creation of an interdisciplinary master’s program to prepare graduates for leadership in global public health. The premise that global public health is not, itself, a single discipline but, rather, a goal that demands the collaboration of many disciplines underlies this project.
Those disciplines include the health professions, law, business, and journalism, as well as the basic, social and behavioral sciences. Since collaboration among professionals in these fields is often difficult to attain, an important aim of this program is to prepare health professionals who recognize that a multidisciplinary approach is essential to their success, whether in research, education or practice.
Dr. Jo Ivey Boufford, Professor of Public Service, Health Policy and Management, and former Dean, of the Robert F. Wagner School and Dr. Karen Day, professor and Chair of Medical Parasitology and Director of the Institute of Urban and Global Health at the New York University Medical School have completed the initial preparation for this project. Based on their work, NYU has created a multidisciplinary master’s program, the first university degree offered by NYU.
The two-year degree program is designed for individuals with a professional degree who seek advanced work specializing in global health. Five of NYU’s professional schools—the college of dentistry with its college of nursing, the schools of social work, medicine, and education and the Wagner School of Public Service—collaborated to develop the program.
After two years of planning, core faculty have been selected, the curriculum developed and core concentrations identified, including epidemiology, global health policy and management, health promotion and disease prevention in migratory populations, and global oral health. Concentrations in women’s and children’s health and in mental health are to be added.
The first class is being admitted in September, 2006, with fieldwork to begin the following fall. This grant will fund several key features during the second year.
One will be to identify field sites where the first group of second year students will work as an interdisciplinary team on a year-long project to be identified by a client organization. Those sites may be either in the
developing world or alternatively in an organization working on global health based in the United States. Potential clients include UN agencies, national or local government, civil society organizations or business organizations with an identified social purpose.
During this second, and final year, students will work with the client to define the scope of activity, perform the project including whatever field work is required, and then present a final report to the client. Though most of the work will be done in New York, students will spend two to three weeks in the field.
A major objective of this new program is to produce graduates with first-hand knowledge of the challenges posed by global public health in the field, who also have learned the value of working, as a team, with individuals with different professional backgrounds—not to produce graduates who simply talk and write about theories of global public health.
Examples of the types of projects teams might undertake include operational reviews of critical health sector programs in a country; analysis of datasets from an international organization, such as WHO, UNICEF or the World Bank, to assess the impact of development assistance on a given health measure, for example maternal mortality; or development of a model to work on health issues for immigrant populations in New York City and their countries of origin.
Bi-weekly seminars will be conducted throughout the two-year program, featuring both NYU faculty and global experts. These will be used to generate an interdisciplinary “textbook” on global health that explores issues, such as language and different approaches to work, from the perspectives of multiple disciplines.
The project also seeks to enhance the visibility and importance of global health, both in New York City and beyond, through such strategies as expanding the on-going series of “Conversations in Global Public Health,” which has already proven an effective forum for global public health issues.