Christine A. Arenson, MD
Professor & Interim Chair
Department of Family & Community Medicine
2010-2011: Global Health
The WHO describes global health as population health in a global context addressing health problems that transcend national borders. It has been defined as 'the area of study, research and practice that places a priority on improving health and achieving equity in health for all people worldwide' (Koplan et al, Lancet 2009).
We have become more informed global citizens, learning about the world’s inter-connectedness and understanding the relevance of global health to local problems. We have physicians, patients and staff with families and health experiences in Europe, Africa, Asia, Central and South America. Most profoundly our experiences in the last 2 years providing care to recent refugees have challenged our skills, moved our hearts, and changed our perspectives on the world around us.
We are creating a Global learning Community in Philadelphia at Thomas Jefferson University and the Department of Family and Community Medicine is leading its development. We have global health expertise in our department with Drs. Plumb, Witt, and Altshuler recognized internationally for their work in global health. Our chair Richard Wender, MD is leading a new Global Health Task Force charged to explore strategic opportunities for Jefferson in the area of global health education, exchange, service, and research.
In the last decade our city is once again transformed into the Global Philadelphia it was at its inception with new waves of immigrants, refugees, visitors, and students adding to our traditional diverse populations. For the first time in the history of humankind urban populations have exceeded rural populations. We embrace the diversity and richness of caring for these populations and experiencing these cultures in our urban community. Working in this emerging Global Philadelphia affords us the opportunity to practice family medicine with a global health perspective.
To be an effective globally oriented family physician requires: Cultural humility, advocacy, and a broad based primary care skill set. To this end we will be introducing a longitudinal global health curriculum including:
- New support for our Center for Refugee Health
- New global health collaborations with Jefferson Pediatrics, Jefferson Medical College, Occupational and Physical Therapy, the school of Population Health; as well as new partnerships with CHOP and Drexel
- A new immigrant health site with JeffHOPE
- Expanded global health research and international health electives in Haiti, Honduras, Uganda, Rwanda, and Jamaica.
- Creation of a resident Global Health interest group
- Reflective practice experiences focused on service learning within the context of global health
- Conferences on global health including presentations by Nobel laureate Barry Marshall, antipoverty vaccine advocate Peter Hotez, and ‘09 residency graduate Jeff Panzer discussing his practice in rural Ethiopia
Global health is an area for study, research and practice that places a priority on improving health and achieving equity in health for all people worldwide. Global health emphasizes transnational health issues, determinants, and solutions; involves many disciplines within and beyond the health sciences and promotes interdisciplinary collaboration; and is a synthesis of population-based prevention with individual-level clinical care.
We will advocate for the elimination of health disparities by Thinking Globally and Acting Locally.
Patrick McManus, MD
Kaplan, J.P., Bond, T.C., Merson, M. H., et al. (2009). Towards a common definition of global health. Lancet, 373, 1993-1995.
Christine A. Arenson, MD
Director, Residency Program
Family & Community Medicine
1015 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 955-0640 fax