Birth Defects in Iraq: The Consequences of War

Iraqi_Lecture_Event_10_27_2014_FinalGlobal WACh is proud to co-sponsor the next Washington Global Health Alliance Discovery Series highlighting the effects of war on Iraqi mothers and infants. Mozhgan Savabieasfahani, an environmental toxicologist from the University of Michigan will be giving a talk Friday, October 24th at 12:30pm entitled “Environmental Poisoning of Iraq: Why Academics Must Speak Out.” Dr. Muhsin Al-Sabbak who is an obstetrician at Basrah Maternity Hospital will speak on Monday, October 27th on “The Epidemic of Birth Defects in Iraq: Conversations with an Iraqi Doctor.”

Monday’s event is open to the public with a reception starting at 5:30pm. Dr. Al-Sabbak will speak at 6:00 at University Temple United Methodist Church (1415 NE 43rd St. Seattle). Please join us for this very important and enlightening event. For more information, you can email

Event Flier (large)

1,000 Days Joins Global WACh for Discussion of Malnutrition

logo_1000_daysWe were fortunate to have Adrianna Logalbo, director at 1,000 Days, recently join us at our Nutrition Think Tank. She led a powerful discussion on the importance of maternal and early child nutrition, both here at home and within the global community.

There are nearly 1 billion hungry people in the world. More than 2 billion people are undernourished, and more than 2 billion are obese. “If we can make that investment from the very beginning, it sets up a lifetime of better outcomes,” Logalbo said. 1,000 Days is working to improve this global public health challenge through social media, phone apps, television, and simply going out and meeting with people.

1,000 days and their many partners hope to help achieve a world where every woman and child is nourished, empowered, and able to reach their full potential.  Logalbo went on to say “Of course, there is a lifecycle happening here, so while we can say the 1,000 days starts at pregnancy it’s very true that the health and nutritional status of the adolescent girl, or the young women going into pregnancy, is critically important.”

You can read more about the impactful work Adrianna Logalbo and 1,000 Days are doing on their website here.

Interested in Global Health Law?

Calling all students! We have a fantastic Global Health Law course on our list of amazing courses. The course (Law H 515) is worth 3 credits and will examine the legal, economic, social, ethical, and political aspects of all things global health related. This is a great prelude to our Legal and Policy Solutions to Women, Adolescents and Children course, offered in the Spring

‘What is global health law? Why should rich countries such as the US care about and invest in the world’s least healthy people, particularly in difficult economic times? What are the challenges for the future of global health and global health governance? What would you (from the perspective of your home country) prioritize as pressing issues for global health?’

If you’re interested in learning more about this course you can contact the following individuals:

Jennifer Lenga-Long, JD
Phone: 206-713-2732

Teaching Assistant
Tanya Karwaki, JD, LLM
Phone: 206-616-0326

We also have a great, in-depth course description right here at this link.

Global Health Law – Law H 515 Fall

Our SCOPE Scholars in Action – Emily Robinson

ethiopia-fb-164One of the truly incredible things about our scholars is that they’re able to get out into the world to experience the joy of helping others while positively contributing to the field of Global Health. Emily Robinson (UW Doctorate of Nursing Practice student), and Kate Pfizenmaier (UW Master of Public Administration student) have been doing just that in Gondar, Ethiopia. They are our 2014 SCOPE fellows, and have been in Gondar for 3 months.

SCOPE (Strengthening Core Opportunities Through Partnership in Ethiopia) helps link medical and religious communities in order to better prevent HIV infection and deliver comprehensive care to those in need, particularly pregnant women and new mothers and babies. “One of the most important things I will take away from this experience is the importance of listening,” says Emily, “not just with my ears, but also with my heart. I have so much to learn from those I have been privileged enough to partner with here in Ethiopia. Inspiring people with inspirational stories will follow me home and will undoubtedly inform the way I practice as a healthcare provider in the future.”

Emily’s experience with SCOPE has inspired a fantastic personal blog called ‘Spilling Emily’ where she shares her experiences and those inspirational stories of the women and children for whom she has come to care a great deal.

You can learn more about our SCOPE program, and the work that we do here.

Global WACh & Coulter Foundation 2014 Pilot Award

We are pleased to announce that the Global WACh/W.H. Coulter Foundation Seed Grant for 2014 has just been awarded to Drs. James Lai, Barry Lutz, and David Horne for their excellent proposal focused on point-of-care tuberculosis testing. The doctors were first approached with the idea by two students attending  Global WACh’s  course on Bioengineering Solutions to Improve the Health of Women, Adolescents and Children (WINTER | GH590). Nuttada Panpradist (Bio Engineering) and Diana Marangu (Global Health) were very excited, and had this to say about their involvement:

We are delighted to be the part of the team that has received the 2014 Coulter Seed Grant Award. Who could imagine that this all started from participating in the Bioengineering-Global WACh Seminar? We both have been very passionate about tackling the diagnostic dilemma in tuberculosis and were fortunately paired together to develop a solution to one of the many challenges in Global Health. Our mentors were very supportive and drove us to think critically about this challenge when we shared our idea with them. This experience has been a wonderful learning opportunity, from the process of grant writing and now seeing this idea being potentially translated into reality. The world needs a low-cost, accurate diagnostic tool for active TB that uses a non-invasive sample like urine. Hopefully, this technology can be truly implemented at all levels of healthcare and benefit patients with TB who need it the most.

Tuberculosis affects 9 million people with 1.7 million dying every year. Because most TB testing requires 6-8 weeks and a culture of sputum, it’s been difficult to implement methods of detection in limited resource settings. Many of the methods currently in use are not widely available, and delays in diagnosis can mean easier transmission of the disease.  Being able to diagnose the disease using efficient, same day methods that use urine samples instead of sputum would be a great step in the right direction. That’s what Drs. Lai, Lutz, and Horne hope to do, so please join us in congratulating these great researchers and students who are helping to improve the health of women, children, and adolescents everywhere!

Dr. Tahmeed Ahmed Speaks at Global WACh on Acute Malnutrition

icddrbLast week, over 25 students and faculty gathered to hear UW Affiliate Professor Dr. Tahmeed Ahmed speak on the subject of acute malnutrition in children, from basics to delivery. Dr. Ahmed is the head of the Nutrition and Food Security program at International Centre for Diarrheal Disease Research, Bangladesh. Under his leadership over the last 25 years, there has been a 50 percent reduction in the fatalities of children admitted with severe acute malnutrition to the icddr,b facilities in Dhaka. Global WACh has recently established a partnership with icddr,b to research new ways to prevent stunted growth in children. You can learn more about Dr. Ahmed and the great team at icddr,b here.

Dr. Tahmeed Ahmed

Mobile WACh Engages Women in Their Own Maternal Care

UngerGlobal WACh Associate Director Dr. Jennifer Unger gave a great talk last week about the implementation of mobile phones in the care of pregnant women in Mathare, Kenya. Three hundred women are currently participating in the study, which aims to use SMS text messaging as a means to keep the expectant mothers informed and involved in the health of themselves and their babies.

Text messages from a nurse at the clinic offer tips and general information, as well as answers for any health questions the participants may have. The messaging system also provides appointment reminders and a way to check in to see how they’re feeling. Perhaps most importantly according to the women in the study, the messages offer encouragement and support while allowing them to feel cared for and empowered.

Many countries have some version of mHealth in place, and Dr. Unger stressed the importance of working together and also making the messages culturally appropriate and tailored to each individual community. This particular study is completely free for the participants.

The findings in Mathare, Kenya will lay the foundation for a larger Global WACh study on using mHealth to enhance the prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV. The results of the Mobile WACh study should be available in the spring, and we’re certainly looking forward to sharing them.