April 07, 2023

World Health Day 2023: A message from Alan Tita, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Mary Heersink Institute for Global Health

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UAB globeWorld Health Day commemorates the World Health Organization’s April 7, 1948, founding and is celebrated to raise global health awareness. This year’s theme is “Health for All,” emphasizing the past, present, and future of global communities coming together to provide health equity and access. Through the establishment of the Mary Heersink Institute for Global Health (MHIGH), UAB’s engagement in global health, including collaborative partnerships, continues to grow as interest in global health work is consistently increasing. 

Last year, the Heersink School of Medicine communications team sat down with the institute’s director and associate dean for Global and Women’s Health, Alan T. N. Tita, M.D., Ph.D., to discuss his team’s vision of UAB’s global health efforts.

The team followed up with Dr. Tita this year to catch up on the institute’s progress and vision for 2023.

Q: How is the Mary Heersink Institute for Global Health making an impact in 2023?  

As a new institute, we are strengthening existing partnerships and forging new ones as we expand opportunities for faculty, staff, and trainees to engage in global health. As we reengage with partners post-COVID, we look forward to hosting a fall symposium focusing on equity in global health partnerships and practice.

In conjunction with the Sparkman Center for Global Health and global partners, we plan to launch an M.Sc. in Global Health this fall. We are also working to expand clinical fellowships in global health. In February, Matt Heimann, M.D., joined the team as the associate director for Educational Programs, tasked with advancing the educational mission of the institute.

We recently announced our second round of pilot grants awarded to UAB investigators and their partners to boost global health collaborations and applications for extramural funding. We continue to host a variety of educational opportunities, including seminars every other month and monthly Research in Progress work sessions that are open to our partners.

We are also organizing and providing more structure to global health efforts within the HSOM. Working with department chairs, we are identifying global health leads to be appointed as liaisons or department representatives on the MHIGH Steering Committee. These committee members are shaping the institute’s vision from a unified approach to global health. 

To learn more, visit https://www.uab.edu/medicine/globalhealth/.