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Dr. Janet Turan
Dr. Craig Wilson
Dr. Nalini Sathiakumar
Dr. Sten Vermund
Dr. Charles Stephenson
Dr. Jose Alvarez
Dr. Juan Navia


History of the Sparkman Center

  • Inception

    Since its inception in 1979 recognizing the late Senator John J. Sparkman's global understanding about the linkage between health and human development, and the important role that the United States could play in collaborating with less developed countries, the Sparkman Center has successfully collaborated with institutions abroad in implementing graduate-level educational and training programs in public health. We have collaborated with, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia in Peru, Chiang Mai University in Thailand, University of West Indies in Jamaica, Universidad del Valle in Colombia and the International Centre for Diarrheal Disease Research, Bangladesh (ICDDRB) to implement public health training programs. In addition, the Center collaborated with the WHO and PAHO and sponsored numerous short-term training programs in these and various other developing countries during its early history. Since that early history, programs supported by the Sparkman Center focused on nutrition and then moved to the health work force needs relating to the HIV epidemic.

    In 2003, in the context of many developments and evolving perspectives and challenges in the areas of international development and global health, the vision and mission of the Sparkman Center were changed with the approval of the UA Board of Trustees to those included on this webpage. The name was also changed to the UAB John J. Sparkman Center for Global Health.
  • 1980s

    1983: The Sparkman Center Newsletter,a quarterly publication with a circulation of more than 500, is started.

    1985: Co-sponsored an international conference on health education in Mexico City, Mexico with the International Union of Health Education, and other international organizations.

    1987: A conference on "The Application of Social Sciences in Health Programs" that involved faculty from UV, UPCH, and UAB as well as external experts was held health in Lima, Peru.

    1988: Began publication of the Sparkman Center Series in International Health, a series of monographs related to Center activities. The first issue, "Aplicaciones de las ciencias sociales en programas de salud," (Applications of the Social Sciences to Health Programs) contained the proceedings of the Center-sponsored conference of the same name that was held in Lima, Peru in collaboration with UV and UPCH.
  • 1990s

    1990: The Sparkman Center in conjunction with the UAB-SOPH joins the Asia-Pacific Academic Consortium for Public Health (APACPH).

    1990: Mahidol University Faculty of Public Health in Bangkok, Thailand- Activities included support for a new MPH track in dental public health in the already established MPH program and the development of an international dental public health MPH program at MU-FPH.

    1992: Universidad del Valle in Cali, Colombia- Development and enhancement of programs in social sciences, biostatistics, and occupational health. The Center continued to work closely with UV through 1992 to assure the establishment of the Masters level public health program and the later addition of the occupational health.

    1993: Beijing Medical University, People's Republic of China- Collaborative program in dental public health which led to the development of a Masters in Dental Public Health.

    1994: International Centre for Diarrhoeal Diseases Research, Bangladesh

    1996: Instituto Investigacion Nutricional, Lima, Peru

    1998: AIDS International Training and Research Program (AITRP)
  • 2000s

    2000: A field course in Jamaica, Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Surveillance, and Control, is initiated in collaboration with faculty at the UWI Mona campus.

    2001: UAB-South Asia International Training and Research in Environmental and Occupational Health (ITREOH), a Fogarty International Center sponsored program with Manipal University (India), University of Kelaniya (Sri Lanka) and Aga Khan University (Pakistan) is awarded.

    2001: The Seminar Series in Global Health is established to provide a forum for UAB faculty, staff, and students to present and discuss their research, training, educational, and/or service efforts on public health issues of global significance.

    2001: An annual Global Health Symposium was initiated i to provide an in-depth discussion forum on current public health issues of local, national, and global relevance. Prominent local, regional and national speakers and panelists are invited to participate in the forum with past topics such as Global Capacity Building in Public Health, Preparedness for Emerging Infections and Biodefense and Implementing HIV Care and Treatment Programs for the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

    2003: First collaborative conference between SIFAT and Sparkman, “The State of the World’s and Alabama’s Mothers 2003”.

    2007: After being named Director, Dr. Craig Wilson, established collaborative activities with the University of Zambia School of Medicine (UNZA SOM) which at the time was the only SOM in Zambia and had the only degree programs for Nursing, Pharmacy, Physiotherapy and Biomedical Sciences.

    2007: The Sparkman Center formalizes partnership with UAB School of Nursing WHO/PAHO Collaborating Center for International Nursing.

    2008: Zambia HIV Nurse Practitioner Program: Developed in collaboration with the Zambia Ministry of Health and national nursing leadership with initial funding from the Sparkman Center.

    2009: eGranary Digital Library Project: The Sparkman Center initially developed custom portals of information resources for students and practitioners in health-related disciplines in Zambia but have since expanded the scope of the project to include resources for teachers and students.

    2009: Supported the establishment of new MPH degree programs at the following universities. Manipal University in Manipal, India Aga Khan University in Karachi, Pakistan University of Kelaniya in Kelaniya (Colombo), Sri Lanka University of the West Indies in St. Augustine, Trinidad & Tobago
  • 2010s

    2010: After receiving a USAID supported planning grant in 2009, Dr. Wilson assisted the UNZA SOM in successfully competing for a Medical Education Partnership Initiative (MEPI) program with the University of Zambia (UNZA), Copperbelt University, Lusaka Apex Medical University and Cavendish University. The MEPI program in Zambia seeks to strengthen infrastructure and increase the number of health care workers trained by expanding innovative multidisciplinary medical education.

    2010: UAB served as one of 16 exchange sites in the U.S.. for the Global Health Professional Fellows Program through a grant from the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S.. Department of State.

    2011: Zambian Educational Partnership for Advanced Care and Training (ZEPACT)- Consortium with UNZA SOM, Vanderbilt University and University of Maryland for capacity building in a number of health care workforce sectors.

    2012: UAB joined the Medical Education Partnership Initiative (MEPI) in Ethiopia as an institutional partner to advise and support in the implementation of an eLearning initiative to improve medical education in Ethiopia