Global Vision initiative taking off
When new director of our Global Vision Initiative, Danny Haddad, attended his first faculty meeting in September, he presented some preliminary thoughts about the program
He first explained that “global” can mean more than just an international presence, can include the component of public health, as expressed by Jeffrey Koplan, head of Emory’s Global Health Institute and former CDC director.
Global can refer to scope, not merely location; it may be both domestic and international. Haddad noted that WHO now has an action plan, focusing on access to eye care for all. Haddad plans to collaborate with Emory’s Anthropology department, learning from their African outreach, where anthropologists helped us understand the barriers to eye care.
He further mentioned the local organizations we can link with: the CDC, Lions Lighthouse Foundation, and Prevent Blindness Georgia, among others.
Haddad also stated that we will strengthen our eye health course at the Rollins School of Public Health (RSPH) – ultimately bringing in students from the United States as well as other countries. We plan to work with some NGOs in the U.S. (ORBIS, e.g.). ORBIS staff participated in a London eye course at the International Center for Eye Health. Having a strong course here is preferable, however, and makes it accessible to many more.
Internationally, there are opportunities with trachoma, he says. What can we do on the public health side with RSPH, with the Emory Center for Global Safe Water, the Global Health Institute, and even the Business School will be important. In October, Haddad spoke to SOM Global Health Residency Scholars Program about Vision 2020 (WHO), the global initiative that aims to eliminate avoidable blindness (such as trachoma) by the year 2020—and its importance to the people of Ethiopia. With the SOM, we are exploring an opportunity for ophthalmology residents to join this program and do a one-month rotation abroad at Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia.
We have a great opportunity to build a model with our upcoming return to Madagascar, Haddad said. Our team approach will help ascertain needs, train doctors there and maximize our efforts. We need to assess the needs there, and we may, in the future, include an anesthesiologist, a low vision professional and a scrub nurse. We can suggest linkages with Emory Global Health in outreach programs in Ethiopia for our Residents.
Oculoplastics specialist Brent Hayek, glaucoma specialist Annette Giangiacomo and pediatric ophthalmologist Phoebe Lenhart (’05 M; res. ’05-08; pediatric fellow ’09) traveled to Madagascar for two weeks in October. This year’s trip was expanded to include pediatric ophthalmology (Lenhart) and glaucoma (Giangiacomo) in addition to oculoplastics services, which were provided in last year’s outreach.
“We came away with a better insight to further assist and expand our training of local ophthalmologists with planned projects involving retina and teaching phacoemulsification.”
"The three of us came together early last year and decided to focus on Madagascar as a continued outreach project through our department’s Global Vision Initiative,” explains Hayek. “This year was highly successful in bringing the services of pediatrics, glaucoma and oculoplastics to various local clinics and hospitals. As invited speakers at the annual national Malagasy eye meeting, we were able to create new partnerships to further expand this global vision.”
The group also participated in World Sight Day 2013 and the annual national ophthalmology meeting where they were all invited speakers.
Pediatric cataract surgery in Africa
Pediatric ophthalmologist Phoebe Lenhart (’05 M; res. ’05-08; pediatric fellow ’09) traveled to Kitwe, Zambia, in 2012 to meet doctors Asiwome Seneadza and Chilesh Mboni and to learn more about the Child Eye Health Tertiary Facility there. Lenhart was the principal investigator for an Emory Global Health Initiative Multidisciplinary Scholars Team that involved four Emory students: Dan Lin (Rollins School of Public Health); pre-med/sociology major Young-Min Kim and neuroscience/journalism student Trusha Daya (Emory College); and fourth-year medical student Centrael "Sonny" Evans, who completed the project as part of his Discovery Phase (Emory School of Medicine).
Each student was awarded $3,000 to spend six weeks in either Malawi or Zambia conducting, "A Cost Analysis of Pediatric Cataract Surgery at Three Child Eye Health Tertiary Facilities in Africa." The results of this important study will aid governments, hospitals, and charitable organizations in allocating resources for pediatric cataract surgery.
"The project was a good opportunity for team members from a variety of backgrounds to learn more about the current status of eye care in Zambia and Malawi," says Lenhart. "We expect that the information about the actual cost of pediatric cataract surgery provided as a result of the project will be useful to funding organizations."