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UCSD's Division of Global Health is comprised of a multidisciplinary team of faculty that combines clinical and research approaches to global health. The focus of the division is on non-communicable diseases and related health issues. The clinical approach is on primary care and prevention which is complemented by research on epidemiology, health behavior, health policy, and other related global health disciplines. Noncommunicable diseases include cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, respiratory diseases, mental health and injury. Training and education in the clinical and research settings for undergraduate, medical and graduate students, and medical residents is a core goal of the division.
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With so many academic institutions now developing global health units and areas of focus or even adding new curricula and degrees on the topic, the field is likely to grow further. Each group is attempting to be part of this movement and positioning itself to tackle an area from the wide range of issues related to global health. UCSD's Division of Global Health is in a unique position to integrate clinical practice with research at the global level. Being part of one of the larger and better recognized departments of family and preventive medicine nationwide, we have several other divisions in the department in addition to clinical family medicine, preventive medicine, epidemiology, biostatistics, and health policy. The Division of Global Health combines the expertise of all the other divisions that are related to global health into one division. Our multidisciplinary division has faculty with training backgrounds in health psychology, health care services, epidemiology, biostatistics, and medical anthropology. We are fortunate to have such a unique mix of talented and well- respected faculty. A few of our faculty are also multicultural and grew up in countries as diverse as China, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Congo. This helps provide a rich environment in which to build our division.
Already chronic diseases are responsible for more deaths worldwide than infectious diseases. The impact on the global population is gradual and maybe less noticed than HIV, malaria or other infectious diseases. Reversing the trend of chronic diseases takes time and is less rewarding in the short term. Our faculty focus on lifestyle issues (tobacco, diet, and alcohol use) as predictors of chronic diseases, as well as outcomes of cancer, respiratory, cardiovascular, diabetes and mental health research and primary care prevention. Our primary care physicians are dedicated to primary and secondary prevention as the first line of defense to attempt to change the trend of chronic diseases. Our researchers are focused on the etiology of chronic diseases and interventions to prevent them at the population level.
The interaction between research and clinical practice will serve as the platform to develop the two areas as well as offer training and education to students and clinical residents. Our division initiated the idea of concentration in global health for medical students for the first time at UCSD's School of Medicine which now being developed to be part of the curriculum as a separate track and preparing future physicians to deal with a broad range of global health issues. Our department, in tandem with San Diego State University, hosts the Joint Doctoral Program in Public Health with a track in global health to prepare Ph.D. scholars in that area. Our division also initiated the first Global Seminar courses in public health and epidemiology in the University of California system for undergraduates. These Global Seminars are for five weeks in the summer in Amman, Jordan to help train interested premedical undergraduates in global health training and research in refugee clinic settings and has had overwhelming interest and demand from students from all University of California campuses. Our research will continue to evolve and as visitors to our division’s web site will notice the wide variety of current research projects and the numerous foreign sites our faculty are involved with.
Locally, we have an interest in the environment and border health and health of refugees given our geographical location near the US-Mexico border and the faculty’s involvement with refugee communities. San Diego is a destination for many refugees from Africa and the Middle East. Mental health is also another area of interest for several of our faculty. I invite you to further explore our Web site.
— Wael Al-Delaimy, M.D., Ph.D..