Education

Houston Global Health Collaborative hosts fourth annual EMPOWER Conference


By Shanley Chien | February 15, 2016

The Houston Global Health Collaborative hosted Friday its fourth annual EMPOWER Conference at Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business.

Approximately 170 students and health care professionals attended the two-day event to discuss and learn from global health leaders about health issues that affect vulnerable communities around the world and potential innovative solutions.

“Our goal is to connect individuals and institutions within the Texas Medical Center, as well as beyond, to address the global health issues of our time through education, research and service,” said Catherine Chen, fourth-year medical student at the John P. and Kathrine G. McGovern Medical School and this year’s HBHC conference chair. “The conference is our way of giving a venue for which these things can happen. People have the opportunity to be in the same place to talk and hear about what other people within the Texas Medical Center are doing.

“It would not have been possible to hold this conference this year or any other year if we hadn’t had such a great group of students involved. They’ve done an amazing and terrific job,” she added.

Guests were invited to attend lecturettes and participate in small group problem-solving activities around eight various topics, including “Emergency Medicine and Essential Surgical Care,” “Innovations and Global Health Technologies,” “Maternal and Child Health,” “Infectious Diseases” and “Psychosocial Issues,” as well as discussions around local opportunities.

“Houston is very rich in our global health community,” said keynote speaker Sharmila Anandasabapathy, M.D., professor of gastroenterology at Baylor College of Medicine and director of the Baylor Global Innovation Center and Baylor Global Initiatives. “There are so many great groups here, and there are so many projects going on in the area — from pediatric to global health to tropical diseases to global engineering and technology development — that I think getting everybody in the same room to address what the greatest needs are and what the potential solutions are is fantastic.”

Anandasabapathy and her team at Baylor work on developing innovative, low-cost and environmentally appropriate technologies to alleviate the burden of disease in global communities. She said the inspiration for her interest in developing new technologies and approaches for the management of chronic, non-communicable diseases in other parts of the world stemmed from her background as a gastrointestinal endoscopist surrounded by expensive equipment, such as high definition scopes, monitors and lasers.

“I think it was around 2005 and 2006 when I was sitting in one of my endo rooms and I realized I had about $7 million worth of equipment — multiple monitors, multiple processors — all for one patient,” she said, explaining that this type of an approach is not sustainable in the U.S. nor is it an option for most of the rest of the world. “I started to think about ways of making endoscopic capacity — which is so important for cancer screening and detection and management of GI illnesses — more accessible and available: How can you take a scope that’s $300,000 and develop a device that’s $750 but does the same thing? Not only a device that’s $750, but one that’s portable, battery-operated, can work with wireless technology to transmit the images, and one that could ideally be used by a non-physician or non-endoscopist.”

Anandasabapathy said it is increasingly more important to realize that people cannot ignore the health issues and concerns of the global community. The three cases of Ebola in the U.S. in 2014 and growing concerns of the Zika virus are two recent examples that prove diseases that affect other countries impact the U.S. and vice versa.

“Also, diseases that affect the U.S. are developing [in] other parts of the world,” she said. “One of the leading causes of the death worldwide over the next 10 years [is] not tuberculosis, malaria and AIDS. It’s cancer, heart disease and diabetes, even in sub-Saharan Africa.

“I don’t think of global health as looking beyond our own borders,” she added. “I think of global health as essential and, really, public health. It’s just good practice. It’s a globalized world, so global health is all of us.”




Social Posts

profile_image

UniversityofHouston

@UHouston

@nikkibatabooty @UHCougarFB Coogs House! ?

29 mins ago
profile_image

UniversityofHouston

@UHouston

They play with heart. They play united. And they never leave the stadium without saluting our students. Thank you,? https://t.co/JGxZwitIRm

1 hour ago
profile_image

UniversityofHouston

@UHouston

VICTORY! #HTownTakeover takes Texas State 64-3. ? #GoCoogs https://t.co/JS6p7524qp

1 hour ago
profile_image

Baylor College of Medicine

BaylorCollegeOfMedicine

Team, including Baylor researchers, examines how exome data analysis can help advance precision medicine.

2 hours ago
profile_image

BCMHouston

@bcmhouston

Congrats Dr. Elumalai Appachi, with our affiliate @childrenshospsa, named a 2016 Health Care Hero by @SABizJournal! https://t.co/pCgOcAb9wJ

2 hours ago
profile_image

BCMHouston

@bcmhouston

Learn how our doctors are using T cell therapies to find insight, ways to end kids cancers: https://t.co/T7qdRdBS9r #CCAM

4 hours ago
profile_image

Veterans Affairs

@DeptVetAffairs

Honor Flights honor more than those who make it to Washington, D.C. https://t.co/v7czdydgaR via VAntage Point

6 hours ago
profile_image

Houston Methodist

@MethodistHosp

Sure, diet & exercise are important, but how mindful are you of your exposure to artificial light? https://t.co/2z6EkFpKxx

6 hours ago
profile_image

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

VeteransAffairs

Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Army Veteran Tonya Price. Tonya served in the Army from 1992-2012 as a mental health specialist and a drug and alcohol counselor. Du...

6 hours ago
profile_image

Veterans Affairs

@DeptVetAffairs

#VeteranOfTheDay Tonya Price @USArmy 1992 - 2012 https://t.co/Q0LJxozSD1 https://t.co/bfX6SAtqle

6 hours ago
profile_image

Houston Methodist

houstonmethodist

With all the continual talk about diet & exercise, many are unaware that something as common as light has health impacts.

7 hours ago
profile_image

Baylor College of Medicine

BaylorCollegeOfMedicine

Help further scientific research by volunteering for our clinical trials.

7 hours ago
profile_image

Veterans Affairs

@DeptVetAffairs

NCA Intern Researching Veterans Legacy at Library of Congress https://t.co/47kqDTtzZQ via VA's Vantage Point

7 hours ago
profile_image

BCMHouston

@bcmhouston

Our award-winning wellness program helps Baylor earn accolades as one of Houston?s healthiest employers:? https://t.co/W7k3ChHwQI

7 hours ago
profile_image

TAMU Health Sciences

@TAMHSC

#YouAsked: Are my bad #teeth genetic? https://t.co/bf0ceJsB4g https://t.co/S8Za788aLC

8 hours ago