World Malaria Day 2014: Vector-borne Disease on the Global Health Agenda

This Friday, April 25 is World Malaria Day, a fitting followup to this year's World Health Day focus on "vector-borne disease". Malaria, as a vector-borne disease, is in a class with: chagas disease, chikungunya, Congo-Crimean haemorragic fever, dengue, dracuncuiasis, human African trypanosomiasis, leishmaniaisis, lymphatic filariasis, lyme disease, onchocerciasis, shistosomiasis and yellow fever. Don't feel bad … Continue reading World Malaria Day 2014: Vector-borne Disease on the Global Health Agenda

Ebola Outbreak Update and Information Resources

I started researching Ebola yesterday, when I realized I needed a refresher course to answer some of my own questions about the disease. For example: Why are so many people getting Ebola so quickly? It’s spread by body fluids like HIV is, so why does it spread so much more quickly and effectively? It turns out that … Continue reading Ebola Outbreak Update and Information Resources

World Water Day 2014: U.N. Focuses Energy on Energy

Today is World Water Day 2014, and the United Nations has chosen to emphasize the link between water and energy. This was surprising to me, because looking at the Millennium Development Goals (developed in 2000), there were no goals specifically related to energy usage or even the mention of global warming. When I think about international development/global health … Continue reading World Water Day 2014: U.N. Focuses Energy on Energy

Global Health and International Day of Happiness: 3/20 2014

      From my perspective, happiness is undeniably a  global health issue, because of the strong evidence for the connection between mental health and well-being and physical health. As many people know, the effect runs both directions; physical health challenges can be taxing emotionally, and mental health stresses can take a toll on your … Continue reading Global Health and International Day of Happiness: 3/20 2014

2014 World Day of Social Justice and THL

       Social justice means different things to different people, and has evolved over time to include/ recognize more issues, as the voices of traditionally marginalized peoples have been amplified through social media and viral campaigns, as well as through political lobbying and protest. Observed globally each year, the World Day of Social Justice (Feb. 20th) recognizes both the need for social and political change, as well as the progress of activists, students, communities, citizens, policy-makers and organizations towards making the world more just.

       UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon’s  message for World Day of Social Justice is:

“The gap between the poorest and the wealthiest around the world is wide and growing. … We must do more to empower individuals through decent work, support people through social protection, and ensure the voices of the poor and marginalised are heard.”

       Sometimes for people from the United States, “social justice” can seem like something is needed in faraway, “other” places- like Russia, Cambodia, Somalia… But when you examine U.S. data on racism, health disparities, educational inequity, poor workplace conditions, gender discrimination, human trafficking and a whole host of other issues, it becomes clear that with the challenge of social justice, the global is clearly also local.

      At the Taubman Health Sciences Library, it is apparent that our informationists consider social justice as a core principle. For example, here is a Wordle representation of the Taubman Health Science Library’s Health Disparities “Data and Statistics” page from the U.S. Health Disparities Research Guide:

This image, to me, represents one example of many where our informationists’ health information expertise synthesizes with our orientation towards social justice in health.

       In addition to the Health Disparities Research Guide, the Taubman Library has created a suite of research guides that provide information resources related to social justice:LGBTQ Health ResourcesSexual and Reproductive HealthMillennium Development GoalsGlobal Health ResourcesHIV and AIDS Resources and Open Access Literature, among others.

I decided not to focus on one social justice issue, and instead I exhort you to think about this;  take a stand against injustice, wherever and however you can. It might mean something different in my life and career than in yours, but it all begins with knowledge and courage.

alyssamoutonblog

       Social justice means different things to different people, and has evolved over time to include/ recognize more issues, as the voices of traditionally marginalized peoples have been amplified through social media and viral campaigns, as well as through political lobbying and protest. Observed globally each year, the World Day of Social Justice (Feb. 20th) recognizes both the need for social and political change, as well as the progress of activists, students, communities, citizens, policy-makers and organizations towards making the world more just.

       UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon’s  message for World Day of Social Justice is:

“The gap between the poorest and the wealthiest around the world is wide and growing. … We must do more to empower individuals through decent work, support people through social protection, and ensure the voices of the poor and marginalised are heard.”

       Sometimes…

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India Celebrates It’s 2nd Polio-Free Year! The Role of Information Tools and Vaccines

  In the world of global health, major victories to intractable problems in challenging conditions don’t happen every day. But one did just happen: on January 13, 2014, India marked its second year with no reported cases of polio, suggesting that India is on track towards sustainably eradicating the disease within its borders. This leaves just three nations,  Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan, where polio is still stubbornly endemic.

Information tools have been vital in the progress towards eradication.

     The development of the polio vaccine by Dr. Jonas Salk in 1952 was a major breakthrough in addressing the dangerous and potentially deadly disease. The subsequent commitment to establishing (local, state, national and global) disease surveillance and monitoring systems, reporting statistics and using data strategize vaccination coverage campaigns constituted the lion’s share of work towards eradication in the U.S. These information systems have been difficult to develop and efficiently utilize in resource-poor settings, which has challenged eradication efforts.

     The need for evidence-based epidemiological information for has led to the development of expansive, epidemiological databases like GIDEON, which covers 340+ infectious disease in 231 countries with information on 500+ drugs and vaccines (available to UM affiliates). One of the major global public health players researching, funding interventions and strategizing for the worldwide fight against polio is the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. They acknowledge “Surveillance and Monitoring” and “Data-Driven Decision Making” as key components of addressing the challenge of polio, highlighting the importance of reliable data and information sources.

     In addition to information resources geared towards medical, public health and public policy professionals, platforms like HealthMap (geared towards public accessibility and usage) collect and visually map data from reliable sources about health threats in real (reported) time. Epidemic and disease outbreak information tools

Celebrating Vaccine Success?

Although the evidence for protective health benefit of preventative polio vaccination is clear, the celebration of the successes of polio (and other) vaccines globally generates a cognitive dissonance in the face of the villainization of immunizations domestically. News reports of the resurgence of whooping cough and measles are alarming, and this map from the Council on Foreign Relations depicting “Vaccine-Preventable Outbreaks”covering the U.S. is disturbing. As a representative from the India Expert Advisory Group sagely reminded the world in 2012,  “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.”

alyssamoutonblog

     In the world of global health, major victories to intractable problems in challenging conditions don’t happen every day. But one did just happen: on January 13, 2014, India marked its second year with no reported cases of polio, suggesting that India is on track towards sustainably eradicating the disease within its borders. This leaves just three nations,  Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan, where polio is still stubbornly endemic.

Information tools have been vital in the progress towards eradication.

     The development of the polio vaccine by Dr. Jonas Salk in 1952 was a major breakthrough in addressing the dangerous and potentially deadly disease. The subsequent commitment to establishing (local, state, national and global) disease surveillance and monitoring systems, reporting statistics and using data strategize vaccination coverage campaigns constituted the lion’s share of work towards eradication in the U.S. These information systems have been difficult to develop…

View original post 242 more words

Mission to Debunk Myths Drives World Cancer Day (2/4/14)

alyssamoutonblog

WCD_Logo_RGB_2012.png

Health communication experts will tell you that  one method of gaining attention for health messages is to begin by revealing gaps in the audience’s knowledge. People are uncomfortable with these gaps, and seek the knowledge they need to resolve them.  In a sense, these knowledge gaps lead to the curiosity and research questions that drive people to seek informational resources, conduct research and schedule consultations with informationists (which is why libraries exist!).

This year’s World Cancer Day (themed “Debunk the Myths) wields this “information gap” to gain our attention in two ways:

1) Wait, what are common myths about cancer?

2) Ok, those are the myths… what is the reality? 

Check out the official website for World Cancer Day, to find 4 salient myths, as well as the correct information and “global advocacy messages” in-line with the overall goal of generating discourse and action regarding cancer prevention and treatment.

For…

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The New Millennium Development Goals Research Guide, and What’s In Store “Post-MDGs”?

Have you heard the buzz about the “Post-MDG Era” in global development? For example, the theme for the 2014 Consortium of Universities for Global Health (CUGH) is “Universities 2.0: Advancing the Global Health Agenda in the Post-MDG Era.” But what exactly does this mean?To begin with, the current set of 8 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) originated from a … Continue reading The New Millennium Development Goals Research Guide, and What’s In Store “Post-MDGs”?

The New Millennium Development Goals Research Guide, and What’s In Store “Post-MDGs”?

Have you heard the buzz about the “Post-MDG Era” in global development? For example, the theme for the 2014 Consortium of Universities for Global Health (CUGH) is “Universities 2.0: Advancing the Global Health Agenda in the Post-MDG Era.” But what exactly does this mean? To begin with, the current set of 8 Millennium Development Goals … Continue reading The New Millennium Development Goals Research Guide, and What’s In Store “Post-MDGs”?

International Day to End Violence Against Women (11/25/2013)

Last year, I wrote a blog about the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women discussing some of the societal and health impacts of violence against women. On this year's annual day of observance, I’d like to share an issue highly related to violence against women that I believe is gaining traction globally: ending child marriage. … Continue reading International Day to End Violence Against Women (11/25/2013)