Post date: Fri, 03/01/2019 - 09:17

Over the years, Northwestern has consistently sent and hosted dozens of students, scholars, and staff through the distinguished Fulbright Program, which offers research and teaching grants abroad and in the United States.  

But this past year — the first year that the Fulbright U.S. Student Program solicited applications from universities to be pre-departure orientation hosts — Northwestern was selected to host more than 180 Fulbright grantees and alumni for the program’s Sub-Saharan Africa orientation in July.


That means everyone — students, English teaching assistants, or scholars — who received a Fulbright award to travel to Africa came to Northwestern for orientation.


It’s a natural fit: Both Northwestern and the Fulbright Program are committed to fostering international partnerships and mutual understanding across borders. Northwestern’s Program of African Studies is the oldest in the nation, and its library holds the largest Africana collection in existence.

Read more here. 

Post date: Fri, 03/01/2019 - 09:16

It’s an incredibly broad field — public health — spanning disease, diet, exercise, relationships and more. Public health researchers at Northwestern study the way we live today in order to find ways that we can live better, and longer, tomorrow. From pediatrics to geriatrics, sociology to sexual health, these experts are pioneering new ways of assessing, solving and preventing problems at all ages.

Read more here. 

Post date: Fri, 03/01/2019 - 09:16

It’s an incredibly broad field — public health — spanning disease, diet, exercise, relationships and more. Public health researchers at Northwestern study the way we live today in order to find ways that we can live better, and longer, tomorrow. From pediatrics to geriatrics, sociology to sexual health, these experts are pioneering new ways of assessing, solving and preventing problems at all ages.

Read more here. 

Post date: Fri, 03/01/2019 - 09:14

Researchers have discovered a human protein that helps fight the Ebola virus and could one day lead to an effective therapy against the deadly disease, according to a new study from Northwestern University, Georgia State University, University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and the Gladstone Institutes published this past December, in the journal Cell.


The newly discovered ability of the human protein RBBP6 to interfere with Ebola virus replication suggests new ways to fight the infection. As viruses develop and evolve proteins to bypass the body’s immune defenses, human cells in turn develop defense mechanisms against those viruses — an evolutionary arms race that has been ongoing for millions of years. This particular defense mechanism has therapeutic potential, said co-lead author Judd Hultquist, assistant professor of medicine in the division of infectious disease at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, who conducted the research while he was at Gladstone Institutes.


“One of the scariest parts about the 2014 Ebola outbreak was that we had no treatments on hand; tens of thousands of people became sick and thousands of people died because we lacked a suitable treatment,” Hultquist said. “What we envision is a small molecule drug that mimics this human protein and could be used in response to an Ebola virus outbreak.”

Read more here. 

Post date: Fri, 02/22/2019 - 09:38

Drs. Darius Tandon and Melissa Simon, two directors of centers within the Institute for Public Health and Medicine (IPHAM) at Northwestern, participated in the development of new recommendations to prevent perinatal depression, especially for women with certain risk factors. The recommendations were put out by the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) and were published in JAMA. 

Read more here.

Post date: Wed, 12/12/2018 - 10:06

Improving the health of all populations — from lung cancer survivors in the Chicago area to trauma victims in Bolivia and LGBTQ+ groups in Nepal — was at the heart of Feinberg’s inaugural IPHAM Population Health Forum, where scientists and community partners presented their work in a wide diversity of areas.

The forum, held December 4 and attended by faculty, staff, students and community partners, was hosted by the Institute for Public Health and Medicine (IPHAM), Feinberg’s home for public health activities.

The event’s keynote speech was delivered by Sandro Galea, MD, MPH, DrPH, dean and Robert A. Knox Professor at Boston University School of Public Health, who discussed the opioid, gun and obesity epidemics and the vital role of population health research in curbing them.

“These are the epidemics of our time,” Galea said. “And there are particular population health science approaches that we must take if we want to deal with these epidemics. If we do not do that, we are complicit in the advancement of these epidemics.”

In particular, Galea discussed four key principles of population health science and how they can provide insights into the epidemics. He also cautioned against seeking simple solutions.

“We come from a place where we elevate the notion of simple interventions. Unfortunately, we are dealing with complex causes for complex epidemics,” he said. “We need to have the confidence to say these are complex population systems — and our science and our recommendations should approach them as such.”

Read more here. 

Post date: Wed, 12/12/2018 - 09:27

“You’re the researcher. You tell us.”

Those few words set anthropology professor Sera Young on a course toward ending food and water insecurity worldwide.

While studying maternal anemia in Zanzibar in 2006, Young spoke with pregnant women to learn about their dietary habits. It was during these discussions that one woman, sitting on the floor of her home, removed a chunk of clay from the wall and ate it.

Young would learn that this was a relatively common behavior in Zanzibar: pregnant women craved clay, dirt, sand and other non-food substances, and they ate them, sometimes multiple times a day.

When Young asked people in the village why women were doing this, the wife of a traditional healer pushed Young to answer that question herself.

“She gave me my first job,” Young says of the healer’s wife.

Young spent years researching pica, a condition in which people crave and consume non-food substances. Pica, Young would find, is not relegated to pregnant women or developing countries — it’s much more widespread.

“In the U.S., you can buy clay online and have it delivered discreetly to your house,” Young says. “Graveyard dirt is used in certain voodoo potions. There’s a grotto in Bethlehem where supposedly a drop of the virgin Mary’s milk spilled, and some people believe that if you eat that earth, your milk supply will increase and your fertility will improve.”

Beyond the religious or superstitious, Young says eating clay might act as an anti-diarrheal, thereby preventing deaths from contaminated water or food.

Young went on to write a book about pica, called "Craving Earth," which won the 2013 Margaret Mead Award from the Society for Applied Anthropology and the American Anthropological Association.

Read more here.

Post date: Wed, 12/12/2018 - 09:26

This past summer, alumnus Brad Radulovacki ’83 brought together his love for Northwestern, commitment to philanthropy and strong personal connection to Serbia to create a unique opportunity for Northwestern’s global health students.

In June, Radulovacki’s ancestral hometown of Sremski Karlovci in Serbia hosted sixteen Northwestern students on the Comparative Public Health: Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina program, which is administered by the Office for Undergraduate Learning Abroad.

The program, comprised of four weeks of study at the University of Belgrade, followed by four weeks at the University of Sarajevo, presented itself to Radulovacki as a unique opportunity to tie in his late father's philanthropic legacy with his own charitable support of Northwestern's global health offerings.

So, he organized and led a full day of activities in the region for the students. Grant Radulovacki ’17, his oldest son and a recent Northwestern graduate, also joined his father on the trip. 

Students visited Novi Sad, Serbia’s second largest city, and the nearby Petrovaradin Fortress. They also toured the Eco Center Radulovacki, a non-profit organization endowed by Radulovacki's late father that runs environmental protection and youth education programs; explored the historic baroque town of Sremski Karlovci and enjoyed a boat ride on the Danube River to an island nature reserve, where the Eco Center conducts research.

"Having the students experience the ecological center and learn about the history of Sremski Karlovci — and connect global health studies and my Serbian heritage, turned out to be a great way for me to engage with students and give back to Northwestern," Radulovacki said. 

For Zachary Li, a junior on the program studying neuroscience and global health, the excursion helped him understand the broader historical and geographical context of the region.

"It was beautiful to first see the quaint town of Sremski Karlovci and later the larger city of Novi Sad," Li said. "We learned a lot by visiting the Eco Center, and it showed us that there's so much more to Serbia than Belgrade."

Read more here. 

Post date: Wed, 12/12/2018 - 09:22

Noelle Sullivan describes her pedagogical goals as teaching “How the World Works, How to Speak and Write to be Heard, and the Effect on and Engagement with Wider Communities.”  Students’ comments consistently identified a sense of profound learning aligned to these goals.  A student wrote that Sullivan developed students’ ability to “not only check our assumptions at the door, but also examine and understand the structures which gave us these biases in the first place.”  Another student described that “Dr. Sullivan made me realize that the smartest person in the room…is not someone who hides behind elaborate language but (is) someone with the audacity, self-awareness, and humility to communicate in an inclusive way that engages others from different backgrounds.” A student described Sullivan’s wider impact as “cultivating an educational environment where students and faculty honestly engage with each other to expand knowledge, passions, and personal growth.” 

Sullivan’s department chair credits her with taking “important leadership roles in curricular and program development with Global Health Studies (GHS) and the College.” Her “innovations with the introductory course have been particularly important and influential,” and the methodological training her students received “dramatically improved the quality and impact of the independent research projects frequently carried out by GHS students.” Sullivan is committed to undergraduate research and has supervised numerous undergraduate honors theses and independent research projects, served as a mentor for GlobMed and Project Rishi, and has invited students into her own research projects.  

Sullivan was named to the Associated Student Government Faculty Honor Roll in 2015-16.  She is an Assistant Professor of Instruction in the Global Health Studies Program.  She received her Ph.D. and M.A. in Anthropology from the University of Florida, M.A. in African American Studies from the University at Albany, and her B.A. in Anthropology and History from the University of Victoria, Canada. 

Read more about other award winners here. 

Post date: Wed, 12/12/2018 - 09:17

When U.S. relations were normalized with Cuba more than three years ago, Northwestern worked with nonprofits and governmental agencies to try to open those doors even further. Since then, despite a shifting political climate, the university has continued to foster academic collaborations with Cuba by sending researchers to the country and by forging a partnership with a Cuban university.

In December, Northwestern signed an official memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the University of Havana Manuel Fajardo School of Medicine, a signal of intent to promote potential collaborations and research exchanges between the two institutions.

“We have a lot of interest from faculty and students who would like to conduct research or study in Cuba,” said Kim Rapp, assistant vice president for international relations at Northwestern. “Northwestern has had a presence in Cuba for a few years, and we’d like to stay connected and work with partners there.”

In 2017, Northwestern began exploring expanded partnerships in Cuba after receiving a grant from Partners of the Americas to enhance academic opportunities in the country. A particular emphasis was placed on forging collaborations related to medical education. 

In June of that year, a cohort of eight Northwestern faculty members and administrators traveled to the University of Havana to meet with potential collaborators at its medical school and related research institutions.

Northwestern researchers weren’t as familiar with the Cuban public health landscape, but they knew of its successes. The country’s infant mortality rate is 4.5 deaths per 1,000 infants, which is lower than the United States’ rate of 5.8, and the average life expectancy is 79 years, compared to the United States’ 78.7.

Read more here.