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School & Program Updates

School & Program Updates

Florida International Adds ‘Global Health Consortium’ to Growing Repertoire

Dr. Tomas Guilarte, dean of Florida International University’s Robert Stempel College of Public Health and Social Work, announced a strategic relationship with the Global Health Consortium (GHC), a platform for scientific collaboration within the FIU community and beyond its Miami-based campus.

[Photo: Dr. Carlos Espinal Tejada]

The GHC is an accelerator for multidisciplinary initiatives addressing key challenges in public health with support from major organizations such as the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO), National Institutes of Health (NIH), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Carlos Slim Foundation.

GHC’s top priorities — universal health, communicable diseases, non-communicable diseases, health and the environment and health security — include acute problems affecting large populations around the world.

Renowned epidemiologist Dr. Carlos Espinal Tejada is at the helm of the GHC; his career has intersected the private and public sector of global health for more than 30 years. In 2016, he arrived at FIU after serving as the director of public health and global immunization policy in Latin America for the French vaccine producer, Sanofi Pasteur, since 2002.

In its early stages, the GHC was purely an annual conference at FIU — albeit a highly influential gathering of public health luminaries. Dr. Espinal consulted on the conference for five years until it morphed into a syndicate to potentiate the work of the University’s experts and research centers with the backing of Dr. Andrés Gil, vice president for research and economic development and dean of FIU’s Graduate School.

Dr. Espinal’s approach is deeply rooted in diplomacy, and he uses the latest research from a range of specialists to educate government agencies and health-related private entities as they develop and implement policy. His flair for providing legislative guidance will continue to help officials improve the living conditions of at-risk communities for generations to come.

On March 29, Dr. Espinal was the keynote speaker at the Health Commission of the House of Representatives in a scientific event organized by the Mexican Society of Public Health to determine the pending vaccination budget, which is in jeopardy due to Mexico’s economic crisis. Dr. Espinal encouraged the governing body to value vaccination programs for their positive impact and return on investment, while emphasizing the importance of comprehensive health promotion and prevention programs.

Dr. Espinal is traveling to Colombia at the end of May with the dean of Stempel College, Dr. Tomás Guilarte, to contribute to the country’s annual congress on environmental health. Dr. Guilarte’s expertise in environmental health sciences, specifically lead contamination in children, dates back two decades and his ongoing research is funded by a $2.9 million grant from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) through 2020.

Researchers from FIU’s department of chemistry and biochemistry and the Southeast Environmental Research Center, Dr. Yong Cai and Dr. Piero Gardinali, will also attend to provide additional perspective and data on the devastating consequences mercury (due to gold mining) has on the environment, water supply, food chain and population.