Gillings Humanitarian Health Initiative
We at the Gillings School already have activities underway in a number of countries through the efforts of faculty including; leading humanitarian-related programs at multilaterals, advising national governments, researching key threats and possible remediation interventions, as well as providing on-the-ground technical support. But we know we can and must do more - both individually and collectively.
Message from the Gillings Global Advisor
Currently, two billion people live in countries where development outcomes are affected by fragility, conflict, and violence (FCV). By 2030, nearly 50% of the global poor will live in such situations. These circumstances call for attention and action worldwide. As of December 2020, OCHA ( UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs) reports that global trends are now worsening. In 2021, it is projected that 235 million people will need humanitarian assistance and protection. This means 1 in 33 people worldwide needs help — a significant increase from the 1 in 45 people a year ago. Hunger is on the rise, disease outbreaks are increasing and the impact of the COVID pandemic on essential health services could erase decades of progress in HIV, TB and malaria, potentially doubling annual death tolls. COVID-19 has triggered the deepest global recession since the 1930s with extreme poverty rising for the first time in 22 years.More on Sheila Leatherman
We are pleased to announce the Gillings Humanitarian Health Initiative offers several paid Gillings graduate student internships. Each internship works on projects focused on different humanitarian health areas our faculty members are engaged in.
Dilshad Jaff, MD, MPH is an adjunct associate professor in the maternal and child health department. Dr. Jaff has over 20 years of experience working on complex humanitarian crises in conflict zones in the Middle East and Africa. He speaks four languages (Kurdish, Arabic, English and Farsi) and currently works in a complex emergency setting. As a Fellow, Dr. Jaff will present seminars and lectures; travel, to North Carolina when that becomes possible, to meet with students, faculty and people on campus around humanitarian health issues; provide an internship opportunity; and continue to collaborate and publish papers.
We are pleased to announce the Gillings Humanitarian Health Initiative is now piloting Service Project Awards at a funding level of up to $4000. We anticipate funding approximately 3-5 innovative projects in the first phase (2020-2021) to provide technical assistance to NGOs or other relevant governmental or parastatal organizations which are focused on humanitarian/development needs. Technical assistance and support will be provided largely through volunteer efforts of faculty and students with funding for related required resources. Applications accepted on a rolling basis.
If you are interested in volunteering for upcoming and/or already established service projects, please fill out the Volunteer Interest Form.
Meet the Humanitarian Health Initiative Interns
The Gillings Humanitarian Health Initiative offered four internships for the 2020-2021 school year. Meet our interns and learn about their work and interests.
Lein is an MPH Candidate in Global Health. She works with Dr. Aunchalee Palmquist and an interdisciplinary research team based in Iraq to examine the perinatal and postpartum experiences of internally displaced Yazidi women in Iraq.
Doreen is an MPH Candidate in Maternal Child Health. Doreen works with Dr. Dilshad Jaff and Professor Sheila Leatherman by assisting to develop evidence-based interventions that are effective and feasible within the South Sudan context to improve access, safety, and effectiveness of health care.
Katerina is an MPH Candidate in Global Health. She works with Professor Sheila Leatherman in conjunction with an NGO in Syria.
Maggie Holly is a PhD Candidate in Health Policy and Management. Maggie works with Professor Sheila Leatherman on various humanitarian health projects.
The organization provides medical assistance to save lives and ease the suffering of people in crisis situations in settings affected by conflict, epidemics, disasters, or exclusion from healthcare services in globally. The UNC service project is focused on supporting the organization to strengthen its clinical governance framework that provides the guidance, mechanisms and accountability for health care services provided in many countries. The technical assistance specifically includes building the evidence base and practical tools for improving safety, effectiveness, and the experience of care of persons receiving health care.
This long-established Syrian NGO responds to the challenges faced by marginalized groups affected by the Syrian Crisis including difficult-to-reach areas, where there are internally displaced and war-afflicted persons living in community centers and collective shelters. SSSD actively intervenes at an individual person, household and community level with specialized programs to alleviate the suffering of IDPs. Programs include health, WaSH, psychosocial support, shelter, social protection, infrastructure, vocational training and livelihood generation, educational programs for children and adults. The UNC service project is supporting the development and operations of health care programs with design of health-related records and data sets to improve patient care and enhance design and expansion of health operations.
Sierra Leone has the highest maternal mortality rate in the world and an expected lifespan of just 52 years. This NGO partners with The Tikonko Chiefdom to advance existing maternal and child health services through community-based solutions including two Birth Homes for Mothers for safe deliveries and a Children’s Health Program. Through outreach motorcycle clinics in eight villages, family planning and antenatal care is provided as well as care for children under age 5. Most common conditions for treatment of children include acute illness, immunizations, arranging hospital care for critically ill children as well as a comprehensive program for moderate and severe malnutrition. The UNC service project includes developing the evidence base and understanding of best practices as well as qualitative assessment to improve access and effectiveness of health services.
On November 11, 2020, Dr. Dilshad Jaff presented a seminar titled “Perspectives from the Field: Gillings Humanitarian Fellow.” (Recording not available)
Faculty advisors serve in various roles including mentoring interns, providing technical expertise for NGOs and leading service projects.