Dr. King Holmes: A World of Good

Graduation congratulations! Red-letter day for MPH graduate Ibrahim Ali, with UW Global Health chair Dr. King Holmes. (Photo: Bliss Ali)

Graduation congratulations! Red-letter day for MPH graduate Ibrahim Ali, with UW Global Health chair Dr. King Holmes. (Photo: Bliss Ali)

Approachable. Kind. And dedicated as they come.

University of Washington’s Global Health Department founder and chair, Dr. King Holmes, is stepping down. Even at age 75, it’s a shock to lose our world-renown leader in HIV/AIDS and STDs research, a doctor who’s trained generations of global health students, scientists, and researchers not just in diseases but in their effects socially and behaviorally. He’s made the UW global health program a global powerhouse.

Dr. Holmes often lectured in my global health classes, most often on the global burden of disease in sexually communicable diseases. We also shared a mutual passion for the SCOPE project in Ethiopia, which brings together academic, medical, and faith-based organizations to lessen the prevalence of HIV/AIDs in that country. They do this by working with ‘soul fathers‘ (Ethiopian Orthodox priests), encouraging believers not only to drink so-calledcurative holy waters’ but to take their anti-retroviral drugs as well. It’s making a difference.

Dr. Holmes will keep working and researching on his own projects and volunteer work after he’s left the UW. It’s hard to imagine otherwise.

Thank you, Dr. Holmes, for your gift of global health to Seattle, the University of Washington, and the world.


Thanks-thanks-thanks, global health

Helen Holter (October 2011) CU

Helen Holter: a global health thank you

WRITER ANN LAMOTTE boils down much in life to ‘help-help-help’ and ‘thanks-thanks-thanks.’ I say ‘thanks-thanks-thanks’ to so many–Seattleites especially–who’ve taught me their own global health lessons.

I’VE TALKED WITH YOU. Or listened to you speak. Read your insightful articles or books. Viewed your web sites. Or visited the place(s) you’re working in global health. So thanks.  I’ve tried to sprinkle your names throughout this web site as a way of honoring and recognizing you, especially the global health educators. Your influence is all over me in what I choose to write, and how I write it.

BEYOND THAT,thanks-thanks-thanks’ to those who woke me up to global health and to the power of humans to change the world’s health, for better or worse. They are the Soviet and Ukrainian government officials who tore through red tape to get me to Chernobyl in 1990 when I worked as a Soviet TV news correspondent through the Netherlands’ Alerdinck Foundation. There I saw first-hand what few at that time had seen: the effect of radiation, secrecy, and human-caused disaster seeping into the lives and health of so many… many now dead.

If ever there was a wake-up call to global health, Chernobyl was my alarm. To all, I am grateful.


Voices of Global Health: Multifaith work

Aisha Jumaan.

Aisha Jumaan.

Sometimes it seems there’s a global war in global health, with faith-based and secular organizations at each other’s throats: competing interests; differences in approaching medical treatment with-and-without a faith component; funding sources with-and-without religious strings attached.

Bernice Kegel brings Jewish insights as a leader of the "Perspectives" discussion July 13, 2012.

Bernice Kegel.

Three Seattleites–Jewish, Muslim, and Christian–are instrumental in addressing those global health suspicions. Bernice Kegel, Aisha Jumaan, and David Brenner are Jewish, Islamic, and Christian chairs of “Perspectives: How Faith Based and Secular Organizations Partner for Better Global Health”  on July 13, 2012. This discussion–at Seattle Center’s McCaw Hall–will focus on how different faiths can collaborate and work together on global health issues.

David Brenner heads up the Christian component at the July 13, 2012 "Perspectives" gathering.

David Brenner.

In this “Voices of Global Health” WGHA blog post, the three leaders talk extensively about  faith-based concerns in global health, and solutions.

Highlights: Dave Brenner deeply moved by a talk from global health giant Dr. Bill Foege. Aisha Jumaan on a young Ugandan girl’s pain in losing her mother to cervical cancer. Bernice Kegel in the Dominican Republic, post-Haiti earthquake, amid the losses and injuries witnessing a ‘celebration of life.’


Recommended: Washington Global Health Alliance web site.

Voices of Global Health: Dr. Judy Wasserheit

Dr. Judy Wasserheit, UW Global Health  I met Dr. Judy Wasserheit several years ago, when I was trying to figure out how I could integrate my journalism experience and my growing interest in global health without going back to school for a PhD or M.D. She was extremely helpful.

In this “Voices of Global Health” blog post, Dr. Wasserheit remembers her fascination with global health long before it was ever called ‘global health.’ [Now the term is so well used in Seattle that it’s even shortened to “GH.”]

As an M.D., MPH, and professor, today she is vice-chair of the UW’s Global Health department, specializing in sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV research.

Highlights: Desire to ‘make a difference.’  Working with like-minded dedicated people. Her thoughts on Bangladeshi vs. U.S. nose-blowing.


Recommended: University of Washington–Global Health web site.

Voices of Global Health: Bernhard Weigl

Bernhard Weigl of PATH (Photo: WGHA)

Bernhard Weigl of PATH (Photo: WGHA)

For Bernhard Weigl, global health innovations are all about simplicity, low cost, and usability. He’s hooked on devices that are easy to use at home, like treatments for diabetes in developing countries.

In this “Voices of Global Health” WGHA blog post, Bernhard talks about his work as director of the NIH-funded “Center for Point-of-Care Testing” for Global Health, and also a senior technology officer at PATH in Seattle.

Highlights: Passion for chronic diseases, especially diabetes. Moved by a dedicated young diabetes patient in Tanzania.

Recommended: Washington Global Health Alliance web site; PATH web site; “Center for Point-of-Care Testing for Global Health” web site.


Voices of Global Health: Lisa Cohen

Lisa Cohen_WGHA In an earlier lifetime, Lisa Cohen and I worked at KIRO-TV, the CBS affiliate in Seattle, Washington. Lisa was a driven news producer, earning respect and admiration of her colleagues with her focus and attention to details — and details matter in TV news.

In this blog post from “Voices of Global Health,” Lisa tells her story about life beyond TV news and into the world of global health as founder and executive director of Washington Global Health Alliance.

Highlights: Traveling to Africa with the Gates Foundation. The power of simple ideas, like Uniject syringes. Working with smart, dedicated people. Helping deliver a baby in Africa.

Recommended: Washington Global Health Alliance web site.


Voices of Global Health: Dr. David Fleming

IT’S COUNTDOWN TIME to July’s “Global Health Month in Seattle!”

Today’s “Voice of Global Health” is Seattle’s Dr. David Fleming of Public Health-Seattle & King County. He wakes up the world with three words describing Washington State’s global health: “Better than Geneva.” Read Dr. Fleming’s entire blog post–with those stunning three words– here.

Dr. David Fleming & butterfly (!)

He’s very approachable! A butterfly lands on Dr. David Fleming, Director of Public Health for Seattle-King County. (Photo credit: WGHA)

 “Global health work at its core is simply being part of the human family and recognizing that those that have much have an obligation to those who have little….whether we live in Mozambique or Moses Lake.” –Dr. David Fleming

Indeed. And, I might add, whether we live in Mozambique, Moses Lake — or Montana.

Global health is local health– right here in Seattle, as in the innovative “Global-to-Local” program to help our own in South King County.

Our own human family.

Recommended: Washington Global Health Alliance web site.