Stories about: Global Health

Improving child health delivery worldwide

Drs. Lovejoy and Niescierenko are committed to global health efforts

Boston Children’s Hospital is a dynamic and compassionate community of caregivers, many of whom have worked independently to provide quality care to children and families all over the world. With the formalization of the Global Health Program at Boston Children’s Hospital in 2014, we have expanded our global reach exponentially. Then and now, our mission has always been the same: to improve child health delivery worldwide by sharing the expertise and training of our world class pediatric team.

As the world is increasingly globalized — with commerce, economies, and international travel progressively linking us — it is now more important than ever to focus on global health. We support faculty and staff who work everywhere from the U.S. to Laos, from Tanzania to Nepal; ensuring the innovative and quality care of Boston Children’s is felt globally. …Read More

Noteworthy: B. Heidi Ellis, PhD, honored for pioneering work with refugee children

Caring for refugee children

Refugee children and teens are an especially vulnerable population. Many of them experience trauma, either in war-torn home countries or during flight. And when they arrive in the U.S., refugee families continue to face stressors that make healthy adjustment difficult, including poverty and discrimination. These and other stressors can contribute to mental health issues, and cultural barriers, stigma and a lack of knowledge about mental health services make these issues harder to treat.

In partnership with refugee communities and agencies, Boston Children’s Refugee Trauma and Resilience Center (RTRC), under the guidance of Director, B. Heidi Ellis, PhD, develops prevention and intervention programs, conducts research, and develops resources to assist refugee families and providers serving refugee populations. RTRC staff regularly provide training and consultation on refugee youth mental health across the country, reaching more than 850 providers in the past six months.

In recognition of her pioneering work with refugee children and teens, Ellis was awarded Boston Children’s 2017 David S. Weiner Award for Leadership and Innovation in Child Health — an award honoring the exceptional work of an employee, health care provider or faculty. …Read More

How to talk to your patients about Zika

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The hype around Zika virus seems to be settling down. The Summer Olympics in Rio appeared to occur without incident (at least associated to the virus spread), and the number of reported cases has plateaued. Media interest, while not gone, is definitely waning from where it was in February, when the World Health Organization declared Zika a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.

Yet for those working on the frontlines or in global organizations trying to define and understand the outbreak, it is clear this is a false period of calm.

This past July, as I walked the halls of a hospital in Brazil, I witnessed the impact of the disease firsthand. Tired and despairing mothers carried their infants with abnormally small heads, trying futilely to soothe their shrill cries as they waited for medical care. They carried them close and explained to our visiting group of public health officials that the stigma of having a child with Zika virus has started to pervade society, with people simultaneously fascinated and frightened by their children.

For these mothers, taking care of their children has become their full-time job. Providers and families in the affected regions remain afraid and worried about the long-term care that these children will require. And this wave of fear and uncertainty is moving to the U.S. …Read More

Treating malnutrition: What I learned from working at a hospital in Haiti

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Outside Hospital Saint Nicolas in Saint Marc, Haiti

The day had finally come. Pierre was ready. With his oversized pants hoisted up by a weathered black belt and a checkered blue and orange shirt tucked underneath, the little boy exuded the air of a wizened old man ready for a long journey, not a four-year-old child getting discharged home from the hospital.

His mother had taken pains to plaster down his wisps of blondish-brown hair, a sign of his vitamin-deficient state, that had started to grow back. She’d made sure he would go home in style, with pride.

I caught mirth in Pierre’s eyes and a grin that revealed carried teeth as he waved good-bye. This young boy was a far cry from the tired, fragile little one who had been admitted to the inpatient malnutrition ward a mere three weeks prior.

During my time as a clinical fellow working in the pediatric ward at Hospital Saint Nicolas in Saint Marc, Haiti, I’ve had the opportunity to take care of infants and children who have etched indelible stories of both heartbreak and triumph in my heart and mind. However, the faces and stories from the malnutrition ward, where those children who are too sick to manage in the outpatient malnutrition program are admitted, stand out most vividly. …Read More