Monday, June 16, 2014

Energize the Chain

It's been an eventful few days both for me personally and for Salus. On Friday we were honored and privileged to have Dr. Harvey Rubin from the University of Pennsylvania speak to us about his non-profit called Energize the Chain (EtC) ( ). As most of you may remember, EtC’s mission is to eradicate vaccine preventable deaths worldwide by making effective vaccines as accessible as global cell phone coverage. It's a pretty neat story that encapsulates creative thinking, entrepreneurship, public health and a sincere desire to improve the health of millions of children worldwide and a great way to kick off our Salus Time and Salus Lecture Series! What's even more exciting is Dr. Rubin's invitation for us to participate in this wonderful project. When you think about what we can bring to the project with all of our specialties, Salus participation can really enhance what is already an extremely successful international, life-changing initiative.  

I'd like for us to rethink how we currently conduct humanitarian health engagement and outreach. Currently we do it in silos. Optometry does their thing (SOSH), Audiology does their thing, etc. I would very much like us to think and execute outside our normal, comfortable models and think like an integrated health system. It's time for SOSH to evolve into SHSH (Students Health Services to Humanity). I'm challenging everyone to get on board with this so when Dr. Rubin calls me in a couple of weeks I can tell him how Salus is ready to bring all of our health science professions to the fight! Just think where this can lead. On a more personal note, I want to thank Dr. O for getting all this organized and to everyone for braving the rain and attending this very special event.

On a more personal note, I had the privilege of presenting my experiences during Operation Tomodachi (the response to the 2011 Japanese earthquake, tsunami and radio-logical emergency) to a special NATO working group addressing the effects of exposure to low level radiation earlier today in Bethesda. For those who don't know, when I was in the Navy serving as the United States Pacific Command Surgeon I was responsible for the Department of Defense's medical response to Operation Tomodachi. I explained the operational challenges we had and discussed the solutions to many of those challenges that we encountered such as developing water standards, whether or not to distribute preventative medications such as potassium iodide to our over 68,000 beneficiaries living within the area at risk or having people shelter in place. I also discussed the development of a registry that we determined was necessary from a public health perspective to continually track all those who may have been exposed to even the lowest, within normal limits, radiation levels. Today that registry has over 75,000 people enrolled.  It was a fascinating discussion that I'd be happy to share with our university community at any time.  

1 comment:

  1. I understand that we have provided eye care services in Haiti and Africa in the past. If SHSH can expand on those services, I belive that will be greatly appreciated by those children and adults who don't have access to or the resources to afford quality eye care. The issue of smoke from cooking "stoves" and tin lamps (Dr. Rubin mentioned) is a major problem which affect not only the eyes but also the lungs!
    Another way to help could be to offer scholarship to qualified and enthusiastic students to come here and acquire the state of the art knowledge which they will then take back to the remote parts of their origin. This will ensure a steady supply of serviecs in the long run as opposed to waiting for SHSH to come every once in a while...