University Launches Global Health Program

In an effort to address some of the health ramifications of California’s large immigrant population, the University of California launched the Center of Expertise on Migration and Health on Nov. 9 — part of its new Global Health Institute.

The COEMH, to be located at UCSD, was created to examine the impact that large population movements have on both the destination country and the migrating population’s country of origin. The program will pay particular attention to consequences that changes in federal health-care policy have on California’s refugee and immigrant population.

“Potentially sweeping changes in federal health care and immigration law and policies … will create an unprecedented natural laboratory for studying the effects of policy change on immigrants’ and refugees’ access to health care, propensity to seek health care, ability to pay for care… and health outcomes,” COEMH co-director Wayne Cornelius said in a statement.

The COEMH will focus on four areas: behavioral and socioeconomic determinants on health; health outcomes in migrants’ communities of origin and destination; children’s health; and healthcare delivery and policy. “By bringing together social scientists, public-health specialists and medical practitioners, we can respond more effectively to the health-care needs of California’s immigrant and refugee populations, and help policymakers anticipate future needs for health care in these communities,” Cornelius said.

The Global Health Institute runs two other programs in addition to UCSD’s Migration Center. One Health: Water, Animals, Food and Safety — led by UC Riverside and UC Davis — encompasses ecology, environmental health, veterinary medicine and agriculture. Women’s Health and Empowerment is led by UC San Francisco and UCLA.

The institute’s first educational track will be a one-year master’s program in global health, followed by two-year master’s and doctoral programs. Rather than being offered at a specific university or center of expertise, this graduate program will be available to students at any UC campus.

“We also anticipate that a number of schools will be launching new certificate programs and undergraduate minors focused on specific areas of expertise that revolve around the centers of expertise,” COEMH co-director Steffanie Strathdee said.

The chief source of funding for the Global Health Institute is the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which provided $4 million in startup funds for the program.

Readers can contact Sarah Alaoui at [email protected].