thought for the week

The Unite for Sight conference was an incredible experience. I’m exhausted from running from panel to panel all weekend, but feel like I learned a lot and have a lot to digest. I especially enjoyed the two talks by Joia Mukherjee, medical director at Partners in Health…and the talk today about liberation medicine…and the more “science-y” talks yesterday about genetic manipulation of mosquitoes and immune responses to parasites. I wish I’d gotten to talk to more of the 2,200 (!!) people in town for the conference, but I did meet some pretty cool people. Any one have any inspiring stories to share?

Here’s my thought for the week from the PHC Bulletin:

“I think they’ve changed my view from a fairly conservative and traditional view of how medicine should be practiced to a quite different one. And that’s really due to the fact that the transplant patients that I’ve treated have become members of what you might consider an extended family.

I came to believe — and perhaps I always believed this, but certainly it was reinforced — that medicine was a truly noble profession and that nobody should go into it without nobility of purpose. That [belief] in the long run had downstream effects in that I came to realize that in transplantation there was a kind of class filter through which ultimately when transplantation became self-sustaining economically, or even profitable, that it was much easier to get a transplant if you had a lot of money than if you were poor. So I came to be a strong advocate for health care for everybody.” -Dr. Thomas E. Starzl (one of the “fathers of transplantaion”)


week of april 12:

The Public Health Coalition bulletin for the week has just gone out. This is a very busy week in public health at Yale! Big events going on include: a unique talk on eating disorders, Unite for Sight’s Global Health Conference, Relay for Life and various health-related films in the Environmental Film Festival. Take a break from papers and learn/discuss/support/contribute/inspire/be inspired!

Thought(s) of the Week

“Dr. Pontiano Kaleebu, an immunologist heading the Basic Sciences Programme of the MRC/UVRI Uganda Research Unit on AIDS at the Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI), told Saturday Vision that an ongoing study and a previous one at the institute had unearthed signs that some Ugandans may be resistant to HIV.

They have special white blood cells that can only be produced when the virus attacks the body. However, even with the most sophisticated tests, HIV could not be found in these individuals, implying that the virus had tried to infect them but the immune system kicked it out.” -Charles Wendo, The New Vision 3 April 2009 (

Articles of the Week

Bakalar, Nicholas. U.S. Still Struggling With Infant Mortality. The New York Times. 6 April 2009.

Shane, Scott. Report Outlines Medical Workers’ Role in Torture. The New York Times. 6 April 2009.

Sere, Carlos. Balancing the Global Need for Meat. BBC News. 24 March 2009.
Event highlights…

1. PH lunch this week: The Public Health Coalition invites you to attend a lunch with Gregg Gonsalves, world-renowned AIDS activist and board member of the International Treatment Preparedness Coalition.

When?: Friday, April 17th; 12:30-1:30 pm
Where?: The Saybrook Fellows Lounge (in the back of the Saybrook dining hall, on the opposite end from the kitchen)

Come meet Mr. Gonsalves to learn more about AIDS and TB Activism in the USA and Around the World! Contact with any questions.

Gregg Gonsalves is a student at Yale College, admitted through the Eli Whitney Students Program for non-traditional undergraduates. He has worked in AIDS and TB policy for close to 20 years, with organizations including the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, the Treatment Action Group, Gay Men’s Health Crisis, AIDS and Rights Alliance of Southern Africa and the Treatment Action Campaign. He has also been a consultant for the World Health Organization and served on advisory committees at both the US Food and Drug Administration and National Institutes of Health. He’s currently on the board of directors of the International Treatment Preparedness Coalition, an international network with members in over 125 countries around the world working to promote access to AIDS and TB services for all who need them. He is also the chair of the steering committee of the CD4 Initiative at the Imperial College of Medicine (UK), which is developing a simple point-of-care assay for measuring CD4+ T-cells in resource poor settings with the support of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He was the recipient of the $100,000 John M. Lloyd Foundation AIDS Leadership Award in 2008. Mr. Gonsalves has given numerous talks to Yalies since his enrollment, including his February talk for the Yale Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS (CIRA) Colloquium series titled, “Science, Social Movements, and Epidemics: AIDS and TB Activism in the USA and Around the World.” (From

2. “Life Without ED” – Declaring Independence from Eating Disorders: A Personal Journey

Tuesday, April 14, 2009; 4:00 PM
Davenport Auditorium

Jenni Shaefer, author of “Life Without ED,” and Tamara Noyes, Business Development Director at the Center for Change treatment facility in Utah, are coming to Yale to share speak with the Yale community about eating disorders and to provide support for students and faculty. Jenni Schaefer is a nationally known singer/ songwriter, speaker, and author of Life Without Ed: How One Woman Declared Independence from Her Eating Disorder and How You Can Too. Jenni begins her first book by telling us that she has never been married, but she is happily divorced. And once she has your attention, Jenni explains that she is divorced from her eating disorder. In this special presentation, brought to you by the Center for Change, Jenni will speak about her unique divorce.

3. The Environmental Film Festival is featuring some pretty awesome films this week, many of which have to do with health (check out “Food, Inc.” and “I Am Because We Are” in particular). Full schedule is at

4. Unite for Sight’s 6th Annual Global Health Conference: “Achieving Global Goals Through Innovation”
See for the schedule of events or to register.

5. Relay for Life is this weekend!
Saturday, April 18 to Sunday, April 19
4 pm – 8 am in Payne Whitney Gymnasium.

Register at
Interested in helping out? E-mail to volunteer. We can really use your help!

6.2009 Drug Policy Month @ Yale

Week of 4/12
TUES 4/14 TALK: Education in Drug Experimentation
A talk by Eddie Einbinder, author of award-winning book “How to Have Fun and Not Die,” on the (inflated) harms of recreational drug use.
Branford Trumbull Room. 4pm.

WED 4/15 SCREENING: American Drug War (2007).
Award-winning documentary on the drug war. With Pizza.
Branford Common Room. 9pm.

SAT 4/18 TALK: “Why Decriminalization Matters”
CT State Senators Martin Looney and Toni Harp speaking on the decriminalization bill they recently introduced.

And now accepting submissions for:
4/25 EXHIBITION. “Confronting Addiction: Student Art Exhibition.”
Video, sculpture, print, paint, poetry, anything. Submissions due by 4/15 to Sponsored by Sudler Fund.