All posts by PPHR

Weighing in on Gain-of-Function Research

By Sharon Washio

Viruses are the ultimate parasites—they use the host’s cell processes to carry out their infectious cycles, from replication to dissemination. As barriers between species are crossed and favorable mutations are aptly selected, viruses evolve to propagate among the population, at times, leading to epidemics or pandemics like the Ebola epidemic or the 1918 Spanish Flu. When a virus adversely affects society, one of the main questions researchers try to answer is what makes the virus so potent. This is usually done by comparing mutant versions of the virus with reduced virulence, or potency, to the original, then assessing for the specific mutations that hinders the virus life cycle.

Continue reading Weighing in on Gain-of-Function Research

Health Care Reform: Learning From Other Major Health Care Systems

By Mimi Chung

With the United States Senate recently dismissing modified plans for health care in the US, different health care systems in other countries have gained considerable public interest. Health care in the United States can vary dramatically depending on an individual’s personal circumstances. Factors like employment, military service, and age can change what kind of insurance – if any – someone is able to obtain. Exploring the strengths and weakness of each may illuminate different options for modifying US healthcare policy.

Continue reading Health Care Reform: Learning From Other Major Health Care Systems

The Injury You Cannot See: The Effects of the Refugee Crisis on the Rohingya Children

By MaryAnn Placheril

Bordering India and China, Myanmar is a mainly Buddhist country with a sizable Muslim minority, the Rohingya. However, the government of Myanmar does not recognize the Rohingya as citizens, leaving them stateless. For decades, Buddhists have systematically oppressed the Rohingya, but this oppression has recently been taken to the extreme. The Rohingya are now being forcibly removed from the country and killed, while their property is seized and villages burned. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has even called the situation a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing.”

Continue reading The Injury You Cannot See: The Effects of the Refugee Crisis on the Rohingya Children

Life Expectancy: Discrepancies, Outcomes, and Future Directions

By Ava Torjani

A recent study demonstrated a significant improvement in life expectancy among the least-expected countries, including Niger, Nicaragua, Ethiopia, Gambia, Nepal, and Peru. These are low-income countries with relatively low access to and quality of healthcare. On the other hand, people in several high-income countries, including parts of the US, Greenland, and Russia are not living as long as expected. This article will explore the data presented by several studies, as well as the proposed reasons behind their findings.

Continue reading Life Expectancy: Discrepancies, Outcomes, and Future Directions

An Overlooked Consequence of Civil War: Mental Illness in Somalia

By Sirad Hassan

Somalia is a beautiful country of storytellers, poets, and nomads.

The history of the nation is troubled by the onset of a civil war that afflicted a tremendous amount of pain and trauma. Entire communities were disturbed by the continuous violence from the conflict; the direct cause of an unprecedented refugees crisis. Dadaab, along the border of Kenya and Somalia, is the largest refugee camp in the world—home to thousands of Somalis.

Continue reading An Overlooked Consequence of Civil War: Mental Illness in Somalia

The Global Community Behind Global Health

By Alison Herman

At the end of May, my 30-hour trip across the Atlantic ended at the Roberts International Airport in the middle of the night. Descending the staircase onto the airfield, I felt Monrovia’s balmy air begin to exacerbate my travel-induced exhaustion. Making my way past the camouflage-clad airport employees, I spotted the driver holding a “Partners in Health” sign.

Over the next 60 days, I would meet various coworkers, including a few Haitian doctors, a Nigerian doctor, a Rwandan biomedical engineer, and numerous Liberian colleagues working in finance, human resources, and medical capacities.

Continue reading The Global Community Behind Global Health