Sunday, April 18, 2010

President Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania Speaks at Weill Cornell Medical College

President Jakaya Kikwete of the United Republic of Tanzania spoke at Weill Cornell Medical College today. In his Global Health Grand Rounds lecture, President Kikwete discussed the most significant challenges facing Tanzania, with a particular focus on health care and the advances made during his first term.
Using the past and present as benchmarks, President Kikwete laid out his vision for meaningful and sustainable progress in health care in Tanzania, as well as goals for his next term. He also emphasized the importance of international partnerships and support and the role that health care professionals can play in attaining this goal.
President Kikwete is a leading voice in the struggle to increase the availability of quality health care in developing countries. In his own country he took the bold step of taking an HIV test on national television to destigmatize testing and promote public health.
"I am grateful to President Kikwete for sharing his valuable insights with us today," says Dr. Antonio M. Gotto Jr., the Stephen and Suzanne Weiss Dean at Weill Cornell Medical College. "Weill Cornell is committed to teaching and practicing medicine in a global context. We cherish our relationship with the people of Tanzania and the learning opportunities that have grown from our collaborative work at Weill Bugando University College of Health Sciences and Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Center."
The Global Health Grand Rounds lecture, held at Uris Auditorium at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York, was organized by Weill Cornell medical students. Sandeep Kishore, an M.D.-Ph.D. candidate at Weill Cornell and global health curriculum steering member, says: "Enhancing the visibility of global health through our Global Health Grand Rounds program reinforces the message that the fusion of social justice and medicine is not just 'a hobby,' but a legitimate, credible vocation for tomorrow's doctors and medical leaders."
Weill Cornell in Tanzania
Weill Cornell Medical College has been involved in Tanzania for more than 20 years -- through Weill Bugando University College of Health Sciences and the Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Center.
Weill Cornell alumnus Dr. Peter Le Jacq was instrumental in the work leading to the founding in 2003 of Bugando University College of Health Sciences, which was renamed Weill Bugando University College of Health Sciences in 2007 in honor of benefactors Joan and Sanford Weill. Mr. Weil, Chairman of the Board of Overseers at Weill Cornell Medical College, and Mr. Hushang Ansary, Vice-Chair of the Board of Overseers, made generous contributions and spearheaded fundraising activities to start the Weill Bugando medical school.
Weill Bugando, which graduated its inaugural class of medical students in 2008, offers an M.D. training program, masters in medicine, and diplomas in the allied health sciences. A Weill Cornell faculty committee directed by Dr. Warren Johnson, the B.H. Kean Professor of Tropical Medicine, professor of medicine and professor of clinical public health at Weill Cornell Medical College, coordinates educational exchanges between multiple Weill Cornell and Weill Bugando departments.
Weill Bugando is affiliated with Bugando Medical Centre, a 900-bed referral hospital dedicated to providing compassionate and equitable patient care to alleviate suffering in the Mwanza region. The partnership between Weill Cornell and Weill Bugando is of mutual benefit for both institutions by training the next generation of Tanzanian physicians and by expanding the awareness and skills of Weill Cornell faculty, residents, and students as they work in a resource-poor setting. Each year, approximately 30 NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell clinical residents visit Bugando to teach on the wards and conduct tutorials in internal medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, ophthalmology, psychiatry and surgery.
Weill Cornell Medical College faculty and students provide training and resources for the Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Center. Recently, a team under the direction of Dr. Roger Härtl offered equipment, technical assistance and training in neurosurgery. "It was the first time a neurosurgeon had been inside the hospital, despite the fact that around 15 million people rely on it for specialty care," says Dr. Härtl, the Leonard and Fleur Harlan Clinical Scholar in Neurological Surgery and associate professor of neurological surgery at Weill Cornell Medical College and chief of spinal surgery and co-director of the Spine Center at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center. "Our ongoing goal is to train Tanzanian physicians to perform lifesaving spinal and brain procedures, and to overcome the barriers to neurosurgical care for patients in rural Tanzania, especially for head and spinal trauma, congenital deformities and hydrocephalus."
Global Health at Weill Cornell
Weill Cornell Medical College students and faculty are active in more than 15 countries around the world. Notably, Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar is the first American medical school overseas. The Weill Cornell-affiliated GHESKIO clinic in Haiti -- recently the focus of disaster recovery efforts following the devastating earthquake there -- was the first AIDS clinic established in a developing country, having opened its doors in 1985. In addition, the College has sustained research collaboration in Brazil for more than 45 years and is active with partner institutions in countries including India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Panama and Peru.
Currently in its pilot year, the global health curriculum ( at Weill Cornell provides an introduction to global health issues that is unique among its peer institutions and facilitates opportunities for students to contextualize and expand upon their global health experiences. Classes include a first-year elective for medical students on the on the social, economic, political, clinical and scientific issues in global health, as well as a course for fourth-year students aimed at giving them clinical skills specific for resource-poor settings. Nearly half of Weill Cornell medical students complete electives internationally and the vast majority do so in resource-poor settings.
A key component of this curriculum has been the Global Health Grand Rounds, a public lecture series that allows students, residents, faculty and community members to discuss pressing global health issues with leaders in the field. Following each Grand Rounds, students get private time with the speaker to candidly discuss the challenges and opportunities for career development and global health service. Past speakers have included John Kufuor, former president of Ghana; Dr. Joia Mukherjee, medical director of Partners in Health; Dr. David Skorton, president of Cornell University; and Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University.
Instrumental in arranging President Kikwete's lecture was the Grand Rounds committee, including students Rachelle Tomei, Anna Sophia McKenney, Naomi Shike, and Allesandra Calvo-Friedman; Dr. Roger Hartl; and Dr. Estomih Mtui, associate professor of clinical anatomy at Weill Cornell Medical College and at the Hospital for Special Surgery. Dr. Mtui is also a leader of Weill Cornell's affiliation with Bugando Medical Center in Tanzania, where he trains medical students to care for the poor and underserved.
The global health curriculum was designed by a student-faculty-resident steering committee that includes Dr. Warren Johnson; Dr. Madelon Finkel, director of the Office of Global Health Education and professor of clinical public health at Weill Cornell Medical College; and Dr. Oliver Fein, associate dean for affiliations and professor of medicine and clinical public health at Weill Cornell Medical College; and Liz Francis, global health fellow. The Global Health Grand Rounds are sponsored by the Medical Student Executive Committee, the Global Emergency Medicine Program at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital Emergency Residency, the Office of Global Health Education, the Center for Global Health and the Department of Neurology.
President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete
Colonel Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete is president of the United Republic of Tanzania. His administration has focused on increasing access to education by building secondary schools and a science university in Dodoma, central Tanzania. He also initiated a national campaign for voluntary HIV/AIDS testing and appeared on national television with the first lady of Tanzania to take an HIV test in order to break the stigma of testing. These efforts are supported by the United States and the United Kingdom and have been recognized by the Africa-America Institute, which awarded to Tanzania its Africa National Achievement Award in 2007. President Kikwete served as chairperson of the African Union from 2008 to 2009, during which time he brokered a peace agreement in Kenya, ending a two-month political crisis there.
President Kikwete attended the University of Dar es Salaam, where he earned a degree in economics. He held various positions in the Tanzanian military and politics, including as minister of foreign affairs and international cooperation from 1995 until 2005, when he was elected president.
Weill Cornell Medical College
Weill Cornell Medical College, Cornell University's medical school located in New York City, is committed to excellence in research, teaching, patient care and the advancement of the art and science of medicine, locally, nationally and globally. Physicians and scientists of Weill Cornell Medical College are engaged in cutting-edge research from bench to bedside, aimed at unlocking mysteries of the human body in health and sickness and toward developing new treatments and prevention strategies. In its commitment to global health and education, Weill Cornell has a strong presence in places such as Qatar, Tanzania, Haiti, Brazil, Austria and Turkey. Through the historic Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, the Medical College is the first in the U.S. to offer its M.D. degree overseas. Weill Cornell is the birthplace of many medical advances -- including the development of the Pap test for cervical cancer, the synthesis of penicillin, the first successful embryo-biopsy pregnancy and birth in the U.S., the first clinical trial of gene therapy for Parkinson's disease, and most recently, the world's first successful use of deep brain stimulation to treat a minimally conscious brain-injured patient. Weill Cornell Medical College is affiliated with NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, where its faculty provides comprehensive patient care at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center. The Medical College is also affiliated with the Methodist Hospital in Houston, making Weill Cornell one of only two medical colleges in the country affiliated with two U.S.News & World Report Honor Roll hospitals. For more information, visit

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