The 2009 Award for Excellence in Global Health was given to three outstanding, local leaders in the global health arena this year. The awards were given Oct. 1 at the kickoff event of the second annual Global Health Symposium hosted by the Colorado School of Public Health’s Center for Global Health and Physician Assistants for Global Health. The three-day symposium features leaders in primary care, dental medicine, business, public health and many other disciplines, who come together to better understand the breadth and depth of local initiatives undertaken by professionals who address issues facing global health.

“This award is to recognize locally-based individuals, institutions or organizations that have made a significant and exemplary contribution to the improvement of the health of multiple populations over an extended period of time,” said Cal Wilson, MD, director of the Center for Global Health at the Colorado School of Public Health and associate professor of Family Medicine for CU Denver’s School of Medicine.

Eric Simoes, MD, professor of Pediatric Infectious Disease at the University of Colorado Denver’s School of Medicine, has dedicated his career to improving health throughout the world, particularly the health of children.

Simoes’ work focuses on the reduction of childhood deaths from pneumonia and acute lower respiratory infections. His early work with the World Health Organization (WHO) led to the development of a global health strategy, “The Integrated Management of Childhood Illness” (IMCI), to recognize and treat all the major illnesses in children that can lead to death. Simoes’ efforts resulted in increased availability of trained health care workers in areas of the world where there is little to no access to health care.

Drs. Gretchen and Warren Berggren were honored for their work serving large populations in developing nations such as the Congo, Haiti and Ethiopia.

During their time in the Congo in the 1960s, Gretchen and Warren Berggren saw the potential impact of public health and preventive medicine as they served nearly 200,000 people, 80 percent of whom had preventable diseases and conditions. They began a training program for “physician extenders” to assist and perform procedures on patients in need.

Their work in Haiti resulted in the mortality rate for 1- to 4-year-olds decreasing by half thanks to oral rehydration methods and community-based nutrition rehabilitation. Additionally, universal tetanus immunizations of expecting mothers brought the tetanus rate down significantly. Here they also enlisted the help of “extenders” and recruited village volunteer women and community health workers to provide primary care and report every pregnancy, birth, and death. The preventative program was later replicated by Haiti’s Ministry of Health.

About the Center for Global Health
The Center for Global Health at the Colorado School of Public Health focuses on the education of physicians in the developing world and the preparation of U.S. students and health professionals for global health work. The Center supports the Global Health Track of the CU Denver School of Medicine which currently has 54 participants, as well as a variety of course offerings in global health topics.

About the Colorado School of Public Health
The new Colorado School of Public Health is the first and only school of public health in the Rocky Mountain Region, attracting top tier faculty and students from across the country, and providing a vital contribution towards ensuring our region’s health and well-being. Collaboratively formed by the University of Colorado Denver, Colorado State University, and the University of Northern Colorado, the Colorado School of Public Health provides training, innovative research and community service to actively address public health issues, including chronic disease, access to health care, environmental threats, emerging infectious diseases, and costly injuries.

Contact: Tonya Ewers-Maikish, 303.315.6374, [email protected]

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