Department News | Global Health
College of Public Health · Global Health

Dr. Boo Kwa's China Course 2010


The Department of Global Health, USF College of Public Health, in collaboration with the USF Confucius Institute and Nankai University, led a group of USF students to Tianjin, China for three weeks this summer to study the major public health issues facing the People’s Republic of China. The course was called “Global Health Challenges: China Case Study - Field Course” and was led by Dr. Boo Kwa, Chair of Global Health, from May 17 to June 8, 2010.

They examined public health issues in China from a number of perspectives, including healthcare financing reforms; environmental monitoring; migrant labor health insurance; Traditional Chinese Medicine practiced in an integrated hospital setting; industrial hygiene and safety in a joint-venture factory and the Port of Tianjin; rural health clinics in a rural farming community in Hebei Province; a nursing home for the elderly; the local Public Health Bureau; and the Tianjin Women's Business Incubator, which is an organization set up to promote entrepreneurship for laid-off female workers. The course covered a wide range of China's efforts to modernize its public health infrastructure, and the students were able to witness this Herculean process in a country of 1.3 billion people from the ground level.

The students from USF were each partnered with a Nankai student to work on a joint research topic. A sampling includes Mental Health Issues in China; Food Safety Regulations; Impact of the One Child Policy on care for the Elderly Population; among others. The USF students presented their assignments in seminars to their USF and Nankai peers and faculty, and some gave joint presentations with their Nankai partners on their projects. Weekends were devoted to excursions to scenic and historical places including the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, the Ming Tombs, Summer Palace, the Temple of Heaven, Tiananmen Square, the Olympic Park, the Tianjin Exhibition Center and Tianjin Drum Tower Cultural District. The students also enjoyed fun activities like a rickshaw ride through the “hutongs” (ancient alleyways and courtyard homes) of Old Beijing, a Peking Opera performance and most rode on the 335 km/hr bullet train from Tianjin to Beijing, currently the world’s fastest train in operation.

Nisbett Working on CDI Interventions with Liberian Colleagues


Ran Nisbett is working with Liberian colleagues on a W.H.O./TDR and USF/CoPH funded project on community-directed interventions (CDI) in Liberia. The key Liberian leaders are Dr. Stephen Kennedy and Mr. Fulton Shannon of UL-PIRE at the University of Liberia and Mr. Benjamin Soko of the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare.

The team is conducting formative phase health-needs assessments and community-capacity studies in 10 communities in urban Monrovia in preparation for implementing CDIs for the diseases of poverty. The Liberian team is part of a 4-country collaboration to adapt W.H.O/TDR's highly effective rural CDI to urban Africa where the refugia for many infectious diseases such as malaria will persist in underserved and hard-to-reach populations.

PAHO Health in the Americas Course

Classrooms are a-buzz this month as we extend a warm welcome to twelve Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) administrators, and four of our own students. All are here to take a three-week course on “Health in the Americas”. The course is a joint project of the Department of Global Health, College of Public Health and PAHO, a Regional Office of the World Health Organization.

Every five years, PAHO, as official depository of morbidity and mortality data from all its member countries and territories, publishes a report entitled “Health in the Americas”. This comprehensive report tracks and analyzes the Region’s health situation to facilitate policy recommendations and strategies needed to improve the health conditions in the Region’s communities.

Using the “Health in the Americas” publication, students will deeply analyze differences in the health situation among the Region’s countries and characterize the most relevant health determinants. Recognizing health as a human right, students will take into consideration both the individual and community contexts while examining critical determinants of health, including biological, social, cultural, economic and political. The students will also examine the data for existence of gaps, disparities and inequities in the Region, especially those related to nutrition, housing and access to health services, the lack of opportunities for human development, and how these factors contribute to greater vulnerability to diseases and health risks for some populations.

The course consists of eleven blocks contained in fifteen sessions. Each session includes three hours of lecture after which students are reconvened for group discussions, or group presentations concerning their health analysis assignments. Below is a list of topics and the faculty in charge:

Block 1: Health Analysis Methods (Chair: Dr. Wayne Westhoff)
Block 2: Demography, Population Trends and Life tables (Chair: Wayne Westhoff)
Block 3: Health within the Context of Development (Chair: Dr. Wayne Westhoff)
Block 4: Situation of Communicable Diseases (Chair: Dr. Boo Kwa)
Block 5: Chronic Non-communicable Diseases and Their Main Risk Factors (Chair: Dr. Jaime Corvin)
Block 6: Behavioral Health Risks (Chair: Dr. Richard Nisbett)
Block 7: Sustainable Development and Environmental Health (Chair: Dr. Wayne Westhoff)
Block 8: Public Policies and Health Care Systems (Chair: Dr. Ricardo Izurieta)
Block 9: Medicines, Health Care Technologies and Research (Chair: Dr. Ricardo Izurieta)
Block 10: Initiatives to Improve Population Health. (Chair: Dr. Alfonso Ruiz)
Block 11: Final Discussion

Global Health Doctoral Student Receives Prestigious Scholarship

Doctoral Global Health student joins the Erasmus Mundus Joint Doctorates to address global public health problems in a combined effort with scientists from the University Cassino - Italy, University Paris-Est -France, and UNESCO-IHE- The Netherlands

Ms. Wendy Mussoline, currently a doctoral candidate in the Department of Global Health, is embarking on an opportunity to study in Europe for the next 3 years. She will maintain her status as a USF Global Health doctoral student while joining a team of 12 international students that have been invited to participate in a prestigious scholarship program known as Erasmus Mundus Joint Doctorates. She will begin the joint doctoral program on November 1, 2010. The focus of the program is Environmental Technologies for Contaminated Solids, Soils and Sediments (EteTCoS³). The program provides education and research at PhD level, training its doctoral candidates to think globally and co-work in multidisciplinary research teams.

EteTCoS³ is centered around three key topics in environmental pollution: i) heavy metals, ii) recalcitrant organic pollutants and iii) contaminated solids. The program focuses on fundamental and applied aspects to treat and remove these pollutants as well as on the development of recovery and reuse technologies with market potential. There will be a close connection to practical problems - for example, hot spots in the Balkans, brown fields in the Czech Republic and sediments and soils polluted by mining activities in Minas Gerais (Brazil).

ETeCoS3 is a multidisciplinary and inter-sectoral consortium composed of three partner organizations (University Cassino - Italy, University Paris-Est - France, UNESCO-IHE- The Netherlands). Wendy's host institution is the University Cassino, where she will spend the majority of her time; however, she will also spend 6 months studying in Delft, The Netherlands, at UNESCO-IHE and Acqua & Sole in Italy. Successful completion of the PhD program will be awarded as a fully recognized and accredited joint Doctoral Degree in Environmental Technology.

The opportunity to participate in this joint doctoral program arose out of an international research experience for students (IRES) program that Wendy participated in for 11 weeks during summer 2009. The summer program is sponsored by the National Science Foundation and it is an ongoing partnership between USF and UNESCO-IHE in Delft, The Netherlands. The collaborators of this program included Dr. Daniel Yeh (Civil & Environmental Engineering) and Dr. Ricardo Izurieta (Global Health).

China Global Health Challenges May 11 - June 8, 2011

Program Overview

Imagine trekking China's Great Wall and basking in the splendor of the Forbidden City while you explore the modern practices of public health in a quickly developing future world superpower. Join USF Public Health this summer at Nankai University as it takes students to key health- and medical-related sites, including: Tianjin Bureau of Public Health; Traditional Chinese Medicine Clinic; Tianjin Women's Business Incubator; a Rural Health Clinic and a Chinese Center for Disease Control agency office, among other visits. Students from the Zhou Enlai School of Government will participate with students in program activities and visits, allowing USF students to meet Chinese cohorts and to gain a more personal view of China's healthcare system. The course will be conducted at Nankai University in Tianjin, China, by faculty from Nankai and USF Professor, Dr. Boo Kwa.

Students will also spend a weekend in Beijing visiting the major cultural and historic sites such as the Forbidden Palace, the Great Wall, the Summer Palace, Chinese opera among other sites.

Please Click Here to read the flyer.

Global Disaster Management Humanitarian Assistance Online Program

Reduced Rate!!! Great news! We have just received confirmation from the Dean for Finance that out of state students in the Global Disaster and Humanitarian Relief concentration will be paying considerably less money come fall semester. In keeping with our promise to Public Health Service Officers, military personnel and other out of state students the online program has been approved at a much lower rate. If you are interested in learning more about the program and the new cost please contact Dr. Wayne Westhoff ( or Jessica Parkhurst ( for specific details.

To view the flyer Click Here

Global Health Student Field Work: Developing of Critical Technologies for Satiation, Energy, and Food Production


As part of her research in the Erasmus Mundus Joint PhD Program, Wendy Mussoline (Department of Global Health) is currently running a full-scale biogas plant in the rice fields in Northern Italy. She plans to spend the year in Giussago, a rural farming community just south of Milan, gleaning information about the advanced biogas technologies currently being implemented in Europe.

The biogas plant is the first of its kind using rice straw as the substrate and piggery wastewater for nutrients and microbiological activity. The anaerobic digesters are filled with approximately 1,000 tons of rice straw. The biogas collected from the digesters is converted to electricity on-site then sold to the local power company. Wendy is conducting research on how to maximize gas production by utilizing the thermal energy produced in the biogas conversion process to create mesophilic (i.e. 35°C) conditions inside the digester.

She is also experimenting with various recirculation strategies of the piggery wastewater to determine the best way to distribute nutrients and heat into the system. As part of her research, Wendy also intends to investigate any health impacts associated with the use of digestate (i.e. residual product) as fertilizer for food crops. The program is three years in length and involves mobility between different European countries in both academic and industry settings.