Global Health at Northwestern: Investing in the Future

Medical students who have benefitted from Global Health Initiative funding for global rotation experiences.

A record-breaking 300 patients, physicians, medical trainees, and supporters of the Global Health Initiative (GHI) Fund at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine gathered on October 4 at The Peninsula Chicago to celebrate the GHI and the impact of philanthropy over the past year. The GHI provides resources for global health research initiatives and education programs that benefit medical students, residents, fellows, and faculty members at Feinberg. Founded over nine years ago by Robert J. Havey, MD, assistant professor of Clinical Medicine, the Global Health Initiative has raised more than $1 million in philanthropic funds over the last year.

Dr. Havey and his fellow faculty physicians at Northwestern Medicine Primary & Specialty Care have given generously of their time and vision to support the GHI.

“One key principle we remind ourselves of every day is that each one of the 7 billion people on this planet deserves a chance to live a productive and healthy life,” said Dr. Havey.

Northwestern remains the number one school in the country in terms of the number of students participating in global health rotations—50 percent of Feinberg students participate in one month or longer global rotations.

Most Reverend Blase J. Cupich (right) with Global Health Initiative supporter Jack Sandner

“The GHI has a strong commitment to education of our medical students,” said Dr. Havey. “As the world grows smaller and global health issues become local health issues, it is increasingly important for our students to have global health experiences.”

Most Reverend Blase J. Cupich, Archbishop of Chicago, gave an invocation at the start of the evening’s festivities, praying for all those touched by the GHI as faculty, trainees and supporters “put our hands in the wounds of humanity. As they bring healing, they too are healed and given new life.”

Cancer Education and Care in Rural Tanzania

During the evening’s program, Brianna Knoll, a third-year Feinberg medical student and Kellogg master of business administration student, presented a glimpse into her experiences in rural Tanzania with three fellow Feinberg students. The group joined general surgeon Dr. Ziki Makoyo and his wife, Leah, who is a nurse. Working together in the Rural Aid Organization clinic, the students spread breast cancer awareness to the local Shirati community.

"We left Tanzania feeling that quality medicine should not be limited by geography, and lifesaving work should be made available to all,” said Ms. Knoll. “More importantly, all four of us walked away with a sense that, as physicians, we have an opportunity and responsibility to give back in powerful ways to our communities, however we define them and wherever they are located.”

Bill Kurtis, television journalist, producer, narrator, and news anchor, served as the evening’s emcee. He and Donna LaPietra also shot, edited, and narrated this year’s Global Health Initiative video.

The Institute for Global Health: Make a World of Difference

Dr. Havey presented a compelling vision for the new Institute for Global Health at Northwestern Medicine.

“To accomplish what needs to be done in the area of global health—to make the kind of impact that we know is possible—we need a sustainable, team-based organization. We need an Institute for Global Health,” he said.

The Institute for Global Health will serve as the epicenter for medical research, education, clinical care, and service for the entire medical school community, integrating with University-wide graduate and undergraduate programs to deliver an unprecedented interdisciplinary approach to solving global health problems. As such, the Institute will be regarded nationally and internationally as a premier academic leader in global health innovation and impact.

Through the work of its members across Northwestern University, the Institute will continue to create and inspire compassionate physicians capable of addressing the most pressing global health issues and disparities.

“As we have seen tonight, there is much more work yet to be done,” said Dr. Havey “The stark reality is that not doing enough can lead to failure, and in the high stakes world of global health, failure is just not an option.”

Members of the Global Health Initiative Host Committee Patrick G. Ryan and Andrew J. McKenna (left to right)

A group of 32 patrons graciously supported this year’s event, along with the five members of the GHI Host Committee whose outreach built a strong foundation upon which to realize the planned Institute for Global Health.

Global Health Initiative Host Committee

John W. Madigan
Andrew J. McKenna
J. Christopher Reyes
Patrick G. Ryan
John F. Sandner

Learn more about the Institute for Global Health.

Make a gift to the Global Health Initiative.