LEADING THE WAY: Bradford Kerry announcing the Global Health Service Partnership in Washington, D.C.
The World Health Organization estimates that 57 countries suffer critical shortages of health care professionals, shortages that equate to a total deficit of 2.4 million caregivers worldwide. The Peace Corps, the U.S. Presidents’ Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the Global Health Service Corps announced March 13 that they have launched an innovative public-private partnership to increase the availability of trained physicians and nurses overseas.
The Global Health Service Partnership (GHSP) will recruit, send and support U.S. physicians, nurses and other health professionals to serve as medical educators, trainers and faculty abroad. Vanessa Bradford Kerry, MD, associate director of Partnerships and Global Initiatives at the MGH Center for Global Health, will serve as the private partner lead.
“The shortage of health professionals is profound in many areas of the world, and sadly worst where the global burden of disease is highest,” said Bradford Kerry at the program’s launch in Washington, D.C. “These shortages limit the ability of developing countries to deliver even basic health care let alone respond to new, unforeseen epidemics. There is a great interest among U.S. health professionals who have both the commitment and expertise to serve abroad and help make a difference. The GHSP helps harness this dedication by strengthening existing nursing and medical education programs to create a force multiplier effect.”
GHSP volunteers will receive the same benefits as Peace Corps Response volunteers including monthly living stipends, transportation to and from their country of service, and technical training and support. The program is expected to begin in Tanzania, Malawi and Uganda in July 2013 with participants serving one-year assignments. The Peace Corps initially plans to deploy 25 to 30 nurse and physician educators, with four times that many serving in six or more countries within three years.
“In my view, this is one of the most exciting public health initiatives since PEPFAR,” said David Bangsberg, MD, MPH, director of the MGH Center for Global Health. “We’re thrilled to have Vanessa spearhead this init
Read more articles from the 03/16/12 Hotline issue.