“The world’s most famous and popular language is music,” South Korean rapper and songwriter Psy has said. It is also increasingly recognized as the world’s most accessible medicine, in part due to the diligent efforts of two of Utah’s own.
Seven months ago, Grzegorz Bulaj, an associate professor in medicinal chemistry, and Juan Diego High School junior Karl Schriewer published an article in Frontiers in Public Health advocating for music’s therapeutic value: journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fpubh.2016.00217/full They envision a Pandora or Spotify-like streaming service that uses an algorithm to select songs and musical pieces based on the mental health needs of the listener – happy and uplifting music with a positive valence for those struggling with depression, and relaxing for those in the throes of an anxiety attack, for instance. The music-streaming channel would also reflect the listener’s as well as the region’s musical preference.
Cervical cancer is almost eradicated in the developed world, where detection is made quickly and treatments are readily available. But, in the developing world, where doctors and equipment are scarce, many more women die of the disease — as many as 90 percent of the 250,000 women who die of it annually.
A transdisciplinary team of U students hopes to solve this problem with a new, portable, handheld treatment device.
Cineluma_PGIBBONS_Cancer 3They started building the device with a $500 grant as part of the Bench-2-Bedside competition run by the U’s Center for Medical Innovation, the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute and the College of Engineering. Now, they’re rapidly moving toward commercialization with a $15,000 first-place award from Bench-2-Bedside, vast support from industry experts, becoming the World Health Organization lead for cervical cancer and a new $2.4 million grant from the National Cancer Institute to study the device in Zambia.
The concept of deriving medically useful compounds from the natural resources around us has been something that humans as a species have pursued for nearly the entirety of our existence. In fact, the earliest records of using natural resources to heal can be traced back to the documentation of oils in Mesopotamia and into the highly detailed pharmaceutical records of ancient Egypt.
A collaboration between the University of Utah’s College of Engineering, Health Sciences Center, Technology Venture Development Program, and the David Eccles School of Business, The Center for Medical Innovation [CMI], is every entrepreneurial medical student’s wildest dream come true. The center provides not only the seed grants necessary to pursue new solutions to medical issues across the globe, but the facilities and equipment to take ideas from concept to prototype and beyond.
The ability to easily access continued higher education is often something that is taken for granted here in the United States. For professionals seeking additional education in their field, or even just a refresher course to re-affirm their skills, it can be as simple as signing up for a course at the nearest university.
For those in countries such as Ghana and throughout Sub-Saharan Africa, access to such courses is more complicated, and significantly more difficult to come by.
Mark Harris, Associate Professor in the University of Utah’s School of Medicine, first began working in Ghana and Sub-Saharan Africa 15 years ago through the International Anesthesia Education Forum [IAEF].
The University of Utah’s College of Nursing partnered with the Pronto International program to bring 10 nurses from Tanzania to participate in a simulation facilitation training program from June 14 to June 19, 2015.
The 10 nurses, who were working within the maternal and neonatal care program at Dixie State University for six weeks prior, were participating in an exchange program with the Tanzanian Nurses Association.
The University of Utah invited the non-profit organization Pronto International, to help facilitate the simulation training.
Surgery is one of those specialized fields that takes years of study, practice, and hard work to perform properly. It is an area of study that is often pursued by some of the strongest academic minds, and ultimately, it is a resource that too few people around the world have access to.
As the first Administrative Director of Global Health, Juan Carlos Negrette has been hard at work attempting not only to establish new international partnerships and opportunities within the Global Health community for the University of Utah, but also to create a sense of synergetic engagement across the health sciences with internationally involved staff and faculty of the university.
Negrette, whose role helping to lead the university’s Global Health initiative began Jan 1, 2015, has been spearheading a new plan for the University of Utah’s future within the field of Global Health. Negrette has already met with more than 60 staff and faculty from across both main campus and health sciences to lay out a roadmap to move forward as a global health community at the University of Utah.
For most students, college represents an opportunity to learn something that you can use for the rest of your life, possibly within a career that allows you to give back to the world.
But why wait?
For medical students at the University of Utah, the opportunity exists to not only make a difference after graduation, but to have an impact during their schooling.
“Many medical students come to the University of Utah with a desire to understand, appreciate and study health and healthcare outside of our borders,” said Ty Dickerson, Assistant Dean of Global Health Education and Associate Professor of Pediatrics at University of Utah School of Medicine. “To that end, we offer several didactic courses right here on our Utah campus for medical, graduate, and undergraduate students.”
The Division of Public Health of the University of Utah recently wrapped up a conference on leadership and community engagement in Ghana, Africa. The conference was focused on the prevention, and potential containment of Ebola, should the disease spread to the country.
Ebola tends to be one of those scary topics that brings with it a series of assumptions, a lack of professional knowledge amongst the general public, and for the most part, a lot of misinformation.