For decades, Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health has been deeply engaged in addressing public health challenges around the world,. The Columbia name is recognized and respected by public health leaders and organizations on every continent.
In 2010, the School convened The Changing Landscape of Global Public Health, a conference that brought 125 thought leaders in global public health from 33 countries on 5 continents to the Columbia campus to create a vision for next-generation strategies and provide vital leadership for global public health in the decades ahead.
Mailman School faculty members work at the forefront of global public health research and practice on a vast array of issues. These range from the persistent threat of infectious diseases and the devastating health impacts of poverty, to emerging challenges of rapid urbanization, the expansion of globalized trade, the rise of non-communicable diseases, the impact of climate change, the effects of migration and displacement, and the consequences of unprecedented longevity for the world’s aging population.
The School has well-established partnerships, research initiatives, and field programs in 100 countries. This network provides our students with rich opportunities for research and on-the-ground involvement during their practicum experience or other fieldwork.
Because the School’s engagement in global issues is so robust across all its academic departments, the School launched the Global Health Initiative in 2010 to foster new interdisciplinary science and promote collaborations that can fundamentally reshape thought and practice in the field of global public health. The GHI is now opening up numerous additional opportunities for student engagement in global health issues.
Below are some of the Mailman School’s largest centers and most extensive programs addressing global health threats.
Dr. Wafaa El-Sadr is the driving force behind ICAP, which has served over 1 million people with HIV/AIDS at more than 1,200 sites across 21 countries around the world. ICAP was founded in 2002 at the Mailman School of Public Health, and has grown to expand its portfolio of global work as well as its geographic span. In 2008, Dr. El-Sadr was honored with a MacArthur “genius award” (see video) and she continues to inspire her students and provide vital international leadership.
Since 1999, the Averting Maternal Death and Disability Program (AMDD) has worked with partners in over 50 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America to strengthen national health systems to provide emergency care for all women experiencing life-threatening obstetric complications. Directed by Professor Lynn Freedman, the AMDD program conducts research and policy analysis, lends technical expertise, and advocates for solutions that reduce maternal and newborn mortality. Professor Freedman shares her passion for understanding health as a human right with her students. See video interview.
Recognizing the urgent health needs of populations displaced due to conflict or natural disasters, and especially of the children and young people forced to fight and to endure both physical and sexual violence, the Mailman School launched its Program on Forced Migration and Health in 1998. When a natural disaster strikes or war breaks out, the program’s director,
The Center for Infection and Immunity is dedicated to global research and training programs focused on pathogen surveillance and discovery, and to understanding how gene-environment-timing interactions contribute to health and disease. The Center was established at the Mailman School in 2002 by Dr.W. Ian Lipkin. Called a “master virus hunter” in a 2010 New York Times profile, Dr. Lipkin and his team have identified at least 400 previously unknown viruses. They use fragments of genetic material, often shipped from around the world, to identify a virus sometimes in a matter of only hours. Dr. Lipkin, who served as technical advisor on the film Contagion, played a key role as a consultant to the Chinese government to contain the crisis during the the SARS outbreak in 2003. See video interview.