Field Notes, Update

Legos, AI, and STEM-winders

The info hub for the hub of global health

Building blocks

International Rescue Committee and LEGO Foundation are partnering to bring play-based learning to children affected by the humanitarian crises in Ethiopia and Uganda. PlayMatters is designed to strengthen kids’ resilience by building mental, emotional, and physical skills. And in case you think Legos are just for kids, think again.

Mother, may I?

South Seattle is home to many immigrant and refugee communities but has some of the worst health outcomes for moms and babies. Mama Amaan, Somali for “safe motherhood,” is a community-led program to provide resources for prenatal and postpartum care. It’s supported by the Somali Health Board, University of Washington (UW) Department of Global Health, and Health Alliance International.

Venezuelan moms and babies who immigrate to Colombia will soon get much-needed medical care too, thanks to Medical Teams International which is working with the Colombian government to train community health workers and provide services.

Nepali yuwa

Youth. In Brooklyn, it’s yutes. In Nepal, it’s yuwa.

Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands is developing a partnership with YUWA, a youth-run, youth-led organization to spread the word about sexual and reproductive health.

And Adara is working to keep Nepali girls in school by teaching girls and boys about menstruation and upgrading school facilities to be more inclusive.


  • Tell your kids: Summer STEM activities fill up like your favorite summer camps. Check out these opportunities now — deadlines are quickly approaching.
    P.S. If you have other STEM activities for students, send them our way.
  • Tell their teachers: Educators can earn 6 WA STEM clock hours while doing hands-on activities to bring global health into their classrooms. Tell the teachers in your life to register for WGHA’s STEM Global Educator Workshop, and join us Saturday, April 4, at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Discovery Center.
  • Tell your colleagues: WGHA will host the first 2020 STEM Global Public Engagement Training on April 21 for health scientists who want a few hacks for talking about their work with the average Joe.

It’s morning in Redmond

Microsoft’s official launch of its AI for Health program featured a few of Washington’s global health dreamers and doers. In the mix were Microsoft’s inaugural set of grantees, including Seattle Children’s Research Institute’s Dr. Nino Ramirez and Fred Hutch’s Dr. Raphael Gottardo. Colleagues from the University of Washington, the Bill & Melinda Gates FoundationPATH, and other WGHA members were also at the launch webinar in Redmond. The focus is to marry the power of AI and the cloud with the expertise in health science to improve global health discovery, insights, and equity. How very Washington state!

Get smart about what AI can do for your organization with Forum One’s webinar on February 19.

Coronavirus hot spot

  • Declaration: the World Health Organization declared coronavirus a public health emergency.  It’s the fifth outbreak ever declared at this level, and face masks are flying off of shelves. (Also, don’t do that.)
  • Action: The Gates Foundation committed $100 million to help detect, isolate, and treat coronavirus globally. The funds will be split between partners in Africa and Asia to support the frontline response.
  • Caution: Health Officer, Seattle-King Jeff Duchin reminds us to be careful.
  • Education: Stay in the know at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s coronavirus page.

News worthy

Think Global Health is a new collaborative website for global health trends and updates. This project by the Council on Foreign Relations and Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation features topics ranging from environment and urbanization to aging and food.

Award worthy

Five students were recognized as the 2020 Global Healthies for innovative projects addressing challenges from dengue fever to epidemic preparedness to Cambodian kiln workers. At the UW Department of Global Health’s biggest event of the year, nearly 200 people, including 20 local global health organizations, came out to meet tomorrow’s global health leaders.

People on the move

  • Dr. Dori Borjesson will be moving north from the University of California Davis’ School of Veterinary Medicine to serve as the new dean of Washington State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.
  • Margaret McCormick, PhD, executive director and chief operating officer of Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason, takes the gavel as board chair for Life Science Washington.

Around town

  • Feb. 12: Discover how to fight food allergies with Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason at the Life Science Committee meeting.
  • Feb. 13: Participate in Resource Media’s Comms 4 Change to learn about ethical communication.
  • Feb. 13 – 16: Volunteer at the Seattle/King County Clinic.
  • Feb. 20: Grab a beer (and learn the science behind it) at Science on Tap with Life Science Washington.
  • Feb. 27: Join fellow communicators for WGHA’s first Communicators Roundtable of the year. WGHA members only.
  • Feb. 27: Stop by Cambia Grove’s open house to connect with others in the health care community.
  • Mar. 24: Widen your knowledge of Seattle’s global health community and meet fellow newbies at WGHA’s Launch.  For recent hires at WGHA member organizations.

Good health is a duty to yourself, to your contemporaries, to your inheritors, to the progress of the world.

Gwendolyn Brooks, first African American to win a Pulitzer Prize

Do you have a tip for Field Notes? Send it to Jayanna Thompson, jayanna.thompson@wghalliance.org

Copyright © 2019 Washington Global Health Alliance, All rights reserved.

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