Field Notes, Update

Pioneers awardees, wood-eating clams, and “the talk”

The info hub for the hub of global health

The votes are in

Meet the 2020 Pioneers of Global Health awardees! They include a research nutritionist and registered dietitian who is establishing systems for vulnerable newborns to access human milk through integrated milk bank programs as a critical approach for saving newborn lives, a 35-year Harborview trauma nurse who is improving health outcomes and reducing health disparities during COVID-19 and beyond, and an organization that is strengthening health care delivery at the “last mile” so that health workers have the medicines and vaccines needed for communities to thrive.

  • Award for Impact: Oneda Harris, University of Washington—Harborview Medical Center
  • Rising Leader: Kimberly Mansen, PATH
  • Outstanding Organization: VillageReach

The 2020 Pioneers of Global Health awardees bring talent, innovation, and dedication to improving health equity at home and around the world.

Join us to celebrate the awardees virtually at the Pioneers of Global Health: Quarantine Edition on Wednesday, October 28!

Happy as a wood-eating clam

A newly discovered compound found in wood-eating clams can kill parasites responsible for some of the most common infections causing malaria and diarrhea. This compound is unique because it works against the group of Apicomplexan parasites instead of just a single parasite. These parasites infect millions of animals and humans each year and quickly develop drug resistance, so Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine won’t be clamming up about this big discovery anytime soon.

The nature of the yeast

It turns out that fatter is better—in older yeast cells, at least. Fred Hutch’s latest research shows that middle-aged yeast cells with more fat handled stress better than the cells without fat. Researchers caution against extrapolating too much to human cells, but there may be a plus side to enjoying that extra donut.

Seeing clearly

When sight-restoring surgeries were put on hold during the COVID-19 pandemic, SightLife’s 637 community health workers in India didn’t bat an eye. They quickly expanded their care to include educating the community on how to prevent COVID-19, the importance of handwashing, and the right way to wear facemasks. One health worker even screened patients and cooked meals for a local quarantine facility.

Tackling taboos

In rural Zambia, over 1,000 young people will soon have access to information on sexual and reproductive health and services. Amplio, Arm, VSO, and the Ministry of Health are using Talking Books to tackle sexual health taboos and high rates of teen pregnancy. We don’t know about you, but we’d prefer Talking Books to the awkward “talk” we got from our parents.


Your time is now

The next four days could be life changing. Don’t miss your chance to join the new cohort of Washington Research Foundation (WRF) Postdoctoral Fellows! WRF is looking for 10 creative postdocs to solve critical life science problems. It’s offering up to three years of funding so you can work on your own project at one of our state’s top institutions.

Apply by June 30 to make a difference in global health.


Data talks

Laina Mercer, a public health statistician at PATH, collaborated on a study that spotlighted the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 in Black communities in the United States. The team reviewed data from over 3,000 counties and found that the quarter of counties with predominantly Black residents made up over half of the cases. Because these numbers affect where funding goes, collecting accurate data is critical to getting resources into the communities that need them most.

Let’s make sure it’s telling the whole story

So, how do we make sure that data and algorithms aren’t racist? RTI International shares five tips on how to be an anti-racist data scientist. Only 3% of data scientists identify as Black, so it’s up to allies to find and fix inequalities in the data world.

A breath of fresh air

Air filtration has been a hot topic during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the University of Washington (UW) might have the answer. UW received a patent for its new air filtration technology that removes air pollution, including viruses like the novel coronavirus. The system uses less energy and has lower costs. Breathe easy.

People on the move

  • Pamela Collins is the new executive director of the International Training and Education Center for Health (I-TECH) in the UW Department of Global Health as Ann Downer, leader and co-founder of I-TECH, retires.
  • Michael Behr is the summer intern (and current Seattle University student) at Minerva Strategies.

Around town

“I’m no longer accepting the things I cannot change…I’m changing the things I cannot accept.”

Angela Davis

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

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