Global Health Initiative at UofL Highlighted March 13

Refugee health, international travel services provided by Department of Medicine

Released: 7-Mar-2014 1:25 PM EST
Source Newsroom: University of Louisville
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Newswise — LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Julio Ramirez, M.D., and Ruth Carrico, Ph.D., will discuss the University of Louisville Department of Medicine’s Global Health Initiative Thursday, March 13. The presentation will be made during Grand Rounds, beginning at 8 a.m. in the basement auditorium of the Ambulatory Care Building, 550 S. Jackson St. Admission is free.

Grand Rounds are a teaching tool in medical education, aiding in the dissemination of new knowledge and advances in medical research and clinical care. Held primarily for the benefit of students, residents and faculty, Grand Rounds are open to anyone and help promote excellence and quality in clinical care; introduce clinicians to recent advances in medical care; and provide updates on scientific advances that affect the practice of medicine.

Ramirez and Carrico will outline the activities of the Global Health Initiative (GHI) which includes patient services, teaching and research.

New to the GHI is an affiliation with the Kentucky Office of Refugees to provide health services to new refugees relocating to Louisville. These services include providing health screenings to children and adults and age-appropriate vaccines to adults and supporting existing health care systems to provide vaccines and school physicians for some refugee children.

This large interprofessional program involves medicine, nursing, public health and pharmacy students, residents, fellows, researchers and faculty. Since services with the Kentucky Office of Refugees began in 2013, the Department of Medicine has provided about 7,000 doses of vaccine to approximately 2,000 adult refugees and 800 doses of vaccine to about 200 children refugees.

Ramirez and Carrico also will discuss UofL’s Vaccine and International Travel Center. Located on the second floor of the Ambulatory Care Building, the center provides pre-travel, in-travel and post-travel services to patients, particularly those traveling outside the United States.

The travel center provides necessary immunizations for travel and keeps abreast of health conditions worldwide as reported by the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The travel center also provides tuberculosis and HIV testing and blood typing.

Travel center staff also are available to travelers during and after their travel and they provide health evaluations post-travel as well.

The clinic also partners with a non-profit organization, Water With Blessings, to provide personal water filtration systems to travelers. Clinic clients may purchase high-quality personal water filtration devices with a UofL water bottle. The purchase then enables Water With Blessings to equip mothers in countries with substandard water with larger, long-lasting family-size filters. Those mothers use the system for their own families and also pay it forward by filtering for other families.

The Vaccine and International Travel Center also is on the forefront of research in infectious diseases. It is one of only 100 sites in the United States conducting a clinical trial involving a vaccine against Clostridium difficile, an emerging infection that is capable of causing severe disease and death.

This clinical trial began in 2013 and involves use of a vaccine deemed so effective in early testing that it has been fast tracked by the Food and Drug Administration. At UofL, the vaccine center is enrolling participants in the study and will follow them for up to three years.

Ramirez is professor and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases in the UofL Department of Medicine. Carrico, who also is a registered nurse, is associate professor of medicine and clinical director of the Vaccine and International Travel Center. Both practice with University of Louisville Physicians-Infectious Diseases.


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