Celebrating Global Health Week
Keynote speaker’s advice: “Get the right training and do field work.”
Highlighting a week’s worth of events surrounding Global Health Day 2014 on April 10 is keynote speaker Kevin DeCock, MD, director of the CDC’s Kenya office and division of Global HIV/AIDS Kenya.
Raksha Adhikari, a master’s student in Global Disease Epidemiology and Control, had the opportunity to ask a few advance questions of Dr. DeCock, on behalf of her Bloomberg School classmates. “I value the importance of global health, having spent the majority of my life in Nepal,” Adhikari says. “The mix of visiting speakers who come to the school is remarkable, and greatly adds to my education here.”
Q: What are the biggest challenges today in HIV/AIDS?
A: A lack of sustained commitment and ownership by governments of heavily affected countries, homophobia in Africa, lack of commitment to harm reduction, continued high incidence globally in MSM (men who have sex with men) and lack of commitment to HIV/AIDS prevention by MSM community itself.
Q: In a career with many highlights, can you talk about one in particular?
A: I spent 5 years in Abidjan, 1988-1993, where I set up a CDC research site Project RETRO-CI. It was a very productive and exciting time, riding the HIV/AIDS epidemic wave in West Africa's epicenter, and trying to learn about HIV-2.
Q: What advice or insight can you share with students?
A: It is a great time in global health with enormous opportunities. Pay your dues: Get the right training and do field work. You may have to accept less than what you want at first or even volunteer. Make sure you can always get a job in your own country. Accept that life in global health can be unpredictable, even dangerous sometimes. If stability and certainty are important, it is better to work on diabetes.”
Dr. Kevin DeCock will present "HIV/AIDS in Africa - a paradigm in global health" at noon on April 10 in Sommer Hall.