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Dr. Jim Yong Kim
Dr. Jim Yong Kim , photo by Robin Holland
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September 11, 2009

While the nation focused on analyzing and reanalyzing the President's speech on health care reform, some important news about global health crossed the wires. According to UNICEF, the number of children dying before their fifth birthdays each year has fallen below nine million for the first time on record, a significant milestone in the global effort to improve children’s chances of survival.

That news is due to the efforts of global health crusaders like Dartmouth College president Dr. Jim Yong Kim. But the lessons of global health and the current battle over American health reform are not mutually exclusive, as Dr. Kim tells Bill Moyers:
One of the things that we've learned is that community health workers, which are really members of the community who help people go through very difficult treatment regimens, this can work anywhere. We've done it first in Haiti. Then we did it in Peru. And then in Africa. But most remarkably, we've also implemented that program in Boston, and are now thinking of implementing it on the Navajo reservation in New Mexico...Having someone who just visits every day, just to make sure that you're taking your medicines and you're doing okay, that has a huge payoff down the line in terms of overall health outcomes.

Dr. Jim Yong Kim, an internationally recognized physician and humanitarian and an accomplished educator and anthropologist, will become the 17th president of Dartmouth College (inauguration on September 22, 2009).

Dr. Kim, 49, has had a profound impact on a wide range of organizations throughout his distinguished career, including, among others, the Harvard Medical School, the World Health Organization and Partners In Health, a non-profit organization that supports health programs in poor communities worldwide. He is widely respected for his leadership in the fight against HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and other diseases.

Dr. Kim's academic, humanitarian and global health work has earned him widespread recognition. He was awarded a MacArthur "Genius" Fellowship in 2003; was named one of America's 25 "Best Leaders" by US NEWS & WORLD REPORT in 2005; and was selected as one of TIME magazine's "100 Most Influential People in the World" in 2006.

Partners in Health

Partners in Health(PIH) was founded in 1987, two years after the Clinique Bon Sauveur was set up in Cange, Haiti, to deliver health care to the residents of the mountainous Central Plateau. PIH co-founders had been working in the area for years. The Clinic was just the first of an arc of successful projects designed to address the health care needs of the residents of the poorest area in Haiti. In the 20 years since then, PIH has expanded its operations to eight other sites in Haiti and five additional countries and has launched a number of other initiatives.

NOW on PBS presents a special on a Partners in Health's work with the government of Rwanda, the Clinton Foundation, and local rural communities to bring health care to those most in need on September 11, 2009. (Check local listings.)

Dr. Kim and Dr. Paul Farmer, founders of Partners in Health were also featured in the PBS special RX FOR SURVIVAL. You can find out more about their work, and the efforts of other crusaders for global health at the RX FOR SURVIVAL Web site.

Guest photo by Robin Holland.
Related Media:
Medical practitionersThe JOURNAL on Health care
Complete coverage of health care on BILL MOYERS JOURNAL.

Medical practitionersHope for the Congo?
THE JOURNAL takes viewers on the ground in the Democratic Republic of Congo to follow aid workers and local relief efforts that are bringing hope to a forgotten land. "The aid agencies are almost substituting for a social welfare system that hasn't operated in these areas for decades," says Dominic MacSorley, Emergency Director for Concern Worldwide, an international aid organization. (April 4, 2008)

Medical practitionersRx for Survival: A Global Health Challenge
This PBS series chronicles leaders who battle the most critical and emerging threats to global health and who, against all odds, deliver the goods.

References and Reading:

Dartmouth College: Office of the President
Dartmouth's Web site dedicated to the office of the president has a wealth of information about Jim Yong Kim and links to speeches, interviews and research reports.

Global Health

NOW Global Health: AIDS
Information on the global battle against AIDS including a policy timeline, statistics and a global health quiz.

Mapping Medical Costs
Explore the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice's atlas that documents "glaring variations in how medical resources are distributed and used in the United States."

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