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IHSD Chair's Message - Spring 2022

Dr. David Hotchkiss, Chair of International Health and Sustainable Development

Dear Alumni and Friends,

Welcome to the first edition of the Department of International Health and Sustainable Development’s (IHSD) newsletter. It is hard to believe that it’s been over twenty-seven years since I joined the Tulane faculty in 1994 as a member of the original Department of International Health and Development. That’s a long time!  However, with the creation of the new IHSD department last summer, this year feels like a fresh beginning, and I wanted to take this opportunity to share news on the changes that have occurred as well as new initiatives that are underway.

Of course, the biggest change has been the launch of the IHSD department effective July 1, 2021. Prior to that time, the international health and development program was housed in Department of Global Community Health and Behavioral Sciences (GCHB). As part of the strategic plan to strengthen the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine’s (SPHTM) academic offerings, GCHB was divided into two departments – the IHSD department and the Department of Social, Behavioral, and Population Sciences – with the aim of better serving students and better aligning the teaching faculty. The new IHSD department, for which I serve as chair and Dr. Mai Do serves as vice chair, provides us with an excellent opportunity to bring greater attention to our current research and capacity building work in international settings and to the school’s long and distinguished history as a leader in field of international health and development. The addition of “sustainable development” to the title of the department also better reflects our long-standing focus on capacity building and the deep connections faculty hold with ministries of health and non-government organizations in many different countries.

Since the fall of 2021, the MPH Program, in which Dr. Eva Silvestre serves as the director, has shifted seamlessly to the new department. In addition, we have added sustainable development as a concentration area, and are exploring ways to strengthening our curriculum to further build marketable competencies in several areas that have been the focus of our technical assistance and evaluation activities in various countries, including resiliency, health systems strengthening, and routine health information systems. 

We are also excited to welcome the first cohort of students to the new PhD program in IHSD, starting in the fall of 2022. The doctoral program, directed by Dr. Paul Hutchinson, will provide students with the theoretical knowledge and methodological skills to conduct original research studies in resource-constrained settings and to leverage research findings so that they are used to for making decisions on best practices and strategic planning for global health programs. The program will also train students to be effective teachers and grant writers. Thus far, interest in the program has been very strong, as IHSD received the second most applications of any SPHTM doctoral program in this year’s admissions cycle. 

Meanwhile, our sponsored research projects, many of which focus on monitoring and evaluation of family planning, social and behavioral change, and health systems strengthening programs, are continuing to collect and analyze data, and disseminate findings to the public health and health systems strengthening communities. We also continue to be engaged in capacity building initiatives in several low- and middle-income countries. 

We are excited about opportunities to connect and re-connect with many of you! If you find yourself in New Orleans, please drop by and say hello to old friends!  Or we might run into each other at an airport in who knows where or at a public health conference during our travels.  And please be in touch with your news and ways we might collaborate.

David Hotchkiss
Professor and Chair