Work of UB’s Community for Global Health Equity produces global health textbook

Korydon H. Smith Pavani Kalluri Ram, Editors Transforming Global Health Interdisciplinary Challenges, Perspectives, and Strategies.

by Grace Lazzara

Published April 7, 2020

“This book is evidence of how much more we can do together on issues of global health than we could ever do in isolated professional enclaves.”
School of Architecture and Planning

Dozens of UB faculty, staff and students — plus community partners and research collaborators — have contributed to a new textbook, “Transforming Global Health: Interdisciplinary Challenges, Perspectives, and Strategies” (Springer, 2020/ISBN 978-3-030-32111-6), that provides a comprehensive, interdisciplinary look at the field of global health.

The textbook presents the work of the university’s Community for Global Health Equity (CGHE), which aims to support those who can influence global health, like policymakers who can effect systemic and local change, and community members who can inspire, promote and implement solutions in their locales.

“Global health is a growing, interdisciplinary endeavor that is ever more reliant on expertise from anthropology to urban planning, working in kinship with the core disciplines of public health, medicine, nursing and the foundational health sciences,” says CGHE co-founder Korydon Smith, who co-edited the text with CGHE co-founder Pavani Kalluri Ram, research professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Environmental Health.

Adds Jean Wactawski-Wende, dean of the School of Public Health and Health Professions: “With evidence growing daily that the field of global health is ever more vital in preventing, detecting and managing disease, the University at Buffalo is fortunate to have our Community for Global Health Equity in the forefront of the discipline. Our students, faculty and the field in general have already felt the impact of CGHE’s approach to managing critical global problems, which this new textbook will carry to an even larger audience.”

Prompting critical, creative thinking

The work is the only book geared toward undergraduate and graduate coursework in global health that provides an extensive array of interdisciplinary perspectives and cases.

“Scholars and practitioners in the health sciences seek knowledge from a wider array of fields today,” notes Smith, professor and chair of the Department of Architecture, School of Architecture and Planning. “At the same time, students across majors have a growing interest in humanitarian issues and are pursuing knowledge and skills for affecting well-being across geographic and disciplinary borders.”

Each chapter of “Transforming Global Health” frames a problem and illustrates how interdisciplinary problem-solving can address the most pressing challenges in global health today. The goal, the co-editors say, is to spur critical and creative thinking about emerging and future problems, with many chapters offering novel case studies as a useful, accessible and compelling way to engage the complexities and challenges of global health.

“The design and planning professions play a unique and synthetic role in the world of global health because they are always about the relationships among people and the places they inhabit,” says Robert Shibley, dean of the School of Architecture and Planning. “This book is evidence of how much more we can do together on issues of global health than we could ever do in isolated professional enclaves.”