The Joseph Leiter NLM/MLA Lecture 2013

May 22, 2013 at 11:48 am | Posted in Professional Development | 1 Comment

On the last day of MLA in Boston, May 8, the Joseph Leiter Lecture was given by Sheila Davis, the global nursing director of Partners in Health (PIH).   I am thankful that a NAHSL grant enabled me to be present at this year’s conference to attend this valuable session. 

The talk by Sheila Davis outlined some of the outstanding work done by the non-profit Partners in Health (PIH) in finding solutions to deal with seemingly hopeless health issues worldwide.  As their website indicates PIH “strives to achieve two overarching goals: to bring the benefits of modern medical science to those most in need of them and to serve as an antidote to despair.”  The organization has focused primarily on fighting AIDS and multiple-drug resistant TB in developing countries.  They have led the fight to make the expensive drug cocktails needed to treat these diseases available to the poorest of the poor.  Their success is amazing and awe inspiring.  For those who are interested in reading about one of the founders of this group, Paul Farmer, I highly recommend the book, Mountains beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder.

Davis shared in the session one of PIH’s newest success stories, a hospital recently established in Mirebalais, a town in the center of Haiti.  The Hôpital Universitaire de Mirebalais is a 300 bed facility with the latest technology, including the first ever CAT scan in Haiti, which will be used not only to treat patients but to train health workers.  This accomplishment was done through donations and completes a dream begun twenty-five years ago.  As someone who has previously worked with a health clinic in Haiti I am aware of the astounding hurdles that must be overcome to bring such a vision to completion.

She also mentioned an online resource, Global Health Delivery Online, through which health practitioners worldwide are able to share their expertise.  The “mission is to improve the delivery of health care worldwide, especially in areas with limited resources, by fostering the exchange of knowledge and critical information in expert-led, thematic, communities. “  Anyone involved in the delivery of health care is able to be a member.  The resource is available free of charge.  For those involved with global health issues, this database is an invaluable source of information.

At the end of the session I was inspired by what can be accomplished to better the lives of our fellow world citizens and I felt proud to contribute in my small way as a health sciences librarian to promoting global health.

Submitted by

Robin B. Devin, PhD
Health Sciences Librarian and Head of Reference
University of Rhode Island Library


1 Comment »

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  1. Nice, Robin.

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