Skip to Main Content

Global Health and Travel-Related Maladies

  • A group of diseases that can pose a serious threat to people who have traveled to certain countries
  • Examples of diseases include Zika and Ebola
  • Technology allows doctors to deliver emergency medical care in remote locations
  • Involves emergency medicine and infectious diseases

Overview

In today's connected world, diseases don't respect borders. For instance, the Ebola and Zika viruses are two recent examples of dangerous diseases that can pose a serious threat to people who've traveled to certain areas. So it's important for individuals and physicians to be aware of global health threats.

At Yale Medicine, our emergency medicine physicians study health problems across the world to understand how such interconnected problems affect the health of people abroad and here in the United States. This experience equips them with exceptional skill and insight to deliver superior emergency care.

What is the relationship between global health and emergency medicine in Connecticut?

According to Yale Medicine emergency medicine specialist Hani Osama Mowafi, MD, MPH, exposure to a depth and breadth of medical experiences gives Yale Medicine’s emergency doctors a wealth of knowledge and practical expertise. The training helps them in time-sensitive, intense situations, where they can quickly diagnose patients and make swift, calculated decisions regarding care. “We are fortunate at Yale to have access to every cutting-edge technology and a wealth of diagnostic information, but ultimately it’s not the technology that takes care of the patient,” Dr. Mowafi says. “It’s having the experience of caring for patients from all over the world.”

How does global health research lead to better emergency medicine worldwide?

Yale Medicine’s many global health projects are helping to shape how emergency medicine is thought about and delivered globally. One research project examines nutritional policies in lower-income communities to see their effect on how emergency conditions develop. Another focus is the dramatic increase in  traffic injuries in low- and middle-income countries. Yale Medicine researchers are also investigating the provision of trauma care to populations in Syria that are under siege. “This research is changing how emergency medicine is characterized and practiced around the world,” says Dr. Mowafi. 

The benefits of this work are universal. Having access to a wealth of diagnostic insights on global epidemics such as Ebola, or geographically isolated diseases such as malaria, equips  the emergency medicine teams with skills to deal with whatever they encounter, however rare or challenging.

How has technology affected the delivery of emergency treatments to remote areas?

Technology allows doctors to deliver emergency medical care in remote locations. Point-of-care emergency ultrasound, a small device used at a patient's bedside, is an example of how innovation can help address complex issues with few resources.  

“It allows for more rapid diagnosis of emergency situations,” says Dr. Mowafi. “In just a few minutes, it allows clinicians to make life-and-death decisions that could otherwise take hours or even days.” Easily used in remote areas, this technology allowsYale Medicine doctors to address complications, such as internal bleeding, with scarce resources and, consequently, to provide care that saves lives.

What is unique about Yale Medicine’s approach to global health?

Emergency medicine at Yale Medicine is rooted in a philosophy of always striving to know more and do better for the good of patients globally. “As a core mission, we are focused on advancing the science and practice of emergency medicine. We do this not just to learn how to do what we’re already doing, but also to push the envelope in terms of new knowledge, new science and new ways of taking care of patients around the world,” Dr. Mowafi says.