In Memoriam: Harold J. Simon, MD, PhD

Harold J. Simon, MD, PhD

Harold J. Simon, MD, PhD

The Department of Medicine celebrates the life and mourns the passing on August 6 of Harold J. Simon, MD, PhD, professor emeritus of medicine and inaugural chief of the Division of International Health and Cross-Cultural Medicine, now the Division of Global Public Health.

An influential leader in the field of international health and health policy, Simon was a founding father of the UCSD School of Medicine. He was recruited to the school in 1966 and served as its first dean of admissions, education and student affairs.

He wove global health training into the curriculum, designing community-based and international programs for students. Among these were courses in Spanish and cross-cultural issues that were the first of their kind in the nation.

Nationally and internationally, Simon advanced global health training and cultural awareness in medicine. His many achievements included the establishment of the Division of International Health for the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. With particular concern for small, isolated countries, he advised developing nations as they established medical education and health care delivery systems.

In 2001, the Harold J. Simon Chair In International Health and Cross-Cultural Medicine was established in his honor at UCSD.

Quoted in a UCSD press release at that time, Simon said, “I think it is necessary for all students to realize that there are significant differences in disease incidence and prevalence, in the way health care is delivered, and how concepts of health and illness are viewed by diverse cultures throughout the world. Medicine doesn’t recognize any geographic or national borders.

“In a world where the inequalities of health are grotesque; where for many millions of people health is absent throughout life; where nevertheless every individual has the right to the enjoyment of health, are we as doctors content to leave things as they are?”

Dr. Steffanie StrathdeeThe Harold J. Simon Chair In International Health and Cross-Cultural Medicine is now held by Steffanie Strathdee, PhD, Associate Dean of Global Health Sciences, Harold Simon Professor and Chief of the Division of Global Public Health.

Quoted in a La Jolla Patch memorial story about Simon last week, Strathdee said, “He will be remembered by our division as its founder and tireless mentor, and by his students the world over as their inspiration to a career in global health.

“For me personally,” she said, “I have lost a treasured friend.”

More Information:

Press release: UCSD Chair in International Health and Cross-Cultural Medicine Named For Harold J. Simon, M.D., Ph.D. UCSD School of Medicine News, Health Sciences Communications press release, February 8, 2001.  |  Read the story

Video interview: Harold Simon, Founding Father at UC San Diego School of Medicine. UCSD Medical Center video posted February 2, 2012. |  Watch video

Interview: Dr. Harold Simon of La Jolla reviews his legacy in medicine at UCSD. La Jolla Light interview posted on February 28, 2012.  |  Read interview

Memorial story: Harold Simon, Founding Member of UCSD School of Medicine, Dies at 85. La Jolla Patch story, posted on August 15, 2013.  |  Read story

Memorial story: First Dean of Admissions at UCSD’s School of Medicine. San Diego Union-Tribune, posted August 18, 2013.  |  Read story

Two Gates Foundation Grants Awarded to DOM Global Health Researchers

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has awarded $100,000 grants to two Department of Medicine research teams for their innovative proposals in global health research.In the two projects, researchers will explore new tools for eradicating malaria. The disease is one of the leading causes of death in developing nations.

Catriona Jamieson, PhD, MD

Catriona Jamieson, PhD, MD

The faculty investigators are Catriona Jamieson, PhD, MD, and Joseph M. Vinetz, MD.

They will work with postdoctoral fellows Jennifer Black, MD, and Kailash Patra, PhD, as well as collaborators from UC Irvine and the Salk Institute.

Dr. Jamieson is Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of Hematology-Oncology and Director for Stem Cell Research at the Moores UCSD Cancer Center. Dr. Vinetz is Professor of Medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases.

Joseph Vinetz, MD

Joseph Vinetz, MD

The funding comes from the Grand Challenges Explorations initiative of the Gates Foundation. The $100 million initiative provides funding for investigators who have fresh approaches to the most severe health challenges in the developing world.  |  Read the full story from UC San Diego News

Global Public Health Division joins the Department of Medicine

Steffanie A. Strathdee, Ph.D.The UCSD School of Medicine’s highly respected academic team of global public health specialists has joined the Department of Medicine.

The Division of Global Public Health, headed by Steffanie A. Strathdee, Ph.D., conducts research and education programs to address healthcare problems that transcend political borders.

Formerly known as the Division of International Health & Cross-Cultural Medicine, the division was a part of the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine.

Division Chief Dr. Steffanie Strathdee is a top researcher, educator and thought leader in global health issues. She was recently appointed UCSD’s first Associate Dean for Global Medicine. Read the UCSD press release

“We are delighted to join outstanding leaders in academic medicine in the Department of Medicine,” Dr. Strathdee said.

“Our combined efforts will focus on reducing global health disparities and promoting training and education on global health issues that know no borders.”

Dr. Strathdee holds the Harold Simon Chair in Global Public Health and a professorship in the Department of Medicine.

The Division of Global Public Health has 16 full-time and many affiliated faculty members.

Kenneth Kaushansky, M.D., M.A.C.P.“By joining the Department of Medicine, Steffanie and her colleagues have expanded our global reach to four continents,” said Dr. Ken Kaushansky, Helen M. Ranney Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Medicine.

“Now, the Medicine faculty, fellows, residents and students have the opportunity to participate in the Global Public Health Division’s cutting-edge clinical research and innovative and insightful educational programs, and to deliver badly needed health care and self-help skills to citizens of the world.”

Robert Schooley, M.D.Dr. Robert Schooley, Professor and Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, commented, “There has been a major increase in interest in international activities within the Department of Medicine over the last 5 years.

“Dr. Strathdee and her group will provide a new dimension to scholarly activities in global medicine within the Department of Medicine –in terms of both content and geography.

“The synergy between the internationally recognized epidemiology, public health and prevention programs in Dr. Strathdee’s group and the biomedical research activities in other divisions throughout the Department will greatly increase the productivity and visibility of global medicine activities at UCSD,” Dr. Schooley said.

Programs both global and local

The education and research programs of the UCSD Division of Global Public Health extend from the San Diego-Tijuana region to communities and institutions across the world.

“Of particular interest are the public health efforts of Steffanie and her group in the California-Mexico border region,” said Dr. Kaushansky. “They’ve been a model of how proactive public health programs can provide new insights into the origins of health care disparities.

“They also demonstrate how interventions based on careful study can make an important impact on the health of both our neighbors and the citizens of California.”

The division’s local projects include three NIH-sponsored research studies based in Tijuana and other cities situated on the Mexico-US border. The projects focus on HIV, tuberculosis, and sexually transmitted infections.

The division currently offers three research training programs focusing on prevention of HIV and related infections and substance use:

In addition, the Division of Global Public Health has just completed a TIES (Training, Internship, Exchange, Scholarships) program, a United States Agency for International Development (USAID)-sponsored effort to prevent HIV infection in Tijuana and northwest Mexico.

In local education at the postgraduate level, Dr. Strathdee is the Co-director of the Global Health track of the doctoral program in public health that is offered jointly with the San Diego State University Graduate School of Public Health.

More about Dr. Strathdee

Dr. Steffanie Strathdee is a renowned infectious disease epidemiologist. Her research efforts have focused on preventing blood-borne infections such as HIV and removing barriers to healthcare delivery in underserved populations around the world.

Dr. Strathdee, who co-directs the International Core of the UCSD Center for AIDS Research, has published more than 300 scholarly reports on HIV/AIDS alone.

She joined the UCSD faculty from Johns Hopkins University five years ago. She holds an adjunct professorship in the Department of Epidemiology in the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

For more information about the Division of Global Public Health, its faculty and activities, please visit the division’s website at http://gph.ucsd.edu.

More Information

MISSION OF THE DIVISION OF GLOBAL PUBLIC HEALTH

Working Together to Improve Global Health

The mission of the Division of Global Public Health is to:

  • Increase awareness, skills and research capacity relating to international health and cross-cultural issues through educational activities directed to faculty, students, fellows and the community;
  • Conduct high-caliber research on health-related issues and service utilization facing populations in international settings, U.S. minorities and migrants to the U.S.;
  • Provide opportunities for students to experience clinical and research activities in international settings and diverse communities;
  • Initiate, participate and foster collaborations on international health activities within and between departments in the UCSD School of Medicine, the general UCSD campus, organized research units, and U.S.-based and international agencies and institutions;
  • Offer advice and consultation on international health topics as needed by local, regional, national and international organizations.