The Global Health Initiative in the Department of Anesthesiology at Weill Cornell Medicine takes an innovative approach to global health and human rights education, research, and solution building. Our goals are three-fold:
1. To train physicians in how to responsibly engage in medical work with foreign born patients, both at home and abroad
2. To conduct innovative research in global health and human rights
3. To implement programs both locally and internationally that result in positive shifts in the care of foreign born patients.
Uniquely, our group approaches global health work through the lense of medical anthropology, to understand the root causes of ill health and disease.
The Global Health Initiative aims to foster enhanced care of foreign-born patients through education, research and programming. Our approach acknowledges that global health work is not limited to the developing world; rather, individuals and diseases freely cross transnational boundaries. We therefore focus on the care of foreign-born patients, both locally in the United States and abroad.
Further, our work takes an anthropological approach to care. Traditional models of global health work have typically been constrained to medical mission work which focuses on discrete medical interventions, often in the absence of understanding the biopsychosocial context of a region. Our education, research, and programming instead have at their core the anthropological understanding of critical issues that impact health, such as economics, gender and politics.
The goal of our educational programming is to empower healthcare workers with a fundamental understanding of the biopsychosocial context that influences health and healthcare. By doing so, we believe that care of foreign-born patients both locally and abroad will be more responsible and sustainable. Our programs consist of an undergraduate teaching course at Cornell University in Ithaca, resident physician training, and faculty and fellow education.
Our research projects focus on applying scientific methodology to global health and human rights issues. These investigations involve faculty, residents and students in projects ranging from cross-institutional studies on education and curriculum development to clinical research on chronic pain in refugee survivors of torture. Funding from the Foundation for Anesthesia Education and Research (FAER), the Office of the Vice Provost for International Affairs, and the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies has supported our work.
The Punjab Institute is our flagship program in India which leverages the expertise of healthcare providers, non-profit organizations, educators, and activists to create sustainable change on the ground in India. Our work in Rwanda is made possible by our partnership with ASA-CASIEF through the overseas training programs.
Dr. Gunisha Kaur, MD, MA
Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology
Director, Global Health Initiative
Program Director, Anesthesia Global Health Fellowship
Weill Cornell Medicine Center for Global Health