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Global Health Projects

Office of Global Health 2021 annual report

The Dornsife School of Public Health through its Office of Global Health, its departments, and its research centers, aims to excel in community and civically engaged global public health by creating and nurturing mutually beneficial and equitable partnerships with communities and organizations that focus on improving population health, eliminating health disparities and promoting health as a human right.

For a summary of recent research, programs, and initiatives read the Office of Global Health's 2022 annual report.

Below are a few of the current public health challenges that our faculty, students, and staff are studying and addressing around the globe.

Salud Urbana en América Latina (SALURBAL), Urban Health in Latin America (2017-2022 + 5-year extension)

Led by Ana Diez Roux, Director of the Urban Health Collaborative at the Dornsife School of Public Health, Salud Urbana en América Latina (SALURBAL) or Urban Health in Latin America, was a five-year project launched in April 2017. The Dornsife School of Public Health and its partners in Latin America and the United States worked together to study how urban environments and urban policies impact the health of city residents throughout Latin America.

The SALURBAL Project was funded by the Wellcome Trust as part of its Our Planet, Our Health initiative, which focuses on research examining the connections between the environment and human health. The SALURBAL Project was the main activity of the Urban Health Network for Latin America and the Caribbean.

Starting in November 2023, SALURBAL's funding extension from the Wellcome Trust is exploring connections between climate change and urban health in cities across Latin America.

SALURBAL-Climate addresses a critical need for evidence linking climate change to health impacts across Latin America and expands the SALURBAL data portal.

Learn more about SALURBAL-Climate or contact: with questions.

Drexel Climate Change and Urban Health Research Center (3 years starting September 2023)

The Drexel Climate Change and Urban Health Research Center (CCUH) at Dornsife's Urban Health Collaborative is funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as part of its Climate Change and Health initiative.

The aim of the center is to create/disseminate evidence to inform urban policies needed to address the health equity impacts of climate change in cities. CCUH partners include six institutions in the United States, Guatemala, and Brazil.

Faculty leads: Ana Diez Roux and Usama Bilal

Breaking Down Barriers to HIV, TB and Malaria Services (2019-2023)

In 2017, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria began an initiative to scale-up programs to remove human rights-related barriers to access HIV and TB services in 20 countries. These programs include support to: reduce stigma and discrimination; train health care providers on human rights and medical ethics; sensitize lawmakers and law enforcement agents; promote legal literacy and legal services; and monitor and reform relevant laws, regulations and policies.

Following an evaluation conducted in 2020-21, in 2022 Dr. Joe Amon was awarded a new two-year grant to conduct a follow-up evaluation to measure progress, and the impact of COVID-19, on program efforts in the same 20 countries. 

Faculty lead: Joe Amon

Built Environment, Pedestrian Injuries and Deep Learning (BEPIDL) Study (2020-2025)

Road traffic injuries are a major contributor to the burden of disease globally with nearly 1.3 million deaths globally and as many as 50 million injured annually with pedestrians and cyclists in low and middle-income countries (LMICs) among the most affected.

Road infrastructure of the built environment (e.g., sidewalks), neighborhood design (e.g., street connectivity) and urban development (e.g., urban sprawl) are key determinants of the risk of pedestrian injuries. In LMICs, however, there is a paucity of georeferenced data on the built environment that has made examining built environment factors more difficult.

Recent advances in computer vision and image analysis combined with Big Data of publicly available, georeferenced, images of roads worldwide (e.g., Google Street View, GSV) has the potential to help overcome the paucity of built environment data more efficiently than traditional methods.

This career development award from the Fogarty International Center is focusing on:

  1. Developing neural networks to create a database of built environment features of the road infrastructure from image data and to create neighborhood typologies from those features
  2. Assessing the association between neighborhood-level built environment features and typologies and pedestrian collisions and fatalities and road safety perceptions
  3. Examining the association of neighborhood social environment characteristics with pedestrian collision and fatalities, perceptions, and BE features and typologies

Faculty leads: Alex Quistberg, Gina LovasiAna Diez Roux

Our Health Matters: Indian Trans Men and Transmasculine Health Study (2021-2023)

Our Health Matters: Indian Trans Men and Transmasculine Health Study is a community-based participatory, mixed-methods study investigating the social determinants of mental health and access to healthcare among trans men and transmasculine persons in India.

In late 2022, the team collected survey data from over 300 transmasculine people living in 24 Indian states. The team is preparing to launch the findings at a community event in the summer of 2023.

DSPH faculty Ayden Scheim is leading this NIH/NIMH-funded project (R21MH125263) in collaboration with Indian transmasculine community leaders and organizations and researchers from Canada, India, and the U.S.

Faculty lead: Ayden Scheim

Project Migrante: An Observatory of Migrant Health on the México-U.S. Border (2012, currently in phase 3: 2019-2024)

Mexican migrants traveling across the U.S.-Mexico border region represent a large, highly mobile, and socially vulnerable subset of Mexican nationals. Over the past 9 years, we have adopted a unique migration framework and methodological approach to characterize disease burden, health behaviors, and exposure to protective and risk factors among these migrants, examining two health areas in particular: HIV risk and access to health care.

Findings from previous phases of the project have led the Mexican Secretariat of Health to establish free prevention clinics at five deportation reception stations along the Mexican border.

In 2022, the team completed data collection for its non-communicable disease survey (N=1,264) and administered 93 baseline surveys as part of a pilot longitudinal component. Surveys were administered in airports, bus stations and deportation stations in Tijuana, Ciudad Juárez, and Matamoros, Mexico to migrants passing through these cities. Participants were also given the opportunity to take biometric tests to measure their cholesterol and A1C levels, blood pressure, height, weight, and skinfold thickness, among other indicators of chronic disease.

The team plans to start data collection for its mental health and substance use survey, the final survey for the project, in 2023.

For more information, please visit The Migrante Project.

Team members: Ana Martínez-Donate, Catalina Correa-Salazar, Leah Bakely

Examining Response to Pregnant Adolescents and Young Mothers in the Global HIV Effort

Dr. Ali Groves, Patrick Smith (doctoral candidate), and Sarah Dilday (MPH student) wrote a stocktaking report for Unicef which identifies, described, and highlighted gaps in existing evidence-based programs for a priority population in the Global HIV response: pregnant adolescents and young mothers.

Faculty lead: Ali Groves

Assessing the Durability of a Cash Transfer on Physical Partner Violence among Adolescent Girls and Young Women in Rural South Africa

Dr. Ali Groves, Luwam Gebrekristos (doctoral candidate), and Sarah Dilday (MPH student) began a mixed methods study to understand the durability of a conditional cash transfer on young women’s experience of intimate partner violence two years after the conditional cash transfer ended.

Dr. Groves and her students are using secondary data analyses to assess the impact of the CCT on IPV to explore how young women who received the cash transfer describe experiences of intimate partner violence in their sexual partnerships two years later. The project is described here.

Faculty lead: Ali Groves

Comparing Liver Disease Progression in Korea and the US due to Chronic Hepatitis B Disease

Co-led by Drs. Ann Klassen, Dornsife professor in Community Health and Prevention, and HeeSoon Juon, professor at Thomas Jefferson University, this four-year R01 funded by NIDDK/NIH follows a cohort of 365 Korean-American patients in Philadelphia and Los Angeles, to examine factors influencing adverse disease outcomes.

In partnership with Dr. Park at Ulsan University in South Korea, data on more than 800 patients with CHB in South Korea have been shared, and our comparative analyses will identify factors in both the Korean and US chronic disease and treatment experiences that may be important to reduce excess burden from this disease.

Given the global burden of chronic hepatitis B and associated hepatocellular cancer, this cross-cultural collaboration represents an important potential source of new information.

Faculty lead: Ann Klassen

To learn more about our faculty's research grants visit Grants and Announcements in the Research section.