From 1980s New York to Present-Day Mozambique, YSPH Dean Discusses Life’s Work Against HIV/AIDS

Dean Sten Vermund, Yale School of Public Health

Sten H. Vermund, the new dean of Yale School of Public Health, held a standing-room-only audience rapt for more than hour on March 29 with tales of his work fighting AIDS from 1980s New York City to present day Mozambique.

Vermund’s talk—the 69th annual Lecture of the Associates of the Cushing/Whitney Medical Library and given at the library—was something of a coming out for the bewhiskered epidemiologist and pediatrician. Titled “HIV/AIDS from A(labama) to Z(ambia): Research and Response since 1981,” his presentation represented his first major public speaking event since taking the helm of the Yale School of Public Health on Feb. 1.

Liman at 20: Public Interest(s): Launching the Arthur Liman Center for Public Interest Law

After two decades of promoting equal access to justice through fellowships, research, seminars, and programs, the Arthur Liman Public Interest Program has been re-established as the Arthur Liman Center for Public Interest Law. The launch of the Center on April 6, 2017, coincides with the 20th Anniversary Liman Colloquium at Yale Law School, a private gathering for the Law School community. The Colloquium will include some 70 of the 123 current and former YLS Liman Fellows, joining YLS students, deans, faculty, and the Liman family and friends.

“The lifelong commitment of Arthur Liman to the underserved and his vision of a world where justice is available to all inspired the creation of the Arthur Liman Public Interest Program,” said Dean Robert C. Post ’77. “After 20 years, Arthur’s vision is being furthered with a new Center on solid footing to expand its efforts to support faculty and students responding to inequalities in access to justice.”


Five Yale seniors headed to Oxford and Cambridge with Keasbey, Henry, and Mellon Fellowships

Five Yale seniors are headed to Oxford and Cambridge this fall with the generous support of the Keasbey, Henry, and Paul Mellon fellowships.

Alex Herkert has won a Keasby Memorial Foundation Scholarship; Eve Houghton, Reed Morgan, and Emily Yankowitz have been award Paul Mellon Fellowships; and Ann Sarnak has been awarded a Henry Fellowship.

FDA approves drugs more quickly than peer agency in Europe

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reviews and approves new medicines in a shorter timeframe than its peer agency in Europe, the European Medicines Agency (EMA), says a Yale researcher. This finding comes at a time when the FDA is under renewed pressure to streamline and speed up its approval process, and provides data to inform ongoing policy discussions.

The report, co-authored with researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and New York University School of Medicine, was published April 5 by the New England Journal of Medicine.

The FDA has faced pressure from the public, politicians, and industry to accelerate review and approval of new medicines. The FDA’s review process is currently being considered and reexamined as part of negotiations to reauthorize the law that directs funds to the agency — the Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA) — due for reauthorization by October 2017.

Does Immigration Create Jobs?

A recent study found that about half of unicorns in the U.S. owe their existence to immigrants. In this case, by “unicorn,” we mean highly successful, fast-growing startups—not magical creatures. The study, conducted by the National Foundation for American Policy, determined that 44 out of 87 privately held companies valued at more than $1 billion had at least one immigrant founder. It further estimated that each of these immigrant-founded companies created 760 jobs.

This is just one example of how, contrary to much of the rhetoric on the topic, immigration can contribute to economic growth and expansion of the labor market. Academic studies have found that immigration to the U.S. has little negative effect on employment levels of native workers and that the presence of immigrants is associated with greater economic productivity. Another study found that foreign-born graduate students in science and engineering departments at U.S. universities contribute to innovation and research production.


The changing face of global health: Yale and South African doctors partner to expand care

While working in South Africa several years ago, Dr. J. Zachary Porterfield came across a young child in a clinic in rural KwaZulu-Natal. During the examination, the doctor was surprised to find that the patient had drainage from her ears and loss of hearing.

“It had progressed to the point that she was having difficulty in school,” said Porterfield. “When I asked her mother how long this had been going on, she said three years. Her ears had been draining, and she had been losing her hearing for three years.”

Unfortunately, this is not an unusual situation in some KwaZulu-Natal communities. Indeed, many children in at-risk communities around the world are losing their hearing as a result of chronic untreated ear infections, a phenomenon largely unheard of in the United States. The socioeconomic and personal costs of acquired deafness are usually devastating.