Making a World of Difference


Above: Marketplace in Tanzania near the Rural Aid Organization hospital, one of Feinberg’s clinical outreach sites. Photo courtesy of medical student Brianna Knoll.

Introducing the Institute for Global Health at Northwestern

Every aspect of health is global. Good health positively impacts economies, communities and entire societies, while poor health can have profoundly detrimental effects within these realms. Feinberg is leading the way to ensure that good health prevails worldwide through the endowment of the Institute for Global Health. This new institute will integrate medical research, education, clinical care and service with university-wide graduate and undergraduate programs.

Last September, Eric G. Neilson, MD, vice president for Medical Affairs and Lewis Landsberg Dean, announced the launch of the Campaign for the Institute for Global Health.

“This truly will be an institute like no other in the world, and we hope to raise an endowment to be sure that it is built to last,” said Neilson. “Global health is one of the highest priorities for our medical school and university as we train the next generation of global leaders and physicians.”

The institute will be regarded nationally and internationally as a premier academic leader in global health innovation and impact. Likewise, it will continue to create and inspire compassionate physicians capable of addressing the most pressing global health issues and disparities.

“Disease knows no geographic boundaries, and global means everywhere. The work we do benefits us all,” said Robert J. Havey, ’80 MD, ’83, ‘84 GME, clinical associate professor of Medicine and founder of the medical school’s highly successful Global Health Initiative (GHI), which provides resources for both research and education in global health. Founded in 2008 and supported by the faculty physicians at Northwestern Medicine Primary and Specialty Care, the GHI Fund has supported the global health-related activities of nearly 900 Feinberg students and residents.

Driven by the medical school, the institute will focus on nine distinct, faculty-driven centers in global health: education, infectious disease, primary care, global surgery, cancer, cardiovascular risk, brain and neurological disease, rehabilitation and eHealth distance learning.

For more information on the Institute for Global Health, please contact Cynthia Garbutt at 312-503-0761 or

Case Study: Rehabilitation in Recife, Brazil

Recife is located in the state of Pernambuco, a region of Brazil hard hit by the country’s failing economy. It currently lacks adequate healthcare for its population of over 1.5 million people. The number of trained physicians and access to medical supplies are declining, while demand for health services for the poor has doubled. There are currently no rehabilitation services for the poor in Recife.

Northwestern University is partnering with Cone Condominio de Negocios S.A. (Cone) to envision a new Recife Rehabilitation Center. Once built, the center will collaborate with the Institute for Global Health at Northwestern, along with strategic nonprofits, to bring donated equipment, supplies, treatment and education to the region

I am certain that our collaborative work in critical education, timely research and support for clinical care will improve lives for our low-income citizens in Recife, Brazil. Our goal is to revitalize this port city, through better health, education and economic opportunities. By addressing pressing healthcare needs in rehabilitation, surgery, cancer and general medicine, we can save lives and increase hope. This is the work of the institute. Together with Northwestern, we want to improve health not only in Brazil but around the world.

Marcos Roberto Dubeux, president of Cone and Northwestern University ambassador in Brazil for the Campaign for the Institute for Global Health

Feinberg medical students funded by the Global Health Initiative in Nicaragua. Photo courtesy of the Northwestern University Alliance for International Development.

Case Study: Cardiology in Kerala, India

India’s population suffers more heart attacks than any other country, yet heart attack care is variable and often sub-optimal. For nearly a decade, Mark Huffman, MD, MPH, associate professor of Preventive Medicine and Medicine, has been working to address this problem in partnership with the Cardiological Society of India, Kerala Chapter, and the Centre for Chronic Disease Control in Delhi.

Huffman has created a global team of emerging leaders from 42 countries who are working to contextualize, implement and scale a cardiovascular prevention playbook and toolkit that can be utilized in settings and populations in greatest need, like India. Between 2014 and 2016, Huffman and his team conducted the largest cardiovascular randomized trial in India, evaluating the effect of the cardiovascular prevention playbook and toolkit (read more about his work here).

Feinberg medical student Kyle Yoo with his research team in Delhi, India. Photo courtesy of Kyle Yoo.

The Keralan cardiologists are leaders in creating a culture that values quality and safety in Indian healthcare. We are interested in exploring the effects of this type of intervention in other states and conditions. We need global partners like these to help us solve the most urgent, most challenging global problems. We have an opportunity to make fundamental discoveries about underlying diseases — we are well-positioned to lead the global efforts to do so, but we cannot do it alone.”

Mark Huffman, MD, MPH, associate professor of Preventive Medicine and Medicine


  • Saving lives at birth
  • Providing access to surgical care to reduce disability and death
  • Employing cutting-edge technology to track, study and reduce mortality
  • Providing sustainable education and training to local healthcare workers


  • Effectively treating chronic conditions like diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and arthritis
  • Curtailing the spread of infectious disease
  • Establishing primary care models of education, mentorship, training and scholarship