Published: 03/11/2019

Stanford researchers, physicians and medical educators have built partnerships around the globe to try to solve some of the most vexing health problems.

Whether enlisting children in Kenya to scour neighborhoods for mosquito larvae or helping Zimbabwean children get treatment for chronic conditions, Stanford Medicine researchers and physicians who are taking on some of the world’s most pressing health issues know they can’t do it alone. 

“We share this planet with billions of people, a rich panoply of cultures, languages, beliefs and interests. Yet amid this diversity, we also share a universal yearning: to enjoy healthy lives,” Lloyd Minor, MD, dean of the School of Medicine, wrote in his letter introducing the new issue of Stanford Medicine magazine.

The issue explores Stanford’s Medicine’s collaborative efforts at home and abroad to battle conditions that are central to some of the world’s overarching health concerns — poverty, pollution, mosquito-borne disease, a dearth of trained clinicians and limited access to care. 

Many of the stories in the issue examine partnerships between clinicians, universities, businesses and government agencies to improve health internationally:  

–While serving as an adviser in establishing the first pediatric ear, nose and throat clinic in Zimbabwe, a pediatric otolaryngologist witnesses the incredible demands that clinicians there face in treating children with conditions that have historically been neglected. Also, longtime partnerships are helping clinicians and educators at Stanford and in Zimbabwe learn from each other and improve health care in the process. 

–An epidemiologist who has spent eight years in Bangladesh describes the challenge of reducing deadly air pollution in the country by convincing brick kiln operators to convert to cleaner brick-making technology. 

–Working in Kenya, Colombia and the United States, an infectious disease expert and her colleagues aim to predict and prevent deadly outbreaks of diseases that insects spread by better understanding how mosquitoes and humans interact.

–A call to cultivate more women in leadership positions at medical institutions has led to a global movement among women in health care to take charge of improving health outcomes around the world. 

–The first physician to lead the World Bank — Jim Yong Kim, MD — talks about initiatives to end poverty that call for investing in better education and health care for the poorest people. 

–A program for medical residents who are interested in global health is designed to give them the skills and understanding they need to help develop solutions. 

–A doctor and an engineer participating in a Stanford-India Biodesign Fellowship team up to invent a resuscitation device that improves on the cumbersome technique used to help newborns breathe on their own.   

Also in this issue, read about researchers who are on a quest to learn why some pain becomes frustratingly chronic and agonizing, and how research they’re doing on mice might provide answers that help patients.

And read about how the chemical interactions that lead to cell death could inspire therapies for such diseases as cancer, rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis.  

Print copies of the magazine are being sent to subscribers. Others can request a copy at (650) 723-6911 or by sending an email to