Pediatrics professor named to head global health effort

By Staff

Stephen Berman, M.D., professor of pediatrics at The University of Colorado School of Medicine and endowed chair holder in general pediatrics at The Children's Hospital, has been named director of the Center for Global Health at the Colorado School of Public Health and medical adviser for the Global Health Institute at The Children's Hospital.

"The Center for Global Health with the Global Health Institute has an opportunity to make a major contribution to improving the health and welfare of the world's poorest populations and become one of the world's leading global health programs," Berman said.

While the center will maintain its current programs, Berman will develop several new initiatives that focus on family and child health. These will include developing and testing new interventions to reduce maternal, neonatal and child mortality rates in some of the poorest areas of the world and promote health and wellness through economic development, nutrition programs and child development interventions. The center is applying to become a World Health Organization Collaborating Center in order to have a greater worldwide impact in these areas.

According to Berman, "having the support of one of the finest children's hospitals in the world will be extremely beneficial to our initiatives."

"By working collaboratively we will address the need to promote sustainable economic development in the poorest areas of the world in ways that will provide opportunities for families to improve their economic conditions, provide educational opportunities to their children, and reduce excessive maternal and child mortality."

The planned Global Health Institute at Children's will complement these programs. The institute will streamline processes by becoming the centralized point of contact at Children's to support international activities. Activities include partnering with one or more organizations to build capacity within identified international communities and deliver ongoing clinical services such as continuing consultative support, training and education. Support also will be given to the evacuation of children in need, either because of a natural disaster or individual need basis.

The center also recruited Eric Simoes, M.D., and Susan Niermeyer, M.D., who join Berman in developing the new initiative. Berman follows Calvin Wilson, M.D., who stepped down as center director in 2010.

Berman is a practicing primary care pediatrician and has held many prestigious positions in the world of pediatrics including consultant to the World Health Organization and Pan American Health Organization on Control of Acute Respiratory Infections; national chairman of the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Child Health Financing; director of health policy and state medically indigent programs at the University of Colorado; and president of Colorado Bright Beginnings. From 2000 to 2001, Berman was president of the American Academy of Pediatrics.