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Newsletter // September 29, 2014
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Introducing YP Speaks!

 
Our network of YP members are brilliant, innovative emerging leaders in the NCD field.  We know you are doing exciting, game-changing work. In an effort to hear more directly from all of you we will be launching YP Speaks, a 30- minute live webcast speaker and discussion series in which our members will give an overview on a particular area of their expertise in an interactive online format. YP Speaks will take place twice a month.

NCDs in Global Health Policy: Thursday, October 9, 2014, 12:00-12:30 pm EST
Jordan Jarvis, YP-CDN Executive Director & Fellow at Harvard Global Equity Initiative 
In this first talk, Jordan will provide an overview of the global NCD framework and policies, advocacy, and actors, as well as YP-CDN's role in the NCD movement.
Global Food Policy: Thursday, October 23, 2014, 12- 12:30 p.m. EST
Jo Jewell, Nutrition Policy Consultant and World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe
Jo will discuss global policy around food and its impact on NCDs. 
Join the hangout here!
 
If you are interested in being one of our semi-monthly speakers, please contact Jordan Jarvis for more information. 

News and Upcoming Events


Conferences 
53rd PAHO Directing Council  (September 29- October 3), Washington, D.C., U.S.

Obesity Society Annual Meeting (October 2-7), Boston, MA, U.S.

Fall 2014 Global Health Practitioner Conference (October 16-17), Washington, D.C.

World Cancer Congress (December 3-6), Melbourne, Australia

14th World Congress on Public Health (February 11- 15, 2015), Kolkata, India

Calls for Abstracts
Deadline October 15, 2014: 6th Annual CUGH (Consortium of Universities for Global Health) Conference on Mobilizing Research for Global Health

Deadline November 15, 2014: 2015 International Congress on Urban Health (March 9-12, 2015), Dhaka, Bangladesh

Courses
Short Course on Prevention Strategies for NCDs (March 22-27, 2015), Oxford Uniersity, Oxford, UK (scholarships available)

Coursera Courses on NCDs and Related Topics
Diabetes: A Global Challenge
 

United Nations General Assembly 69: An Overview


In the year 2000, the world's leaders agreed upon eight crucial 15-year global development goals -- known as the Millennium Development Goals -- in the areas of health, economics, and education. The goals, which are outlined below, are up for review in early 2015. Last week, the United Nations General Assembly convened to discuss progress on these goals, as well as to set new 2015 Sustainability Development Goals and address the growing issue of climate change.
At last week's proceedings of the 69th UNGA, high on the priority list was gender rights, climate change, urban health, HIV/AIDS, and NCDs.  Below are some brief notes, but for full coverage, please read more here.

Gender Rights
One major announcement in the area of gender equality this week was the HeForShe Campaign.  Introduced on Saturday, September 20 by UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, and UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, actress Emma Watson, HeForShe is an intiative to activate one billion men and boys to join the fight for global gender equality.  Find the full story and video here.

Climate Change
On September 23, the UN Climate Summit brought together experts from the areas of business,  government, civil society, and international investment to rally around the cause of reversing climate change and leaving the planet healthier and more sustainable for the next generation. Statements were made by such infulential characters as actor and UN Messenger of Peace, Leonardo Dicaprio; poet; Chairman of Generation Investment Management and the Climate Reality Project, Al Gore;  Marshall Islands poet, Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner; and United States President Barack Obama, among others.  Two days in advance of the Climate Summit was the People's Climate March, which brought 31,000 people to New York to march in solidarity against climate change.
In addition to impassioned statements and recommendations for policy change, concrete actions to arise from the Climate Summit include: NCDs
The 69th UNGA occurred just two months after the UN's Review on NCDs, where YP-CDN gave one of two statements on behalf of civil society. The greatest social justice issue faced by our generation, it is expected that NCDs will be prominently featured in the post-2015 development goals.  Thus, there were several NCD-related side events held over the course of the week.
 
For a complete list of side events, please see here.

Other coinciding events of note:

65th Annual UNDPI/NGO Conference- "2015 And Beyond: Our Action Agenda"


On Wednesday, August 27, civil society organizations from around the globe convened at the United Nations for the 65th Annual UNDPI/NGO Conference, a three-day meeting whose theme this year centered on on civil society's role in the post-2015 development agenda. 

There was a strong NCD advocacy presence at the meeting, with the American Cancer Society (ACS), NCDChild, CLAN Child Health, UNIFCEF, and YP-CDN.  In collaboration with the American Academy of Pediatrics, UNICEF, and CLAN, NCD Child debuted its new chapter for the UNICEF Facts For Life Handbook, entitled, "Healthy Living and the Prevention, Control, and Management of Non-Communicable Diseases in Children and Adolescents." A component of iUNICEF's participation in the UN Global Action Plan on NCDs, the chapter is ready for review and feedback from those interested in contributing. 

If you are interested in providing your feedback on the chapter, please do so here

At the meeting, we at YP-CDN launched the #NCD+ video campaign in collaboration with ACS and Sage Innovation. The campaign told the story of individual NCD advocacy -- or NCD positivity --  through the 6-second Vine videos of individuals working in the field, patients, and supporters. Drawing on the energy of the conference, our videos not only garnered participation from existing NCD advocates, but also sparked conversations about NCDs and their risk factors with those previously unfamiliar, thus catalyzing fresh attention and action to this social justice issue.

See a highlight reel of some of our #NCD+ Vines Here!

U.S. Investigators' Symposium on Global NCD Research


On September 8 and 9, in an effort to tackle the mounting global burden of non-communicable diseases -- particularly in low- and middle- income countries (LMICs) -- a coalition of U.S. universities and medical schools gathered emerging leaders in the NCD and global health fields to present their research to colleagues and potential funders. 

Held at Emory University in Atlanta Georgia, the U.S. Investigators' Symposium on Global NCD Research gave Ph.D. and M.D. students and practitioners the chance to present their work to one another in hopes of fostering collaboration between similar projects and sharing resources amon institutions.  With prominent NCD and global health funders present, researchers had the chance to directly pitch their ideas to those with the financial power to make them a reality. 

YP-CDN had a strong presence at the meeting with over 25 YPers presenting their work in either oral or poster format.

The consortium of universities -- which includes Yale, Harvard, Northwestern, Emory, University of California at Berkeley, Uniersity of Washington, and Vanderbilt- hopes to make this conference a yearly event, expanding their pool of universities, researchers, and funding sources each year for greater chance of collaboration to solve the overwhelming problem of reversing the growing NCD epidemic in developing countries.

YP Members Kasia Lipska, Jeremy Schwartz, Sunny Kishore, Justin List and Christine Ngaruiya were featured in a story on the symposium in the Yale News.



 

Five  Questions with Mohammed K. Ali:
YPer of the Month!
 


Name: Mohammed K. Ali (aka “Mo”)

Location: Emory University and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, USA

Profession/Research Areas: Diabetes Epidemiology and Prevention; Cardiovascular Risk Reduction;
Global Health Innovations and Education

YP Member since: 2009

    1. What drives your passion for NCDs?

This has always been the most interesting set of health conditions for me, ever since I was an overweight adolescent and then subsequently at medical school. Throughout that time and even now, I have observed in both personal and professional contexts how NCDs shorten lives and increase morbidity. In particular, heart disease and diabetes run in our family and have claimed the lives of several grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins at young ages (in a few instances, in their forties!). I have also lived and traveled in many countries over the past 3 decades and have witnessed transitioning diets and waist expansion in every corner of the globe. So, for me, this is both a personal and global struggle to change behaviors early and prevent disease.
 
  1. You recently presented research about the intersection of depression and diabetes in India at the Emory U.S. Investigators’ Symposium on Global NCD Research. Why do you think it’s important that we stress the comorbidities of mental health and other NCDs?
It is unfortunate that mental health is so overlooked, as it is a very common occurrence globally, and particularly prevalent and burdensome among people with chronic diseases. Through a number of biological (e.g., higher cortisol secretion, more inflammation in the body) and also behavioral aspects (e.g., lower likelihood of exercising, higher likelihood of using tobacco), mental health conditions, and especially depression, can really accelerate the progression of NCDs. For example, people with diabetes and co-occurring depression experience a higher incidence of diabetes complications and higher risk of mortality. A second very important reason to raise awareness for and disseminate knowledge about treating co-existing mental health conditions is that routine chronic disease care offers an opportunity to effectively treat both sets of conditions. For example, there is evidence to show that treating depression leads to better control of cardiovascular risk factors, and vice versa.
 
  1. What is your favorite place you have travelled and why?
Oh dear, that’s a tough question – I have been fortunate to travel a fair amount over the years and love a number of places for different reasons. For most places, it is the friends or family we spent time with or the beauty (natural or built) of the location. However, the one place that stands out in terms of observing wildlife in its natural context is when we visited Masai Mara in Kenya when I was thirteen. Watching predators hunt their prey in real-time and spending an evening with some adult elephants that instinctively formed a protective circle around their younger ones are scenes that will forever be etched in my memory.
 
  1. The United Nations convened last week to set goals for the post-2015 development agenda. What are the top three inclusions to the agenda you would like to see come out of these debates?
Chronic non-communicable diseases (NCD) are included as major health and social threats to humanity and development. In particular, I’d love to see recognition that NCDs are not just diseases of affluent or elderly populations, but in fact, are legitimate threats in all corners of the globe and among all peoples. It would also be nice if NCDs were not seen as a set of diseases that are competing with other health burdens (e.g., infectious diseases, maternal health, etc.) for priority as we should think of health holistically across the lifecourse (from pre-conception to later life) and start thinking about the future where these sets of diseases are increasingly co-occurring (e.g., tuberculosis and diabetes).
  1. A focus on the “how” and the “who” of addressing NCDs (i.e., the implementation processes and capacity needed to address NCDs). These are oft overlooked aspects of our hopes and plans to address these substantial and multifactorial diseases.
  2. A dual emphasis on supply and demand risk factors for NCDs. For example, with tobacco, regulation of the industry is as important as anti-tobacco advertising. For the food and beverage industry, we have thought about taxation and regulation, but there has been less emphasis on considering how effectively raising awareness of NCDs might change demand for products. There is some belief that obesity awareness over the last two decades has led to lower sales of full-sugar colas and much higher sales of low-calorie colas. This is just an example how demand drives sales and not an endorsement of diet drinks per se. What I am trying to say is that engaging industries to find win-win solutions might make for sustainable public-private partnerships and behavior change.

         5. Who inspires you?

First off, I have to say, I’m someone that gets inspired pretty easily; from professional athletes like Michael Jordan to auto rickshaw drivers in India that save up to ensure their children will be educated and become professionals (even if he did quote the stereotypical desire of Indian parents to see their kids becoming engineers, doctors, or accountants). Most recently however, I am inspired by modern medicine and healthcare teams that worked wonders to get my wife and I through our complicated pregnancy and then got our twin boys to a healthy 6 months of age. We are both grateful and inspired by their unrelenting dedication. 
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