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Center for Global Health Impact

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Center for Global Health Impact

The Center for Global Health Impact at SMU aims to save lives in communities with poor access to healthcare throughout the world. We promote innovative approaches that bring effective and affordable health solutions to those who need them and in ways they will use them.

Responding to a Critical Need 

Over the past two decades, there have been tremendous advances in medicine. Highly active antiretroviral medications have helped turn HIV/AIDS from a fatal disease into a chronic illness in many parts of the world. Vaccines can now prevent most infectious diseases that have killed babies and young children for millennia. In addition, advances in genetic, social and environmental research are changing our perceptions and approaches to a host of diseases, from mental illnesses to cancers.

However, despite these significant advances, diseases that are easy and inexpensive to diagnose and treat continue to affect millions of people in the United States and throughout the world. Today, the greatest challenges in global and public health are not problems of medical knowledge, but rather problems of outreach and distribution.

To maintain our progress in improving global and public health, we must develop new ways to effectively deliver medical solutions to people who need them, in ways they will use them, and at prices they can afford.


Featured Research Project

Virtual Reality for Cancer Surgery
Cervical cancer is one of the most common cancer-related causes of death in the developing world. Surgery is essential for cervical cancer management, but the current number of trained surgeons in the developing world is vastly inadequate. Therefore, it is imperative that we find ways to more effectively and efficiently train surgeons to treat cervical cancer patients in the developing world.

The virtual reality (VR) for cancer surgery project utilizes VR technology to significantly reduce the time and cost of surgical training in low-resource settings. Studies of VR training and laparoscopic surgery have shown that the training time required for a surgical novice to reach the skill level of an intermediately skilled surgeon can be halved for some surgical procedures. Similarly, VR-trained surgeons are less likely to make surgical errors on VR-trained procedures than surgeons who received standard training. Furthermore, this project utilizes inexpensive, off-the-shelf equipment, resulting in a total equipment cost to the end user of under $2,000 USD. This presents an opportunity to reduce the per-surgeon cost of surgical training and thereby increase the availability of appropriately trained surgeons in low-resource settings.

Learn more at our Research page.


Global Health at SMU  

SMU is committed to global health and saving lives.  We have outstanding faculty with global experience across the campus, including business, basic and social sciences, engineering, education, law, as well as the arts and humanities.  The SMU campus boasts a wide array of Centers and Institutes that complement our global health work and have expertise in innovation, entrepreneurship, poverty reduction, program evaluation, interdisciplinary scholarship, and public policy.  In addition, Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon, a global public private partnership to combat cervical and breast cancer, is based on the SMU campus at the George W. Bush Presidential Center.  

SMU is based in Texas, the home to nine medical schools, twenty-three schools of public health, a large array of health and technology focused businesses and organizations, and three presidential centers.