Ethics of International Healthcare System Development

JOE Editors

I’m very excited to share that I have been selected as one of the editorial fellows of the AMA Journal of Ethics this year. I just returned from the AMA headquarters in Chicago where we had a gathering of all the 13 editors to discuss our individual theme topics for the journal. Each month of the year, starting from September 2015 to September 2016, we will be publishing one issue. My theme will be on the topic of international healthcare systems. I’ll be reaching out to experts in the field to solicit their commentary on a number of ethics cases related to the theme.

Ebola, Access to Medicines, and the Health Impact Fund

Ebola HIF paper

I am excited to share my latest article in the Journal of Global Health with Dr. Thomas Pogge, one of my professors/mentors and the co-founder of the Health Impact Fund (HIF). The HIF is a project that will certainly revolutionize the pharmaceutical industry and make better use of development aid money in such a way that the poor truly benefit from direct access to vaccines and medications at no cost to them. We look into Ebola and how the current global drug innovation model leaves us ill prepared to deal with outbreaks primarily affecting the poor. We then examine current solutions to this dilemma, including the role of the HIF.

Leapfrogging: The Way Forward for Developing Health Systems

Health Systems Leapfrogging

I really liked this white paper from the Boston Consulting Group and the World Economic Forum on how emerging economies can build effective health systems through “leapfrogging,” or essentially utilizing existing technology and infrastructure from developed economies in a way that avoids the once needed development cost of creating said resources. This is an area of academic interest that I will be studying in far more depth in the next year.

CUGH- Trainee Advisory Committee Call for Applications


We are writing to invite you to join the Trainee Advisory Committee (TAC) of the Consortium of Universities for Global Health (CUGH).

The committee is composed of trainees from undergraduate and graduate levels in any discipline with an interest in global health working to bring the trainee voice and perspective to CUGH.

TAC members are involved in the work of the various CUGH committees, including trainee outreach, health policy, social media and the annual CUGH conference. The TAC meets online on a regular basis and yearly in person at the conference. The overall workload ranges from 1-5 hours per week. Finally, all members accepted to the CUGH are expected to attend the CUGH Global Health Conference which will take place in Boston, MA, March 26-28 2015. Handover and training of future TAC members will take place during that time.

To be eligible, candidates must:

  1. be trainees, i.e. students registered at an educational institution at either an undergraduate or a graduate level program
  2. have an interest in global health
  3. have submitted a complete application on time

Candidates will be selected based on:

  1. current involvement in global health work
  2. interest in CUGH activities and capacity to contribute to the TAC
  3. prior experience in global health and organizational management will be taken into account

In order to apply, please submit the following documents to prior to January 23rd 2015:

  1. Letter of interest (1 page maximum)
  2. Curriculum Vitae
  3. Completion of the following form:

Applicants who have submitted complete applications will be notified by email. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to write to us.

Abraar Karan
TAC Founding Member


A Special Moment

As I continue on in my career in global health, I find it important to reflect back on key moments. One that is particularly energizing is from the Unite for Sight Global Health Conference from 2009, where I had been selected as one of the Volunteers of the Year for my research on informed consent and multimedia aids to improve services for illiterate villagers undergoing cataract surgery. I was also asked that year to serve on the conference’s plenary panel moderated by Jeffrey Sachs, a world renowned economist whose book I had read that past summer while I was in India. The experience for me was surreal at the time– I had never sat before an audience of that size (it took place in Yale’s largest auditorium with an audience of over 2000 people), and meeting Dr. Sachs face to face after reading hundreds of pages written by him was strange yet awesome all at once. My nervousness is obvious from the interruption of “ums” and “uhhs” throughout my answers. Continue reading

Lancet Highlights 2014 Winner

My anti-sex trafficking research from India was recently selected as one of the 12 winners of the annual Lancet Highlights competition. The Highlights competition is essentially a selection of the best photographs and accompanying stories in global health from around the world. The featured photograph (not shown here) is of my students in the middle of their bhangra practice. I’ve included another photo, also from the same day in practice, which is one of my personal favorites as it frames the girls in mid-dance. We used bhangra as a way to empower girls and help fight back against oppressive traditions of intergenerational prostitution in these communities.


A Lonely Journey

What is it
That keeps you up
At night, even while others sleep
That wakes you up
In the morning, earlier than the sun awakens
What is it
That which you live for
That which lives in you

Never let it go