Northwestern University

Wed 12:00 PM

Access to Health from the Ground Up: A Community Partnership in Ethiopia

When: Wednesday, April 24, 2013
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM  

Where: 620 Library Place, Conference Room, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Public

Contact: Program of African Studies   847.491.7323

Group: Program of African Studies

Category: Lectures & Meetings

More Info


Public Health in Africa Series

April 24, 12pm, lunch served

Access to Health from the Ground Up: A Community Partnership in Ethiopia

Juliet Sorensen, Law and Jeffrey Panzer, Medicine, Northwestern University

Access to Health from the Ground Up: A Community Partnership in Ethiopia

The Northwestern Access to Health Project links faculty and students at Northwestern’s medical, law and business schools with communities and NGOs in the developing world to conduct health needs assessments and design sustainable interventions.  In 2011 and 2012, utilizing the Peace Care model, Northwestern (NU) faculty partnered with the Peace Corps volunteers and community members in the town of Bonga, Ethiopia.  Faculty and staff from Feinberg’s Department of Family Medicine and Center for Global Health traveled to Ethiopia in October 2011 for series of meetings with potential stakeholders to assess the viability of the project.  In January 2012, the law, business, and public health students enrolled in Health and Human Rights conducted interdisciplinary analyses of a variety of health issues in Bonga.  At the end of the quarter, the groups presented their assessments both in writing and orally to the faculty members of the ATH team.  Finally, four law students representing different groups travelled to Bonga to further their analyses with an on-site assessment, visiting the district hospital and talking with health professionals, patients, and community leaders. 

Based on these assessments and input from the community of Bonga, ATH decided to address the high maternal mortality rate in the region by conducting an emergency obstetrics training for health care providers.  The training took place in October 2012, and Advanced Life Support in Obstetrics (ALSO®) was chosen as the curriculum to address this need.  ATH introduced a version of the ALSO® course specifically adapted to the needs of local health care workers in Ethiopia.   ATH is studying the course’s effectiveness as a tool for teaching obstetrics in rural Ethiopia as well as identifying which level of health care providers (e.g. physician, midwife, health officer) derive most benefit.  ATH conducted a cohort study, using pre- and post-course questionnaires soliciting demographic information and self-assessment of comfort managing various obstetric emergencies, and plans to conduct further evaluation of participants 6 and 12 months after course completion.


Jeffrey Panzer is a family physician at Erie Family Health Center and faculty member in the Northwestern Family and Community Medicine residency program based at Erie. His interests include global health and re-engineering primary care.   He started a refugee clinic in residency in 2007 which continues to this day and has screened over 900 refugees. His interest in global health continued while serving as medical director of rural health center in Ethiopia from 2009-2010. 

Juliet Sorensen is a clinical assistant professor of law at Northwestern Law School’s Center for International Human Rights, where her teaching and research interests include health as a human right and international corruption.  She is a founder of the Northwestern Access to Health Project, an interdisciplinary partnership that analyzes access to health in resource limited settings.



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