News 2019: College of Nursing to host Global Health Summit on March 5 with international leaders in public health

News 2019: College of Nursing to host Global Health Summit on March 5 with international leaders in public health
College of Nursing to host Global Health Summit on March 5 with international leaders in public health

Highlighting the work of Partners in Health and overseas initiatives led by UMassD faculty and students

Casual photo of a large group of young children with College of Nursing students in bright sunshine in Haiti.
College of Nursing students, from left, Carolyn Dorr '19, Sierra Howie '19, Ashley Cheetham '19, Brianna McLean '19, Maddie Hudspeth '19 (Texas Christian University) with children in Port-au-Prince Haiti.

The College of Nursing at UMass Dartmouth will host a Global Health Summit that will focus on the right to health care for all and include a presentation of the documentary “Bending the Arc” about the global efforts of Partners in Health (PIH).

The half-day event, on Tuesday, March 5 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the UMass Dartmouth Main Auditorium, will include keynote presentations by (Ret.) Rear Admiral Julia Plotnick, former assistant U.S. surgeon general and chief nurse of the U.S. Public Health Service, and Dr. Joia Mukherjee, an associate professor at Harvard Medical School and chief medical officer for Partners in Health. The summit is free and open to the public.

The event aligns with the college’s commitment to global public health and opportunities available for nursing students to engage in a community public health experience. Faculty-led programs are underway in the Azores through the Bridging the Atlantic Alliance, as well as in Haiti, Glendora, MS, and locally in New Bedford, MA.

"The College of Nursing advances the university's commitment to preparing all students, nursing and non-nursing alike, for lives as global citizens," said College of Nursing Dean Kimberly Christopher. "Our goal is for this program to inspire students, staff, and faculty to advocate for health care for all, regardless of a person’s income, education, or place of birth. The college looks forward to demonstrating the many efforts underway to promote student and faculty engagement in our global community and to educate future global citizens."

"Bending the Arc" is a powerful documentary following Partners in Health and the work of extraordinary doctors and activists, whose efforts 30 years ago to save lives in a rural Haitian village grew into a global battle for the right to health care for all.

The film features three of Partners in Health’s co-founders, Dr. Paul Farmer, chair of the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School; Dr. Jim Yong Kim, former president of the World Bank Group and Dartmouth College and director of the World Health Organization’s HIV/AIDS Department; and Ophelia Dahl, chair of the PIH Board of Directors and a decades-long advocate for the health and rights of the poor.

Rear Admiral Julia Plotnick
(Ret.) Rear Admiral Julia Plotnick of the U.S. Public Health Service will deliver a keynote address at the Global Health Summit at UMass Dartmouth on March 5. Her gift of $1.25 million established a professorship in global public health at the College of Nursing.

A native of Fall River, MA, Plotnick graduated from the St. Anne’s Hospital School of Nursing and built an extensive career in public health. During her time at the U.S. Public Health Service as a community health and maternal/child specialist, she held various national positions and accepted special international assignments with the World Health Organization (WHO).

She assisted the WHO Iraq office in reestablishing health services there and assisted the Ministry of Health in Romania in developing plans to improve health services for mothers and children. She has served as an international consultant on nursing and health care in numerous countries, including Ethiopia, Rwanda, Zaire, and Croatia.

In 2014, Plotnick made a gift of $1.25 million to UMass Dartmouth for the Julia and Harold Plotnick Endowed Professorship to support a tenured position in the College of Nursing with a specialiy in global health. 


UMass Dartmouth nursing student with female patient on porch in Glendora, MS
College of Nursing student Maria Coyne '18 visits a patient in Glendora, MS. UMass Dartmouth nursing students and Shelley Lynch visited the community in the spring of 2018 to establish a public health program.

Mukherjee is the chief medical officer of Partners in Health and an associate professor of medicine and global health and social medicine at Harvard Medical School. She teaches infectious disease, global health delivery, and human rights to health professionals and students from around the world. Dr. Mukherjee has helped to create new residency and fellowship training programs for Rwandan and Haitian physicians as well as global health residencies and fellowships for U.S. trainees at Harvard and other American universities.

Her scholarly work focuses on providing health as a human right and on the design, implementation, and evaluation of comprehensive health care in resource-poor settings. She provides strategic guidance on the implementation of clinical programs at PIH sites around the world and has served as an expert consultant for WHO and Ministries of Health. She is the author of An Introduction to Global Health Delivery: Practice, Equity, Human Rights.

"Today, we are fortunate to live in a dynamic global society where people from all walks of life and from all parts of the world come together to learn, work, and live alongside one another," said Associate Professor Nancy Street, the Julia and Harold Plotnick Professor of Global Public Health. "Inspired by our senior nursing students, the summit provides the opportunity for our community to engage with global health leaders, nursing faculty, and students who lead global programs in some of the poorest regions of the world." 


Nursing students
College of Nursing students at a community hospital in The Azores, Portugal, where they participated in the Bridging the Atlantic program.

A question and answer session will follow the film presentation along with a panel reflecting on the global public health experiences of UMassD faculty and students.

The schedule for the summit:

9 a.m. Welcome, Associate Professor of Community Nursing Nancy Street
9:10 a.m. Dean Kimberly Christopher
9:15 a.m. Keynote, (Ret.) Rear Admiral Julia Plotnick 
9:35 a.m. Keynote, Dr. Joia Mukherjee
10:10-11:55 a.m. Documentary film, “Bending the Arc”
11:55 a.m. Q&A with keynote speakers
12:10-12:50 p.m. Faculty and student panels
12:50 p.m. Closing remarks, Professor Emeritus Jeanne Leffers

UMass Dartmouth is an institutional member of the Consortium of Universities for Global Health, an international group of leaders committed to advancing global health