Other CHC researchers are studying health disparities as they
affect people all over the world, focusing particularly on the poor in low- and
middle-income countries who have difficulty gaining access to high-quality medical care.
CHC member Richard Feachem is one of 17 leading economists and policy-makers from around
the world appointed to the Commission on Macroeconomics and Health (CMH). The CMH was
convened by the World Health Organization (WHO) to clarify linkages between health and
Feachem co-chairs one of the CMH Working Groups, dedicated to the study of
"international public goods" for health. "'Public goods' is an economic
concept that refers to goods that won't be supplied naturally by markets but that, if
adequately supplied, will yield positive benefits for the international community,"
says Feachem's colleague and Policy Advisor to the CMH, Carol Medlin. The group examines
three areas in particular: research, communicable disease, and information. The research
piece will focus on incentives for R&D on drugs and vaccines for the poor,
specifically, and the need for long-term capacity building of international research
networks, generally. The communicable disease component will focus on preventing
cross-border spread of infectious disease, the global spread of drug resistance, and
achieving disease eradication -- all of which require an international response. The
information piece will focus on the collection and dissemination of information for the
purpose of international disease surveillance and the standardization of health care data
to allow cross-country comparisons.
Feachem also directs the Institute for Global Health (IGH), established in 1999 by UCSF
and UC Berkeley in close collaboration with Stanford University and with leading
corporations and organizations in the Bay Area. The mission of IGH is to improve health
and increase access to effective and affordable health services in all countries by
conducting research, developing and evaluating policy, providing high-level training, and
forging consensus among leading scientists and policymakers.
CHC's Paula Braveman also works to decrease health disparities globally. From 1995 to
1999, Braveman co-directed a WHO initiative on Equity in Health and Health Care. The
initiative provided objective evidence about widening inequities in wealth and ways to
monitor them, information that helped policy-makers understand the health impacts of their
decisions upon the most vulnerable segments of their population.
Braveman, who also specializes in maternal health, believes joining her own expertise
in epidemiology with that of social scientists is crucial. "The issues I examine need
the perspective and insight of social scientists," she says. "The Center for
Health and Community is important because it fosters and promotes that kind of