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Reporter predicts Houston to emerge as global health hub

Andrew Van Dam

About Andrew Van Dam

Andrew Van Dam of The Wall Street Journal previously worked at the AHCJ offices while earning his master’s degree at the Missouri School of Journalism.

Jaclyn Schiff, writing for the UN Dispatch, makes the case that journalists should look to Houston as the emerging hub of the global health universe, predicting that it may even supplant hotspots like Washington, D.C. and Seattle.

The foundation for Houston’s emergence, she writes, will be built on its already powerful medical community, built on Baylor College of Medicine, the mammoth Texas Medical Center and the MD Anderson Cancer Center, all of which are stepping up their global health efforts.

houston-skyline

Photo by Houston TranStar via Flickr

Beyond that pedigree, the particular catalyst for her story is Dr. Peter Hotez’ move from D.C. to work with Baylor and the Texas Children’s Hospital. Hotez is a bit of a global health rock star (Wikipedia bio), known for his work with vaccines and tropical diseases, and he’s bringing his work to Houston with him.

Part of his nonprofit organization, the Sabin Vaccine Institute, is also moving down to Houston, which Hotez calls a “gateway to Latin America.” Hotez will also be the founding dean of the first U.S.-based school of tropical medicine. Its exclusive mandate and Hotez’s track record of achievement are likely to attract some of the brightest physicians with an interest in global health, which is huge for creating a bustling global health community.

Schiff finishes with another prediction, writing that “the Houston Chronicle hasn’t traditionally been a major source of global health news, but I’d start paying closer attention. There’s too much going on for there not to be a story.” For the record, reporters interested in adding the Chronicle to their regular health reading lists can subscribe to its RSS at http://feeds.chron.com/houstonchronicle/health.

As an alternative or supplement to the Chronicle‘s coverage, Carrie Feibel covers the Houston health beat for the local NPR affiliate, and you can keep up with her reporting by following her on Twitter at @KUHFHealth.

The UN Dispatch is sponsored by the United Nations Foundation, a private organization which supports UN efforts worldwide, particularly in the public health arena.