The priest’s return to the people of eastern Congo surprised few of his friends. His murder surprised no one.
When Patricia Hibberd looks at her smartphone, she sees a chance to save young lives.
Hibberd, the new chair of the School of Public Health’s Department of Global Health, has been working in Malawi, India, and Pakistan to develop a low-cost thermal imaging system for smartphones that would help to detect bacterial pneumonia in children in countries where standard chest X-rays are not available. The prospect of giving resource-strapped clinicians a way to diagnose the world’s leading cause of death of children under age 5 marks a new chapter in her 25-year quest to stem childhood pneumonia, sepsis, diarrhea, and other illnesses.
Marc Sommers’ interest in Africa’s youth dates back more than three decades to his work in Kenya, where he was headmaster of a girls’ secondary school. In the ensuing years, he has returned to Africa routinely as a scholar and analyst, and his growing body of research suggests that the prevailing wisdom about the continent’s youth is misguided and calls for significant reform. As a visiting researcher with the African Studies Center at the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies, Sommers (CAS’94) has written about postwar youth in Rwanda and South Sudan, among many other nations.
SPH prof & African Studies affiliate shares his passion for improving global public health
A physician specializing in infectious diseases, Christopher Gill calls himself “a clinician first,” but students are currently among the beneficiaries of his work on global public health problems. An associate professor of global health at the School of Public Health and a research scientist at BU’s Center for Global Health & Development, Gill treats his students more as colleagues, demanding a high level of dedication and professionalism, even as he engages them with his wit and wide-ranging war stories.
Boston University’s African Studies Center (ASC), an affiliated center of the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies, piloted a Swahili language course designed for Masters of Public Health candidates during the Spring 2016 semester, and students discussed the benefits of the course as well as the close the ties between the School of Public Health and the African Studies Center.
The class, Swahili With a Health Focus (CAS LE491), emphasizes Swahili language useful in conducting fieldwork and surveys, as well as cultural specific notions of health.
Jennifer Beard, Assistant Professor of Global Health, took the class this semester, and said the African Studies Center provides a link for faculty and students at the Medical Campus to colleagues on the Charles River Campus with similar research areas.
In honor of Harold C. Fleming, emeritus professor of Anthropology and African Studies at BU, who passed this past year in Gloucester, MA, the 20th issue of Mother Tongue, a journal of linguistics he founded in 1995, will be dedicated to his memory. The issue will include articles by several eminent anthropologists and genetic linguists, including Stephen Zegura (U. of Arizona), Gábor Takács (ELTE, Hungary), Paul Black (Charles Darwin U.), Václav Blažek (Masaryk U.), and Roger Blench (Cambridge U.), among others. It will also include a biography of Dr. Fleming, and a list of his publications.
Dr. Fleming had a long career at BU, beginning in 1965. He retired in 1989, and continued as a Research Fellow in the African Studies Center and Emeritus Professor of Anthropology.
John D. Bengtson, vice president of the Association for the Study of Language In Prehistory (ASLIP), writes that “Hal Fleming was a distinguished anthropologist and linguist, specializing in East African languages and kinship systems and especially in Ethiopian languages. During his years at BU, he established himself as one of the world’s experts in the history and relationships of African languages, and a leading supporter of the controversial efforts of Joseph Greenberg to extend the methods of historical linguistics into remote prehistory. Hal was a world figure in his discipline, developing ties with the Moscow circle of historical linguists and eventually founding and editing an international newsletter on historical linguistics that became the journal Mother Tongue. Hal Fleming’s network gave rise to the Association for the Study of Language in Prehistory, for which he served as president from 1988 to 1996, and in which he remained active until his passing. With his full white beard and well-endowed tummy, Hal was also the fellow who who dressed up as an eerily convincing Santa Claus for the annual winter anthropology party. Always ready with a kind word and a twinkle in his eye, Hal was an esteemed colleague and a dear friend to many in African Studies, Anthropology, History, and Linguistics. He will be remembered fondly.”
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“My heart was left in Senegal,” says Faith Umoh. After two years there with the Peace Corps, she returned to the US last spring to pursue an MPH at the School of Public Health—and discovered a way to stay connected to Senegal and Wolof, its main language, at the same time.
Foreign Language Area Studies (FLAS) fellowships from the Boston University African Studies Center support both undergraduate and graduate BU students studying African languages. Next year’s fellows include two SPH students, Umoh and Dan Flanagan.
Being able to speak the language of a population “is really about access to care,” says Flanagan, a BA/MPH dual degree student studying Zulu.