Marshall professor in Greece for her work with the Global Burden of Disease


Dr. Monika Sawhney of the College of Health Professions is currently in Greece attending  the “Global Burden of Disease” workshop taking place until Friday, May 17. The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation organized this technical workshop to train interested researchers and policymakers in the data, methods, findings and implications of Global Burden of Disease Study of 2010.

Sawhney, program director for the  public health program, has an extensive background in the coordination and implementation of programs that strengthen the public health sector around the world.

“I’ve worked with the World Health Organization and Center for Disease Control to coordinate and manage the polio and measles immunization campaign in Ethiopia,” Sawhney said. “With the Clinton Global Initiative University, I was able to collaborate with a nonprofit organization to start the diarrhea management center in India.”

The Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study, the most comprehensive effort to date, measures epidemiological levels and trends worldwide. For more than two decades, it has measured the impact of hundreds of diseases, injuries and risk factors in 187 countries around the world. Given her knowledge and experience working with the GBD in several foreign countries, Sawhney hopes to make her research applicable in West Virginia in regard to childhood obesity and diabetes.

“Since setting up the new public health program at Marshall, I am very aware of West Virginia’s rate of chronic disease,” Sawhney said. “This opportunity to travel and share information with scholars from across the world allows me to learn more about controlling our burden of disease.”

Dr. Michael W. Prewitt, dean of the College of Health Professions, said Sawhney’s trip to Greece is an opportunity for the Marshall academic community to exchange research and ideas with other disciplines.

“I am excited Dr. Sawhney has been selected to attend this global burden of disease workshop, which is designed to provide the most comprehensive information on population health,” Prewitt said. “This will create a strong foundation for strategic decision making, collaboration, and, ultimately, better health outcomes for people of West Virginia.”

Throughout the course of her career, Sawhney has attended more than 20 conferences and given presentations about the public health sector in countries across the world such as Austria, China, Kenya and others.


Photo: Working in Ethiopia with the World Health Organization and the Center for Disease Control,  Dr. Monika Sawhney (second from right) coordinated and managed the measles immunization campaign, which helped the ministry strengthen their health system by focusing on design and implementation of training programs for their staff.