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Categories:  Campus, Patient Care

Fighting health disparities across the globe

Doctor Trip, 2014

Max Brito, with medical residents enrolled in the Dominican Republic tropical infectious disease elective, at Robert Reid Cabral Hospital in Santo Domingo. – Photo courtesy of Max Brito

Max Brito has strong connections to his homeland, the Dominican Republic.

These connections, from work in HIV prevention to exchange programs in medical education, are supported in part by the Urban Global Health initiative, which fights health disparities worldwide.

The annual benefit to help the initiative will be held Friday at the Willis Tower’s Metropolitan Club. Tickets are $150 to $200 and available online.

As associate professor of medicine and vice chair for urban global health in the department of medicine, Brito takes medical students and UI Health residents to the Dominican Republic for two weeks every year as part of a course in tropical disease.

“The goals are to expose students to how medicine is practiced in resource-poor settings, and to give them a chance to learn about tropical infectious diseases that are relatively uncommon in the United States,” Brito said.

In return, Dominican medical residents — 30 so far — come to UI Health for two-month rotations.

Brito recently completed a public health project that circumcised 454 men in the Dominican Republic to help prevent the spread of HIV, modeled on research in Kenya by Robert Bailey, professor of epidemiology.

UIC is working to establish a clinic in the Dominican Republic for the treatment of tropical diseases and sexually transmitted infections.

“The clinic will be multidisciplinary, and will welcome faculty and students from other UIC colleges who will bring their own perspectives to addressing clinical problems affecting poor Dominicans,” Brito said.

In addition to the benefit Friday, donations to the Urban Global Health initiative can be made online.