Global Ties: A Local Discussion of Global Public Health Challenges

Young woman speaking with a female doctor
Article Summary
  • The Miller School’s Adolescent Medicine program hosted an international contingent of public health delegates from Global Ties Miami.
  • The event included educational sessions about public health challenges including HIV, the opioid crisis and advocacy.
  • The Global Ties delegates noted that legislative avenues to change are often effective, if challenging.

Experts from the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine’s Adolescent Medicine program provided educational sessions focused on HIV, the opioid crisis and patient advocacy for a 16-delegate contingent from Global Ties Miami.

The event was part of the delegation’s initiative, “Fentanyl and Other Global Public Health Challenges.” The delegates represent countries such as Egypt, Japan and Iceland. Many are CEOs, health leaders and physicians and explore public‐private partnerships to learn more about public health and infectious disease policies.

A group shot of the Global Ties Miami educational session.
Alex Moreno (center, in black shirt) speaks to the Global Ties Miami delegates.

“It is always an honor that our clinic is chosen for these activities,” said Clinical Program Manager Alex Moreno, M.P.H. “This is our third event we’ve hosted, and It is great to make new connections and share the important work we do to our international counterparts.”

It’s a one-stop shop for care, offering nutritional, physical and educational services. The Promote to Prevent (p2p) program provides education in HIV and sexually transmitted disease screening and active treatment plans, and all information is confidential.

“We are here for the youth,” Santiago said. “I want them to know they have a place to go that is full of understanding and acceptance. All these efforts are to achieve our main goal, which is to reach the community and provide them with high-level care.”

Much of the program’s success is credited to its transition support model. Adolescents receive sexually transmitted infection and HIV care in a facility exclusively for young patients. When they turn 22, they slowly transition to adult care by staying in the same facility, with an introduction to doctors for adults. At 24, they move to the adult clinic.

Fentanyl overdoses claimed 107,000 lives in the U.S. in 2022. Thomas Guerra, M.S., founded F Fentanyl as a response to the crisis.

“We meet people where they’re at to provide education and resources,” Guerra said. “It was nice to share what is going on with this crisis and hear the delegates’ perspectives on best practices.”

Guerra shared his side of battling addiction, relating how the opioid crisis has taken many of his friends. The trainings he provides reveal the consequences of fentanyl, provide tools for recovery and introduce the many harm reduction programs with which F Fentanyl partners, including the IDEA Exchange at the Miller School.

As the session progressed, delegates raised concerns and pointed to best practices they would like to implement in their countries. Common international challenges include funding, building community partnerships and patient privacy.

A group shot of the Global Ties Miami educational session.
Attendees at the educational session hosted by the Adolescent Medicine program.

“It’s about direct service delivery, especially with our mobile clinics here in Ukraine,” said Anna Korobchuk, project manager at Alliance for Public Health in Ukraine. “I really appreciate the talks on HIV and how, here in Miami, there is a focus on providing services to youth, along with the many prevention methods available, in an organized way.”

Moreno alluded to Florida laws that prevent providers from informing parents of minors’ HIV tests and results. While these laws create a safer care environment for adolescents, Moreno emphasized that passing legislation can be an uphill, but necessary, battle.

“The most interesting parts were the conversations surrounding legislation,” said Adel Ahmed Sayyed, CEO of the Ahl Masr Hospital/Foundation in Egypt. “At the end of the day, ideas on bettering health outcomes can be achieved with government backing. I also became more certain that health care systems need to rely more on social and qualitative research, in addition to the quantitative.”

Tags: Division of Child and Adolescent Health, public health