Dr. Chris Woods Reflects on Dr. Ralph Corey’s Global Health Legacy

Ralph Corey and Chris Woods photoAs we shared with many of you, Dr. Ralph Corey, a champion of Global Health education for post‐graduate medical trainees long before it acquired broad appeal, retired at the end of June this year. Since 1985, he was responsible for facilitating and supporting nearly 500 clinical elective residents on rotations in over 20 diverse global sites. Understanding the importance of bidirectional opportunities, he also hosted approximately 200 international trainees from 15 global partners at Duke. His visionary leadership led to the creation of the Global Health Pathway for Residents and Fellows (GHP). A unique program as compared with our peer institutions, the GHP accepts individuals from all sub‐specialties, provides extended protected time to conduct research overseas,
and provides masters level training in Global Health through the Duke MSc‐GH. Graduates of this program have been academically prolific, producing over 250 global health related publications since its launch in 2008, landing either faculty appointments at academic institutions or appointments at the NIH, CDC, NGO sector, or advanced training programs.

Throughout, Dr. Corey assured that the HYC remained true to its service mission and commitment to improve the health of the communities in which we work. For example, the HYC has built a robust cardiovascular service in Western Kenya, including a ten‐bed cardiac care unit and a Kenyan led Cardiovascular Fellowship Training Program. Under Dr. Corey’s leadership, HYC also provided significant operational, research, and laboratory funding to build health system capacity at other global partner sites, particularly Sri Lanka and Tanzania, in order to provide a stable and robust care and research infrastructure.

As we carry on Dr. Corey’s Global Health legacy, we intend to remain true to our mission: “to develop the next generation of globally educated, socially responsible, healthcare professionals dedicated to improving the health of disadvantaged populations”, yet we also recognize that these turbulent times require intentional change in how we deliver on that mission. The unprecedented COVID‐19 pandemic, though it limits fieldwork, encourages us to adapt new approaches to engage with our partners and facilitate the research of both our Duke and international trainees. I am comfortable that we can do that through creative technical approaches. However, the health disparities highlighted by the epidemic combined with the social unrest raging in the wake of ongoing disregard for black life and other forms of systemic racism also heightens a need for additional engagement in our own community under the banner of “local is global”.