Council on Latin American and Iberian Studies

CLAIS Brazil Initiative: Advancing the Frontiers of Public Health and Medicine through Joint Brazil-US Initiatives


Location: Luce Hall, Room 203 and the Auditorium


The January 2020 conference on Public Health & Medicine is a continuation of the 2018 conferences at Yale on “Brazilian Studies in the U.S.: The Road Ahead.” One of the objectives of these events was to identify specific themes with strong potential for collaboration and development of strategic initiatives. In that context, public health and medicine, an important dimension of those conferences, have been identified as a major topic for the Council on Latin American & Iberian Studies’ Brazil Initiative. 
The theme of institutionalization and collaboration of research in all areas of study will be advanced by this continuing conference that will focus on two specific areas: data science and modeling and environment and environmental health. In 2018, Yale opened a dialogue with prominent institutions in Brazil, and the 2020 conference will deepen this relationship, with the goal of building on the groundwork created by the previous conferences and creating collaborative initiatives that explore the frontiers of public health and medicine for Brazil, the US, and beyond. 
Conference schedule:
Panel 1: Data Science and Modeling in Health
The use of data science in public health allows researchers to track trends in the outbreak and spread of disease, and to find correlates between public health issues and environmental or sociological factors. Scientist and public health specialists can compare data from a wide variety of locations and environments to better evaluate and even predict the spread of disease. Research in Brazil includes the study of the transmission of infectious disease in slum environments, the role air pollution plays in overall health, and the environmental and medical consequences of urban expansion.  Such research is especially important for public policy, as it can identify the best ways to prevent and control the spread of disease, increase public understanding of environmental health hazards, and contribute to well-informed decision-making. By quantifying how social issues affect health, data science and health modeling help to strengthen the argument for more equality in the distribution of wealth, opportunity, and material goods.
Panel 2: Environment and Environmental Health
The environment plays a large role in an individual’s health and in overall health policy. Environmental factors such as climate change, urbanization, prevalence of disease-carrying insects and animals, community health support, and access to basics like clean running water and electricity all can help or hinder the spread of disease. Identifying such environmental risks helps to shape public health policy and to highlight which factors will do the most to promote better health.
As poverty and environment are so closely tied together, understanding the role of environmental health will also promote alleviating social inequality. Such research is especially importance in places like Brazil, where parts of the environment are rapidly changing and will therefore have a marked effect on population health.