Einstein faculty member receives prestigious Fulbright award

December 11, 2009

December 11, 2009 - (BRONX, NY) - Lisa Marie Nathan, M.D., M.P.H., assistant professor of obstetrics & gynecology and women's health at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University, has been awarded a Fulbright Scholar grant for research aimed at reducing Rwanda's high rate of maternal mortality. Dr. Nathan is the only New York State Fulbright grant recipient in the medical sciences category for the 2009-2010 academic year.

Improving maternal health is one of the eight Millennium Development Goals identified by the United Nations. Although Rwanda has decreased its maternal mortality rate from the previous World Health Organization estimate of 1,300 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births, the Ministry of Health currently estimates that 750 Rwandan women die for every 100,000 live births, compared to 11 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births in the United States.

The Fulbright grant of up to $36,000 will allow Dr. Nathan to determine the effectiveness of mobile reproductive health care teams versus community-level birthing services in rural areas of Rwanda. Encompassing 50 villages in the Kibogora area, her research will impact a population of 29,000 people and is being conducted in conjunction with the National University of Rwanda, the local health leadership and Women's Equity in Access to Care and Treatment (WE-ACTx). Dr. Nathan's research is modeled after WE-ACTx's successful delivery of HIV counseling and testing through highly efficient mobile teams.

"It has been a goal of our team to bring these much-needed services to the region and provide a study that will lay the groundwork for improving health outcomes," said Dr. Nathan, who also is the Rwanda project director for the Global Women's Health and Primary Care Program of the department of obstetrics & gynecology and women's health at Einstein and Montefiore Medical Center. "The fact is that many Rwandan women are dying through childbirth and, in many cases, these tragic deaths are preventable."

Dr. Nathan and her research team will be evaluating and comparing the effectiveness of two interventions based at the most basic level of the Rwandan health system: health posts or ambulatory care centers. Her team will create a birthing center at one post, provide mobile birthing services at a second post, and monitor a third post, operating under conventional methods. At the end of the evaluation period the team hopes to determine which of the two interventions reduces maternal morbidity and mortality most significantly.

"Lisa is driven to serve," stated Irwin R. Merkatz M.D., the Chella and Moise Safra Chair in Obstetrics & Gynecology and Women's Health. "There is no obstacle too high or too difficult to dissuade her from her goal."

"Lisa has already made remarkable progress in a very short period of time," said Kathryn Anastos, M.D., professor of medicine and of epidemiology & population health at Einstein, and co-founder and director of scientific capacity building for WE-ACTx. "She will have the mobile teams and the maternity center operating before the end of the year, allowing for a real assessment of the impact of these two relatively low-cost interventions on maternal deaths. Her work with us may lead to models of service delivery that are replicable in other countries identified by the U.N. in the Millennium Development Goals."

Dr. Nathan is one of approximately 1,100 U.S. faculty and professionals who will travel abroad through the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program in 2009-2010. Dr. Nathan completed her residency at Einstein and earned her medical degree from Rush Medical College in Chicago, Illinois. She holds a master's in public health from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois, and a bachelor of science in biology from Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois.
-end-
Additional contact:

James A. Lawrence
U.S. Department of State
Telephone: 202-453-8531
lawrenceja@state.gov

Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University is one of the nation's premier centers for research, medical education and clinical investigation. It is home to 2,775 faculty members, 625 M.D. students, 225 Ph.D. students, 125 students in the combined M.D./Ph.D. program, and 380 postdoctoral research fellows. In 2008, Einstein received more than $130 million in support from the NIH. This includes the funding of major research centers at Einstein in diabetes, cancer, liver disease, and AIDS. Other areas where the College of Medicine is concentrating its efforts include developmental brain research, neuroscience, cardiac disease, and initiatives to reduce and eliminate ethnic and racial health disparities. Through its extensive affiliation network involving eight hospitals and medical centers in the Bronx, Manhattan and Long Island - which includes Montefiore Medical Center, The University Hospital and Academic Medical Center for Einstein - the College of Medicine runs one of the largest post-graduate medical training programs in the United States, offering approximately 150 residency programs to more than 2,500 physicians in training. For more information, please visit www.einstein.yu.edu

Montefiore Medical Center encompasses 125 years of outstanding patient care, innovative medical "firsts," pioneering clinical research, dedicated community service and ground-breaking social activism. A full-service, integrated delivery system caring for patients in the New York metropolitan region and beyond, Montefiore is a 1,491-bed medical center that includes: four hospitals -- the Henry and Lucy Moses Division, the Jack D. Weiler Division, the North Division and The Children's Hospital at Montefiore; a large home healthcare agency; the largest school health program in the US; a 25-site medical group practice integrated throughout the Bronx and Westchester; and, a care management organization providing services to 179,000 health plan members.

In 2008, The Children's Hospital at Montefiore was ranked as one of "America's Best Children's Hospitals" in US News & World Report's prestigious annual listing. The Leapfrog Group lists Montefiore among the top one percent of all U.S. hospitals based on its strategic investments in sophisticated and integrated healthcare technology.

Montefiore is committed to meeting the healthcare needs of the future through medical education and manages one of the largest residency programs in the country. Montefiore is The University Hospital and Academic Medical Center for Albert Einstein College of Medicine and has an affiliation with New York Medical College for residency programs at the North Division.

Distinguished centers of excellence at Montefiore include cardiology and cardiac surgery, cancer care, tissue and organ transplantation, children's health, women's health, surgery and the surgical subspecialties. Montefiore is a national leader in the research and treatment of diabetes, headaches, obesity, cough and sleep disorders, geriatrics and geriatric psychiatry, neurology and neurosurgery, adolescent and family medicine, HIV/AIDS and social and environmental medicine, among many other specialties. For more information, please visit www.montefiore.org or www.montekids.org .

The Fulbright Program, America's flagship international educational exchange program, is sponsored by the United States Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Since its establishment in 1946 under legislation introduced by the late Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas, the Fulbright Program has provided approximately 294,000 people - 108,160 Americans who have studied, taught or researched abroad and 178,340 students, scholars and teachers from other countries who have engaged in similar activities in the United States - with the opportunity to observe each others' political, economic, educational and cultural institutions, to exchange ideas and to embark on joint ventures of importance to the general welfare of the world's inhabitants. The Program operates in over 155 countries worldwide.

Fulbright recipients are among more than 40,000 individuals participating in U.S. Department of State exchange programs each year. For more than sixty years, the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs has supported programs that seek to promote mutual understanding and respect between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program is administered by the Council for International Exchange of Scholars.

For further information about the Fulbright Program or the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, visit http://fulbright.state.gov or contact James A. Lawrence, Office of Academic Exchange Programs, at 202-453-8531 or fulbright@state.gov.

Albert Einstein College of Medicine

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