New Chair of International Affairs Council Transformed Through Global Health

“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page”

– Saint Augustine

 

Photo_TexasTechA trip to East Africa during the rise of HIV/AIDS was a huge awakening for William Michael Scott, DNP, RN, FAANP, associate dean of academic programs and professor of nursing at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) El Paso Gayle Greve Hunt School of Nursing (GGHSON). “I thought it was enough to know about my own community, but to tell you the truth – I was disregarding what the global community could teach me.”

Thirty years ago, while working as a public health nurse doing epidemiological fieldwork on sexually transmitted infections, Dr. Scott was invited on a “reverse pilgrimage” to Kenya where he was told to leave behind his instinct to help and make things better and to instead — look, listen and learn. “We were told not to teach or use our expertise. Instead, we were to learn about the human experience from your average person on the street.”

It was through finding a “connection” and building relationships that he grew. “It broke me out of my shell. I learned a new definition of what it really meant to be a human being, and this enhanced my passion for the human story” said Scott. “ It was truly a transformational experience, and one that would have a profound impact on my personal and professional life.”

As the new chair of the TTUHSC El Paso International Affairs Council (IAC), Dr. Scott will draw from those experiences. During his time in Africa, and later in other areas of the developing world, he came to understand that the way of the West is not always the best. “I noticed that some of these rural communities were having better population health outcomes than similar communities in the U.S. They not only provided outreach services, but also developed innovative models that focused on improving quality of life by reaching out and creating therapeutic partnerships.”

Through the IAC, Dr. Scott will work with faculty and students from the GGHSON, Paul L. Foster School of Medicine and the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, along with a resident from Graduate Medical Education and a representative from Student Services, to provide feedback to TTUHSC El Paso President Richard Lange, M.D., and Provost Jose Manuel de la Rosa, M.D., on matters of global health concern and how it involves the institution’s mission, faculty, staff and students. “It is our goal to develop sustainable, international collaborations and policies that will have a transformative effect on global communities and TTUHSC El Paso.”


BACKGROUND: International Affairs Council

The International Affairs Council evolved from the PLFSOM Global Health Committee, which was established in 2014 and chaired by Gilbert Handal, M.D., professor and Martha Cuellar-Acuña Chair for Child Advocacy in the TTUHSC El Paso Department of Pediatrics. The new institutional council encompasses the PLFSOM, GGHSON and the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. As TTUHSC El Paso continues to grow and evolve, so too will the mission of the IAC. “We will develop and track global health strategies with the best interest for instructional study and collaboration,” said Dr. Scott. “I would like to thank President Lange and Provost de la Rosa in appointing me as chair of this very important council which is yet another example of the campus coming together to further its mission,” said Dr. Scott.