The new discipline of Global Health aims to improve health in an equitable way around the world. It is characterised by inter-disciplinary collaboration on health issues, and goes beyond the technical processes of traditional public health by engaging with the social and political determinants of health and disease.
Research into podoconiosis (a disabling leg swelling common in the tropical highlands) has many of the hallmarks of global health research, being built on strong international and inter-disciplinary partnerships, and prioritising research that is relevant to policymakers and advocates. In this lecture, Gail explores the past decade of podoconiosis research and show how it embodies many of the attributes of the global health ideal. Examples of collaborations with social scientists, geologists, ethicists, mineralogists, economists and lawyers as well as the more familiar biomedical disciplines are given. Finally, she considers the role of 'poster children' in disease advocacy, and looks to a future free of podoconiosis.