Public Health

American Public Health Association
According to its site, the American Public Health Association is the oldest and largest organization of public health professionals in the world. The APHA has therefore long been involved in the personal and environmental health issues that confront us all; offering scientific and practice programs, learning and professional development programs, publishing the American Journal of Public Health and generally advocating for the means to create a healthier society.

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Global Health
Along his wife Melinda, the famous software tycoon Bill Gates has undertaken a project that is amazingly ambitious in scope: tackling inequities in global health, education, and technology. Based on the guiding principle that every human life has equal value, the Gates personally manage their $28 billion dollar foundation which acts as catalyst by giving grants to organizations (governments, private sector and non-profits) that aim to create positive long term change. The Foundation’s Global Health initiative not only offers grants, it identifies and prioritizes chronic health situations around the world, targets its aid to medical research and then supports the delivery and follow-up of the health aid. It’s hard to believe the scale and vision of this enterprise, but the modest-yet-focused tone of the Foundation’s web site helps us believe that this work could be as profoundly influential as Microsoft has been.

Blue Planet Network
Blue Planet Network recognizes that access to clean drinking water is a fundamental building block for healthy, prosperous societies and that the need is urgent. Taking a different approach to the problem, the Network’s goal is not initiate clean water projects, but rather to maximize the impact of existing programs by creating a network of individuals, funders and implementers. The site’s bold design tries to synthesize a rather complex system for tracking new initiatives and best practices in water projects around the world and sharing the results within the Network to assure more successfulprojects and, of course, more clean water!

California Senior Games
Providing resources and leading the cheer for California’s active seniors, CSGA promotes healthy, active sports for the aging population of the Golden State. The Association lists Senior Games, meets and championships all over the state while maintaining a roster of clubs and training facilities for every sport imaginable.

Cooking Matters
The harsh reality that increasing numbers of low-income American families cannot adequately feed their children is addressed in a creative way by an organization that draws on the volunteer talents of culinary and nutrition experts who teach the secrets of balancing budget and nutrition. Part of the Share Our Strength project’s group of “No Kid Hungry” programs, Cooking Matters is a series of classes taught by chefs and nutritionists that explore the best ways to buy and cook healthy food on a limited budget. An approach that teaches skills that are not just useful in hard times, but could inspire a lifelong love of good food.

Face to Face AIDS Project
Despite the organization’s name, this site feature little discussion of AIDS and its impacts, rather, Face to Face seems to focus on transforming individual lives through small-scale community development. In Malawi and Cambodia, the Project offers micro loans to programs that help people living with AIDS to build relationships with each other and with their community, and from there initiate projects that are the grassroots of change. Education about organic farming and permaculture practices are an important feature of Face to Face AIDS projects, and these practices have been integrated into more recent projects, such as the new SCC*F2F Community Center in Siem Reap, Cambodia, a physical manifestation of the community spirit that this AIDS documentary project turned development program seeks to build.

Firelight Foundation
Child-centered, family-focused and community-based, the Firelight Foundation brings grassroots–developed aid and empowerment to children and families of sub-Saharan Africa that are affected by the HIV-AIDS crisis. As a funding organization, Firelight invests in community-based proposals primarily from Lesotho, Malawi, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Firelight’s “from the ground up” mission and methods are well articulated here, and the current projects featured in the “Grantees” section tell a transformational story of HIV-AIDS and its consequences.

Global Health Council 
The Global Health Council’s busy website gives a sense of the scope of their operations and of the desperate need for information and action on the global health scene. Dig around a little in the information-rich pages of this site and you’ll find news of health situations all over the world as well as what is being done to address them. The Council’s advocacy programs are as comprehensive as its resources, with a well designed “advocacy center” that offers tools for those seeking to make a difference in global health.

Health Leads
Addressing the long-ignored connection between poverty and poor health, Health Leads proposes a new model of health care; one where basic resources such as food and adequate shelter are as important as prescriptions. Healthy Leads recruits college students to become “Advocates,” working to get patients the connected to the resources they need to prevent the non-medical root causes of many illnesses. Recognized by First Lady Michelle Obama as an exemplary model for social innovation and entrepreneurship, Health Leads proposes a holistic and realistic path for American health care.

International HIV/AIDS Alliance
Founded in the dark days of the AIDS crisis, when the international scope of the epidemic was becoming obvious, the International HIV/AIDS Alliance began with a mission to bring funding and support to community level programs around the world. As the epidemic and its treatments have evolved, so has IHAA’s global strategy to get support and education to people who need it most. Part of their work is identifying people and communities at risk and lobbying governments and donors to invest in prevention with their brilliantly targeted campaign “What is Preventing Prevention?” Caring for community means addressing issues that affect people living with HIV/AIDS, such as violence and discrimination against LGBT people in some African countries, or campaigning for early treatment for Tuberculosis, a common threat to immune weakened populations. The Alliance has clearly and directly laid out their the aim of their work on their well designed website, on their related Youtube chanel (home to a series of excellent short documentaries on the experiences of individuals living with HIV/AIDS), and in the many publications available for download that explore the ways and means of prevention.

John E. Fogarty International Center (FJC)
The Fogarty International Center, the international arm of the NIH, spearheads numerous programs to address global health challenges, including more than 200 specific diseases. The center takes a multi-pronged approach, offering research and training grants, fellowships, research support, and international awards. Scientists who visit the site can peruse synopses of available research and training grants, which include opportunities in the U.S. and abroad. The site also offers videocasts and podcasts of special NIH events, seminars, and lectures.

Lyon-Martin Health Services
Lyon-Martin Health Services was founded to serve San Francisco’s LGTBQ community and others that are often marginalized by the health care system. Lyon-Martin offers primary care, HIV, transgender health services, gynecological care and mental health services – and above all, understanding and respect – to its loyal clientele.

Medecins sans Frontières (Doctors without Borders)
The actions of this group of concerned doctors, volunteering their services to bring emergency care to those in need around the word, has given Medecins sans Frontières (Doctors without Borders) well deserved international recognition. The group’s commitment is to serving those struck by famine war and disease, whoever and wherever they may be. The site’s international updates on humanitarian health crises often expose situations that are not covered by the mainstream media and reflect the MSF’s other mission: to help draw attention to the plight of the people they serve.

National Institute for Health (NIH)
The NIH has a daunting job - it is the main federal agency that is responsible for improving the nation’s health. Over the years, the Institute has conducted and funded important medical research, leading to better disease prevention, treatment, and even cures. Consumers will find a vast library of health and medical information on the NIH Web site, organized by general category. The site is information-rich, but as users dig down into subcategories, patience is key as the search can become a bit unfriendly. (Subcategory links are sometimes listed in alpha order, with English and Spanish entries interspersed, for example.) Besides health content, the NIH site includes a list of toll-free information lines by health condition and a link to a database of current clinical trials that are accepting volunteers. Anyone interested in staying current—patients, doctors, or researchers—can subscribe to any of numerous e-newsletters are available on various topics.

Open Society Institute - Public Health Program 
Financier-philanthropist George Soros’ socially engaged grantmaking foundation, Open Society Institute, has noble and ambitious aims: to shape public policy to promote democratic governance, human rights, and economic, legal, and social reform. On a local level, OSI also implements a range of initiatives to support public health. As the Institute’s site specifies, they are looking to “promote health policies grounded in scientific evidence, social inclusion, human rights and justice,” paying particular attention to the factors that can be both the cause and effect of poor health. The Public Health Program pages of the site spell out exactly how OSI goes about achieving their goals.

Peter C. Alderman Foundation
Founded in honor of the life a young man who died in the 9-11 attacks, re-building post-conflict societies by addressing the hidden wounds of survivors. The mission of the Peter C. Alderman Foundation (PCAF) is to heal the emotional wounds of victims of terrorism and mass violence by training indigenous health workers and establishing trauma treatment systems in post-conflict countries around the globe.

Positive Lives Photo Project
Since 1993 this project has sought to transcend the stigma and portray the very human lives of people living with HIV/AIDS worldwide. Indeed, these photos are lush images of ordinary lives lived in joy: family, work, community, birth …as well as sickness and death. Photos that were commissioned by Positive Lives from an international cast of documentary photographers have toured the world as part of major exhibitions, and the project’s Flickr pages have become a permanent testament of what it really is to live with HIV-AIDS.

Samburu Project
Lack of access to clean drinking water creates wide-ranging repercussions for the people of Kenya’s Samburu district, and eliminating the women’s long walk to gather fresh water is the key to their economic and social empowerment. The Samburu Project, initiated by American Kristen Kosinski, prioritizes digging functional wells for this pastoral nomadic tribe in order to free Samburu women to become economic drivers in their communities. The site delivers some truly startling facts on the influence of clean water and maps the over 50 wells the Project has created so far.

Slow Food USA
“Slow food aims to be everything that Fast food is not” and in so doing, this international grassroots movement has planted a seed: the idea that food can be about community, sustainability - and taste. In the U.S., the Slow Food movement has given rise to a variety of initiatives, including Terra Madre at home, Regional Biodiversity, Ark of Taste, US Presidia, Children and Food, and Slow Food on Campus, all of which are offering communities of all kinds a different way of relating to what sustains us.

Ti Kay
Tuberculosis and HIV can be a lethal combination in post-earthquake Haïti, and a small team of the medical non-profit known as Ti Kay focuses on preventing the dangerous spread of TB and its deadly effect on those living with HIV in a land that is still rebuilding its health infrastructures. Working with the staff at Port-au-Prince’s General Hospital, Ti Kay’s international crew of volunteer doctors and nurses provide free inpatient and outpatient care to a population dealing with the highest tuberculosis infection rate in the Americas.

University of Illinois at Chicago; School of Public Health
Community Health Sciences Division: The behavioral sciences form the theoretical basis for community interventions to enhance health and well-being - Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences: EOHS students learn to anticipate, identify and assess environmental and workplace health hazards, recommend corrective measures, institute programs to reduce morbidity and mortality, and evaluate these efforts.

U.S. Vets
Over two million American troops have been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan in the past 10 years, soldiers whose homecoming has often been complicated by issues including post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety and homelessness. U.S.VETS engages with veterans, providing much needed services such as counseling, employment assistance, job placement, as well as helping homeless vets find housing. The site’s monthly donation system is broken down into cost of actual services, perhaps because non-profit operates on the belief that the people that served to protect their nation deserve to be protected and served in turn.

Diseases and Disorders

National Multiple Sclerosis Society
Every hour, someone is diagnosed with MS, a neurological disorder that causes symptoms such as loss of balance, difficulty walking, and memory problems. The National Multiple Sclerosis Society, with chapters throughout the US, is working to defeat MS by funding important scientific research. People with MS can visit the Web site to find the latest information on treatments and research, healthy living tips, or a self-help group. The site also offers advice for families members, clinical bulletins for health care professionals, and a list of fundraising events—such as walks and bike rides—for anyone who wants to help defeat the disease. The Living With MS section is especially engaging, featuring podcasts on various topics, personal stories, and an Express Yourself corner, where people with MS share their art, whether painting, music, or photography.

Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Society
Named for a courageous woman who lost her battle with breast cancer at age 36, the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Society has become a leading voice in the fight against the disease. The organization supports research, education, and community-based programs, and spearheads fundraising events such as Komen Race for the Cure. The Web site—available in English or Spanish—offers reliable medical and other information for patients and survivors, as well as those who care about them. Visitors can also subscribe to the national organization’s e-newsletter, KomenLink, to get the latest medical news. The message boards are incredibly active on this site, with women reaching out to one another to share information and experiences, offer advice, and lend heartfelt support. To get a more local perspective, visitors can enter their ZIP code on the Home Page to link to a Komen affiliate in their area, where they can learn about nearby initiatives and events.

The Breast Cancer Fund
A call for action, the Breast Cancer Fund site strongly makes the point that breast cancer is now a public health crisis. Their well designed site succinctly delivers up to date information on current breast cancer research and outlines the actions that can taken to address the known preventable causes of the disease. An excellent resource for anybody concerned with breast cancer, the site links to events, articles, press coverage, reports, brochures and newsletters, to name a few. Knowledge is power.

Zero Breast Cancer 
Wanting answers as to why so many friends and family members are afflicted with breast cancer, the founders of Zero Breast Cancer created an organization dedicated to helping to identify the environmental factors that play a role in the development of breast cancer, and this by way of community participation in the research process. The site outlines Zero Breast Cancer’s many projects and achievements in community-based breast cancer research.

Featured Organization

Doctors of the World 
Doctors of the World brings much-needed medical care to people in the U.S. and abroad who can’t get the care they need due to human rights and civil liberties violations. Working in more than 25 countries, the organization has fought the spread of tuberculosis and HIV, set up health clinics in El Salvador, and provided mental health care for women and children in the West Bank, to name just a few projects. In addition to bringing health care to local communities, Doctors of the World trains locals to take over after they leave. This well-crafted Web site allows visitors to learn about recent projects by country, and find medical jobs and volunteer opportunities, and donate or purchase handcrafted items to benefit those in need.

Friends Without A Border 
Friends Without a Border is an international aid organization dedicated to improving the health of Cambodia’s children through support for the Angkor Hospital for Children. As this well-designed site emphasizes, the Angkor Hospital serves several important functions; beyond being the only children’s hospital in the region with a large population of very poor children, it is also a teaching hospital and the home of many health, nutrition and hygiene programs for local communities. A look at the appalling health statistics for Cambodia provided on the site is enough to underscore the vital need for this institution.

Mental Health America 
Mental Health American (formerly the National Mental Health Association) believes that mental health is key to overall health and well being. This site offers information about dozens of mental health disorders, and even provides information relevant to specific groups, such as women, African Americans, or military personnel and their families. The site is broad in scope, including issues that similar sites may not cover such as bullying, and includes helpful tools such as a depression screening quiz. Visitors can view profiles for hundreds of mental health professionals (searchable by city), learn about medications, and get information about paying for treatment. They can also visit the Action page to weigh in on legislation related to mental health care.

St Jude Children's Research Hospital
A pediatric hospital that was founded by entertainer Danny Thomas—and is now actively promoted by his daughter, actress Marlo Thomas—St. Jude’s gives new hope to children who have the toughest cases of cancer and other serious illnesses. A top research institute that also claims to be the nation’s third largest healthcare charity, St. Jude’s uses the most advanced treatments and has a history of helping children who have been deemed incurable by other institutions. Patients are accepted regardless of ability to pay, and St. Jude is the only pediatric research center that fully pays for lodging, food, and travel for patients and their families. This dynamic site offers guidance for referring physicians, information for patients and parents—including impressive multimedia presentations on various medical topics—and a directory of volunteer events.