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Last Name

Brett Dee Nelson, M.D.

TitleAssistant Professor of Pediatrics
InstitutionMassachusetts General Hospital
AddressMassachusetts General Hospital for Children
Division of Pediatric Global Health, 5th Floor
175 Cambridge St
Boston MA 02114

I am a pediatrician and public health professional (Assistant Professor, Harvard Medical School; Assistant Pediatrician, Massachusetts General Hospital) whose interests are advocacy and health care provision for vulnerable populations, particularly children and individuals affected by conflict and crisis. My work in these disciplines has included clinical care, program development, advocacy, education, and needs-based research in many resource-limited settings.

My training includes MD and MPH degrees from Johns Hopkins, with MPH concentrations in humanitarian assistance and human rights, and an advanced diploma in tropical medicine from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. I completed my pediatric training in the Boston Combined Residency Program in Pediatrics (Harvard Medical School / Boston University School of Medicine). Following residency training, I helped develop the nation’s first Pediatric Global Health Fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital. In my capacity as the first fellow, I served as the Senior Pediatrician for the Liberian Ministry of Health and as the Interim Chair of Pediatrics and Newborn Medicine at Liberia’s sole teaching hospital. Working with my local Liberian colleagues, I led efforts in establishing pediatric and newborn care and training in a post-conflict country without pediatricians.

Since the early 1990s, I have also been involved in significant academic research and consultancy in over a dozen disrupted areas (e.g. central, eastern, and western Africa, the Balkans, Middle East, Haiti, etc.) while working for organizations such as the CDC, Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, Massachusetts General Hospital, International Rescue Committee, International Red Cross and Red Crescent, and Médecins Sans Frontières. This work has included pediatric clinical care, post-conflict health services development, HIV/AIDS surveillance in conflict-affected regions, as well as the establishment of clinical training programs stateside and in developing countries. I also led the development of innovative methodologies for the assessment of health services in resource-limited settings. This novel participatory approach integrates qualitative and quantitative methods and has now been successfully applied to many diverse settings. My academic accomplishments have been kindly recognized in several international conference presentations and in over a dozen peer-reviewed publications, including three first-authored articles in the leading journal, Pediatrics. I co-direct a popular global health and tropical medicine course at Harvard Medical School, “Clinical Topics in Global Health” (ME715.J).

I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to work in pediatrics and global health. Given children’s inherent vulnerability, I strongly feel it’s imperative to give them greater voice and to work towards eliminating or mitigating the tragic impact of global conflict and crisis upon child health.

 current student opportunities
Available: 01/01/13, Expires: 01/01/15

Birth asphyxia, or the failure to take the first breath of life, is a leading cause of newborn mortality worldwide, particularly in developing countries. Recent advances in newborn resuscitation training and equipment for resource-limited settings are improving access this life-saving intervention. Our team of clinicians and public health professionals have been invited to complete a multi-method evaluation of a countrywide newborn resuscitation training program in Tanzania. This evaluation involves evaluation of facility-level data and field-based evaluations (e.g., facility checklists, focus group discussions, skills tests, etc.). Students would be invited to participate in areas of their interest, including in-country field-based data collection, Boston-based data analysis, or other research questions nested within our larger evaluation.

 completed student projects
Perceptions of Tanzanian Health Care Workers Towards the Use of Mobile Phone Clinical Protocols
International, 06/14/12 - 08/04/12

 selected publications
Publications listed below are automatically derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and other sources, which might result in incorrect or missing publications. Faculty can login to make corrections and additions.
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  1. Nelson BD, Stoklosa H, Ahn R, Eckardt MJ, Walton EK, Burke TF. Use of uterine balloon tamponade for control of postpartum hemorrhage by community-based health providers in South Sudan. Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 2013 Jul; 122(1):27-32.
    View in: PubMed
  2. Olson KR, Caldwell A, Sihombing M, Guarino AJ, Nelson BD. Community-based newborn resuscitation among frontline providers in a low-resource country. Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 2012 Dec; 119(3):244-7.
    View in: PubMed
  3. Nelson BD, Ahn R, Fehling M, Eckardt MJ, Conn KL, El-Bashir A, Tiernan M, Purcell G, Burke TF. Evaluation of a novel training package among frontline maternal, newborn, and child health workers in South Sudan. Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 2012 Nov; 119(2):130-5.
    View in: PubMed
  4. Eneriz-Wiemer M, Nelson BD, Bruce J, Chamberlain LJ. Global health training in pediatric residency: a qualitative analysis of faculty director insights. Acad Pediatr. 2012 May; 12(3):238-44.
    View in: PubMed
  5. Nelson BD, Fehling M, Eckardt MJ, Ahn R, Tiernan M, Purcell G, Bell S, El-Bashir A, Walton EK, Ghirmai E, Burke TF. South Sudan Medical Journal. Maternal, Newborn, and Child Survival (MNCS): An innovative training package for building frontline health worker capacity in South Sudan. 2011; 4(4).
  6. Nelson BD, Collins L, VanRooyen MJ, Joyce N, Mukwege D, Bartels S. Impact of sexual violence on children in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Med Confl Surviv. 2011 Oct-Dec; 27(4):211-25.
    View in: PubMed
  7. Nelson BD, Saltzman A, Lee PT. Bridging the global health training gap: Design and evaluation of a new clinical global health course at Harvard Medical School. Med Teach. 2012; 34(1):45-51.
    View in: PubMed
  8. Rouhani S, Meloney L, Ahn R, Nelson BD, Burke TF. Alternative rehydration methods: a systematic review and lessons for resource-limited care. Pediatrics. 2011 Mar; 127(3):e748-57.
    View in: PubMed
  9. Nelson BD, Collins L, VanRooyen MJ, Joyce N, Mukwege D, Bartels S. Medicine, Conflict and Survival. Impact of sexual violence on children in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. 2010; 27(4):211-25.
  10. Olson KR, Caldwell A, Nelson BD. Newborn-care training in developing countries. N Engl J Med. 2010 Jun 24; 362(25):2427-8; author reply 2428.
    View in: PubMed
  11. Balsari S, Lemery J, Williams TP, Nelson BD. Protecting the children of Haiti. N Engl J Med. 2010 Mar 4; 362(9):e25.
    View in: PubMed
  12. Nelson BD, Getchell M, Rosborough S, Atwine B, Okeyo E, Wall E, Greenough PG. A participatory approach to assessing refugee perceptions of health services. World Health Popul. 2010; 11(4):13-22.
    View in: PubMed
  13. Stanton B, Huang CC, Armstrong RW, Sectish TC, Palfrey J, Nelson BD, Herlihy JM, Alden E, Keenan W, Szilagyi P. Global health training for pediatric residents. Pediatr Ann. 2008 Dec; 37(12):786-7, 792-6.
    View in: PubMed
  14. Nelson BD, Lee AC, Newby PK, Chamberlin MR, Huang CC. Global health training in pediatric residency programs. Pediatrics. 2008 Jul; 122(1):28-33.
    View in: PubMed
  15. Nelson BD, Herlihy JM, Burke TF. Proposal for fellowship training in pediatric global health. Pediatrics. 2008 Jun; 121(6):1261-2.
    View in: PubMed
  16. Nelson BD. Color Atlas of Pediatric Tropical Medicine. Chapter: "African trypanosomiasis". 2008.
  17. Jadhav AP, Nelson BD, Kim SS, Chiang VW. Cerebrospinal fluid rhinorrhea as a unique cause of hyponatremia. Pediatr Neurol. 2007 Nov; 37(5):360-2.
    View in: PubMed
  18. Nelson BD*, Bartels B*, Leaning J, Loane G (*contributing equally). Civilian protection in the health sector: Implementing human rights principles on the frontlines. Conference proceedings of Humanitarian Health Conference. 2007.
  19. Mills EJ, Singh S, Nelson BD, Nachega JB. The impact of conflict on HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa. Int J STD AIDS. 2006 Nov; 17(11):713-7.
    View in: PubMed
  20. Nelson BD, Dierberg K, Scepanovic M, Mitrovic M, Vuksanovic M, Milic L, VanRooyen MJ. Integrating quantitative and qualitative methodologies for the assessment of health care systems: emergency medicine in post-conflict Serbia. BMC Health Serv Res. 2005 Feb 17; 5(1):14.
    View in: PubMed
  21. Nelson BD, Fernandez WG, Galea S, Sisco S, Dierberg K, Gorgieva GS, Nandi AK, Ahern J, Mitrovic M, VanRooyen M, Vlahov D. War-related psychological sequelae among emergency department patients in the former Republic of Yugoslavia. BMC Med. 2004 Jun 1; 2:22.
    View in: PubMed
  22. Nelson BD. Disaster epidemiology and risk management. Hospital preparedness for emergencies workbook (U.S. Government publication.). 2004; 1(3).
  23. Nelson BD, Simic S, Beste L, Vukovic D, Bjegovic V, VanRooyen MJ. Multimodal assessment of the primary healthcare system of Serbia: a model for evaluating post-conflict health systems. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2003 Jan-Mar; 18(1):6-13.
    View in: PubMed
  24. Nelson BD, Dierberg KL, Mitrovic M, Vuksanovic M, Milic L, VanRooyen MJ. The use of qualitative and quantitative methodologies for the evaluation of emergency medicine in post-conflict Serbia. ABC: The Serbian Journal of Emergency Medicine. 2002; 2:17-22.
  25. Suzuki J, Shen WJ, Nelson BD, Selwood SP, Murphy GM, Kanehara H, Takahashi S, Oida K, Miyamori I, Kraemer FB, Kanefara H. Cardiac gene expression profile and lipid accumulation in response to starvation. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2002 Jul; 283(1):E94-E102.
    View in: PubMed
  26. Suzuki J, Shen WJ, Nelson BD, Patel S, Veerkamp JH, Selwood SP, Murphy GM, Reaven E, Kraemer FB. Absence of cardiac lipid accumulation in transgenic mice with heart-specific HSL overexpression. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2001 Oct; 281(4):E857-66.
    View in: PubMed
  27. Nelson BD, Simic S, Vukovic D, Bjegovic V, VanRooyen MJ. Evaluation of primary healthcare system needs in Serbia using qualitative methodology: a preliminary report. The Serbian Journal of General Medicine. 2001; 7(3-4):145-48.
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