GHES U.S. Fellow 2014-2015
Fellowship Site: Fiocruz, Bahia, Brazil
U.S. Institution: UC San Francisco
Project Title: Distribution and determinants of cardiovascular disease in an urban slum population
Dr. Alon Unger is currently an assistant professor at UCSF School of Medicine. The goal of his research was to study the distribution and determinants of non-communicable diseases, particularly cardiovascular diseases, in informal settlements (i.e. slums) in northeastern Brazil. Specifically, Dr. Unger worked closely with a NIAID-supported longitudinal community-based research project established in 2003 in a large slum on the periphery of Salvador, the capital of the state of Bahia. This project established a defined research cohort with ongoing studies primarily in infectious diseases in a community called Pau da Lima. In addition to analyzing these data, the study followed individuals within the cohort with high risk features or previously known cardiovascular disease in order to apply improved health metrics and measure cardiovascular outcomes in this vulnerable population. This work provided needed information on the distribution and determinants of cardiovascular diseases in slums, and offered insights into targeting costly and modifiable non-communicable diseases in these settings.