News Release: School of Medicine, Woodruff Health Sciences

Jul. 7,  2009

Emory Professor Participating in Civil Society Summit in Moscow

Alfred W. Brann Jr., Emory Univesity School of Medicine professor of pediatrics and physician at Grady Memorial Hospital, has spent his life’s work trying to protect the safe arrival of the tiniest citizens of the world. As director of the Atlanta-based World Health Organization/Collaborating Center in Reproductive Health (WHO/CC/RH), Brann has worked tirelessly to reduce infant and maternal mortality and improve perinatal care in some 30 countries over the last 25 years.

Now, leaders from the United States and Russia are hoping to tap into that breadth of knowledge and experience. Brann is participating in the Civil Society Summit in Moscow July 5-7, which meets simultaneously with the U.S.-Russian Presidential Summit. The meeting is structured around broad mutually relevant themes: press and media; community development, human rights and rule of law; youth empowerment and education; and public health and the environment.  Discussions following two days of brainstorming will yield agendas for joint initiates between U.S. and Russian governments.

"Thanks to the hard work of John Straub and the Future of Russia Foundation and the strong support of Blake McBurney and the Rotary Club of Atlanta for the Balashikha Project, I am honored to be one of five Americans participating in the Public Health Group of the Civil Society Summit," says Brann.

Inspired by the innovative changes to improve outcomes of pregnancy by then-Gov. Jimmy Carter in the early '70s, the Atlanta-based WHO/CC/RH was created in 1981 as a partnership between Emory's Woodruff Health Sciences Center, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Georgia Department of Human Resources to analyze and continue to improve reproductive outcomes in the state of Georgia. The Collaborating Center, using the “Georgia systems solution” works throughout the world enabling health professionals in universities, state departments of health and ministries of health to assess, develop, and implement a perinatal health care surveillance system and appropriate health services to improve their region’s reproductive outcomes.

As medical director of the Future of Russia Foundation, Brann led the development of The Balashikha Project - a comprehensive model for modernizing perinatal care throughout Russia.

Over the past nine years Russian health care providers involved in the Balashikha project visited Brann and his Atlanta-based colleagues four times to exchange ideas and experiences with doctors, nurses and midwives. This collaborative effort enabled health experts to create a successful perinatal center within a hospital in Balashikha, which is also a referral center for high-risk mothers and babies in the Moscow region. Development of a perinatal surveillance system is currently underway.

"The whole Russian population is declining some 700 000 people per year, "says Brann. "This was pointed out in 2000 by then President Vladimir Putin in his first address to the Russian People who said, ‘the most acute problem facing Russia is its declining population.’ Most recently, President Medvedev identified the Balashikha Project as a model to use in the 20 approved perinatal centers throughout the Russian Federation."
"If health is going to be discussed, you cannot exclude women’s health, reproductive health and perinatal care from the agenda and only focus on adult health," says Brann who will propose a cooperative framework for maternal/infant mortality and reduction of low birth weight babies. "We hope to add the elements of primary healthcare for women, reproductive health and perinatal care which includes the mother, fetus and newborn until about seven days of age."

"Essentially when we talk about maternal and infant mortality, we are really trying to create a system where compassionate and evidenced care practices can be provided to women throughout Russia so they can at least know that there is an option to have a healthy baby at the end," says Brann.


The Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center of Emory University is an academic health science and service center focused on missions of teaching, research, health care and public service. Its components include schools of medicine, nursing, and public health; Yerkes National Primate Research Center; the Emory Winship Cancer Institute; and Emory Healthcare, the largest, most comprehensive health system in Georgia. The Woodruff Health Sciences Center has a $2.3 billion budget, 17,000 employees, 2,300 full-time and 1,900 affiliated faculty, 4,300 students and trainees, and a $4.9 billion economic impact on metro Atlanta.

Learn more about Emory’s health sciences:
Twitter: @emoryhealthsci

File Options

  • Print Icon Print