Greetings from Johannesburg, South Africa!

I arrived here this morning, overnight from Europe.

I was met by Charlie van der Horst, who is one of UNC’s leaders in infecious diseases and, especially, HIV/AIDS. He has been working extensively with colleagues in Malawi and South Africa for the past five years. See this link for more information about our work there.

We had a lunch meeting at the University of the Witswatersrand, hosted by Professor Helen Laburn, the dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences — functionally this means she is dean of the med school, the school of public health, the dental school, the school of allied health sciences and the nursing school.

Also there was Ian Sanne, who is van der Horst’s principal collaborator in South Africa, and a number of other colleagues who hold medical school and public health faculty positions at UNC, including epidemiologists Annelies Van Rie and Audrey Pettifor from the School of Public Health. I was really impressed with what is being done between our two universities.

We discussed even broader and deeper collaborations — including the possibility of linking UNC, Wits and the College of Medicine in Malawi, for training of Malawian physicians here in SA.

I believe this partnership has rich potential, and the benefits will be great for all parties, including the people of North Carolina, as we grow our global health work it will help what we are doing back home, as I said in my posting yesterday.

Tonight we have a dinner — and plan to discuss this more.

And tomorrow we are off to Malawi! More from there. Bill

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