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CSU-Pueblo professor to study global health pandemics

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Sociology professor Tim McGettigan will be studying global health issues in Thailand.
Sociology professor Tim McGettigan will be studying global health issues in Thailand.

Colorado State University-Pueblo sociology professor Timothy McGettigan will be studying global health issues in Thailand under a grant he received from the Fulbright Specialist Program.

The study, which begins in the summer of 2015, will allow McGettigan to study global pandemics like Ebola with his colleagues at Bangkok’s Mahidol University.

“We live on a crowded planet where pandemics can spread from one continent to another in only a matter of hours,” McGettigan said.

“People who are afflicted with Ebola anywhere are a threat to everyone, everywhere,” he said.

During the study, he will also look into the feasibility of implementing accessible healthcare worldwide.

McGettigan said he chose to conduct the study in Thailand because it serves as a major travel hub, where diseases can be spread easily.

“People carry lots of illnesses to Thailand every day,” he said. “This problem is exacerbated by Thailand’s huge global sex tourism problem.”

The diseases that are brought to Thailand reflect problems with caring for sick people on a global basis.

“Thailand could literally have the best healthcare system in the world but due to the way people travel and the illnesses the carry, Thai citizens would still be much sicker than they should be,” he said.

In terms of Ebola, McGettigan said allowing people to travel is a major flaw in the way the disease is being handled globally. Once people come in contact with the disease, he said many of them flee out of panic.

“To cure the disease, we need sick people to stay put,” he said.

“That requires a lot of education as well as the promise that those who are afflicted with Ebola will get the best available healthcare if they stay put and cooperate with healthcare providers.”

McGettigan said the healthier people are in one area of the world, the healthier the world is as a whole. He also said that in general, people have the potential to make progress in solving some of the most difficult global problems.

“Humans will never be able to solve all of the world’s problems, but so long as we devote sufficient time, effort and resources to the enterprise in question, we will be able to make significant progress toward solving even the most difficult problems,” he said.