OHSU

Meet Jay D. Kravitz

A Photo of Jay Kravitz
Abroad is peculiar names above the shops.
Strange too, the cookery and the cops. The people
Prattle with tongues there, they rattle
Inscrutable money, and with foreign eyes
Follow YOUR foreign eccentricities.

Muriel Spark, “Abroad.” NY Times, Nov 16, 2003

Jay D. Kravitz, MD. MPH.
Senior Instructor, Global Health Center

Dr. Kravitz has been a proponent of the discipline of global health throughout his career. He earned degrees in economics and medicine at Tulane University. During that period he also attended the London School of Economics and Political Science. Early in his career as an emergency physician, he worked in refugee camps along the Thai-Cambodian border during the Khmer Rouge period, in displaced persons centers during the 1985 Ethiopian famine, and conducted a needs assessment in the aftermath of the 1985 Mexico City earthquake. These experiences inspired Dr. Kravitz to earn an MPH degree at the University of Washington. In the early 1990s, he was co-investigator on a massive environmental and health research project in Lesotho.

Upon his return to Oregon, he served as a local public health official for more than a decade. At the same time, as Director of the OHSU Preventive Medicine Residency, he saw the need to educate students and physicians about the complexities of public health and medical practice in more austere global settings. Dr. Kravitz has served as a faculty advisor for the GHA, counseling students interested in study abroad. His overriding philosophy, as he continues an academic career at OHSU, has been to emphasize that among the most important components contributing to health and the origins of many diseases are the multiple “environments” in which we live and the personal, sometimes imprudent, behavioral choices we make. In stressed or impoverished environments, those choices to sustain health may be severely limited. The solutions, he concludes, often do not have a medical model. 

His curiosity and interest in self-sufficiency led him to design and construct homes he has lived in, both on and off the grid. These experiences have provided insights about systems that might be applicable overseas. Over the years he has been an avid long distance cyclist and horse lover. To that end, he believes we should "be riders, not passengers". He lives in a rural area outside of Portland, where he has a loyal husky, a boss cat, and goats to keep the blackberries at bay.