SDWAC Global Health Symposium Summary

  1. Harding Distinguished Lecture by Dr. Katherine E. Bliss. Her address was entitled, “Governing Global Health in an Interconnected World”.  Bliss summarized the origins and history of global health organizations including the League of Nations, Red Cross, Rockefeller Foundation, Save The Children, Bilateral Aid Agencies, WHO, UNICEF, World Bank as well as private sector groups, NGOs, community organizations, faith-based operations, and others.   She went on to discuss the emerging concept of global health (1975-2000), health as a security issue, relation of health to globalization and trade, new actors in global health, the public-private partnership paradigm, private philanthropies, activist advocacy groups, the Global Financing Facility of 2015 to advance women’s and children’s health, international health regulations, global responses, and others.  Dr. Bliss also discussed one of our latest global health threats, the Zika virus.  There are many global challenges that confront our local, regional, national and international health care systems.
  2. Kenneth Walker, M.D., Emory School of Medicine and Archil Undilashvili, M.D., Partners for International Development, Atlanta, Georgia. The title of this presentation was, “Using the Health–Care Sector as a Model for Nation Building”.  Drs. Walker and Undilashvili (native of the Eurasian country of Georgia) discussed the origins and ongoing success of a joint partnership between Emory University and the country of Georgia to establish medical facilities in Georgia and to train Georgian physicians at Emory University. Sixty plus medical students from Georgia have come to Emory for six month training sessions. Priorities include medical needs of mothers and children (establishment of a Woman’s Wellness Center), increased information access (National Information Learning Center), drug abuse emphases, joint scholarly activities, and jobs in the medical sector via a new discipline, Workforce Science (1990).  These Emory University/Nation of Georgia activities and others promote nation building via providing critical jobs and a greatly improved medical infrastructure.  Dr. Undilashvili, Georgian native, described TSMU (Tbilisi State Medical University) as an example of a template “ready to apply to other developing nations”. Currently TSMU has an enrollment of 106 medical students of global distribution all involved in a “culture of change”. Students prepare to be both medical doctors and good global citizens simultaneously.
  3. Christopher Chase, Joy Scaria, and Radhey Kaushik – the topic of “The Global Interface between Animal and Human Health. Animals act as hosts for the transmission of pathogens to humans.  Dr. Chase provided background on a number of pathogens and their animal hosts including rabies (dogs), cowpox/smallpox (cows), SARS or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (civet cats), MERS or Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (camels), and Zoonotic Paramyxoviruses including Hendra (horses, fruit bats) and Nipah (swine and fruit bats) viruses.  Dr. Joy Scaria discussed the health and well-being of the microbiome within each one of us – our gut microbes and global health. Widespread antibiotic treatments may change our microbiomes and in some cases, this can be “bad business”!  Therapy for some with intestinal disorders is reintroduction of foreign fecal bacteria.  Dr. Scaria referred to this therapy as “the new gold rush”!   Finally, Dr. Radhey Kaushik discussed the influenza virus Orthomyxovirus family – A, B, and C. He discussed the way we name various virus particles (H1N1, H3N2, and many others), the nature of the viruses themselves with their surface molecules, and concepts of evolution “away from” effective therapies (natural selection).
  4. South Dakotans Contribute to Global Health – International Medical Experiences of Michael Saba, Ph.D.; Mr. Taylor Fisher, Dr. Kyle Heer, Ms. Sarah Anne Tow, Professor Sylvia Pickard, and Professor Patricia Da Rosa. During the final session of the Symposium, the involvement of South Dakotans learning about and providing health care in developing countries was described by six speakers.  Michael Saba, Development Consultant for the Avera McKennan Foundation, referred to his years of experience facilitating healtlh care programs around the world.  On Tuesday before the symposium, he returned from Africa.   He showed pictures taken at a site in Tanzania where South Dakotans are working.  Other speakers talked about the value of their medical experiences abroad.  As a student medical volunteer in Gambia, West Africa, Mr. Taylor Fisher (Telemetry RN, Avera McKennan Hospital) worked with patients having conditions of HIV, leprosy, maternal health and others; he stressed the importance of public health and how individuals can make major contributions to improve global health!  Dr. Kyle Heer (Chief Pharmacologist, Lewis Southwest, Sioux Falls) stated, “People with medical training can make a huge difference” following his trip to Honduras.  Sarah Anne Tow, an exchange student at the University Jȍngkȍping University in  studied global public health.  She also recounted her European travel experiences and reinforced the benefits of foreign service in medicine.  Dr. Patricia Da Rosa talked about dental care in countries outside the United States and the importance of quality care to overall health.  Sylvia Pickard cited her experiences in Russia, Cambodia and Honduras leading groups of students who visited health care facilities.
  5. The symposium concluded with questions from the audience directed at various panel members and opportunities for individuals to network.

Summary prepared by Dr.Nels Granholm


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