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Spring events focus on global health equity

Last year’s Global Innovation Challenge focused on developing solutions to the sanitation needs of schoolchildren in low- and middle-income settings worldwide. Photo: Douglas Levere

By DAVID J. HILL

Published March 31, 2017

“Attracting colleagues from across the Americas and from international organizations such as the World Health Organization is a testament to the exciting global health opportunities now available at the university.”
Pavani Ram, co-director
UB Community for Global Health Equity

Global health equity will be the focus of a series of events UB is hosting this spring.

Events range from a talk addressing malnutrition among children in developing countries, to hosting leaders from across the Western Hemisphere for the biennial meeting of the Interamerican Network for Healthy Habitats. In addition, UB will host a keynote lecture by a Geneva-based World Health Organization expert, a health summit aimed at improving health for refugees in Western New York, and an innovation challenge for students.

Supported by the Community for Global Health Equity and the School of Public Health and Health Professions’ Office of Global Health Initiatives, these events highlight UB’s flourishing global health strengths.

“Seven years ago, a small group of public health students developed the concept of the very first Global Health Day here at UB. Since then, we have been able to dramatically expand global health activities on campus, thanks to the generous funding support provided to the SPHHP Office of Global Health Initiatives and the UB Community for Global Health Equity,” said Pavani Ram, a co-director of UB’s Community for Global Health Equity and director for the Office of Global Health Initiatives.

“Attracting colleagues from across the Americas and from international organizations such as the World Health Organization is a testament to the exciting global health opportunities now available at the university.”

Registration is required for most events. Visit the links below for registration and additional information. Here’s an overview of each event:

March 31: Global Health Day (noon-4 p.m.)

This is the seventh year for this event, which runs from noon to 4 p.m. in 111 Kimball Tower on UB’s South Campus. Keynote speaker Rebecca J. Stoltzfus — professor in the Division of Nutrition Sciences and vice provost for undergraduate education at Cornell University — will discuss the causes of childhood malnutrition. Stoltzfus is engaged in research projects in Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Kenya and Ethiopia.

Following the keynote address will be presentations from students across a range of disciplines, including architecture, geology and epidemiology.

A global health research panel will take place from 3-4 p.m. featuring six UB researchers: Diana Aga, professor of chemistry; Kasia Kordas, associate professor of epidemiology and environmental health; Indranil Goswami, assistant professor of marketing; Helen Wang, associate professor of communication; Oscar Gomez, associate professor of pediatrics; and Samina Raja, associate professor of urban and regional planning.

Jean Wactawski-Wende, dean of the School of Public Health and Health Professions, will deliver closing remarks.

Global Health Day is co-sponsored by SPHHP’s Office of Global Health Initiatives and the UB Community for Global Health Equity. More info at:https://www.buffalo.edu/globalhealthday

April 18-19: 11th Biennial Meeting of the Inter-American Network of Healthy Habitats

The School of Public Health and Health Professions and the School of Architecture and Planning are hosting this two-day event as part of the university’s role as a World Health Organization Collaborating Centre on Health in Housing.

The event will feature a keynote address from Nathalie Roebbel, technical officer in the Department of Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health at WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.

Presentations will also be given by Samina Raja, associate professor of urban and regional planning, and Henry Louis Taylor, professor of urban and regional planning.

April 20: Symposium on Promoting the Health of Migrants in the Americas

UB’s Community for Global Health Equity will host this symposium on promoting the health of migrants in the Americas featuring keynote speaker Marcelo Korc, a regional adviser with the WHO / Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). The symposium will include a presentation by Kim Griswold, associate professor of family medicine, psychiatry and public health and health professions at UB.

April 21: fourth annual WNY Refugee Health Summit (8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.)

Registration is required for this event, which is sponsored by UB’s Office of Global Health Initiatives and the UB Community for Global Health Equity

Buffalo is home to over 22,000 foreign-born residents, many of whom are refugees. The foreign-born population increased by 95 percent between 2006 and 2013, doubling the number of students with limited English proficiency in Buffalo’s public schools. Buffalo’s refugee populations are revitalizing and diversifying Buffalo – but challenges remain in delivering effective health care for them.

The summit, which takes place in UB’s Educational Opportunity Center (555 Ellicott St., Buffalo), convenes scholars, resettlement agencies, service providers, community support centers, municipal agencies and refugees to explore barriers and solutions to promote culturally engaged health care for refugees in Buffalo.

The event begins at 9 a.m. with a welcome by Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown. Summit speakers include:

  • Kevin Pottie, founding director of the Immigrant Health Clinic of Ottawa and a researcher in the Centre for Global Health at the University of Ottawa.
  • Meb Rashid, who in his role as medical director of the Crossroads Clinic works with newly arrived refugees in Canada.
  • Sharmila Shetty, a medical epidemiologist in the Emergency Response and Recovery Branch at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • Deborah Lee, who for the past 10 years has worked as an epidemiologist in the Immigrant, Refugee and Migrant Health (IRMH) Branch of the Division of Global Migration and Quarantine (DGMQ) on U.S. immigrant and refugee health issues and has managed the Migrant Serum Bank since 2007.

More info at: https://www.buffalo.edu/refugeehealth

May 22-26: Global Innovation Challenge

Teams of UB undergraduate and graduate students will partner with faculty experts and local professionals to compete for funding to further the ideas they’ll hone through the first half of the week.

The challenge is for teams to develop strategies that bridge the gap between Western and non-Western “cultures of care” in order to improve the continuity of care, which in turn improves health and wellness among refugees in Buffalo.

The week will begin with short presentations from guests, coupled with small- and whole-group discussions. As major themes emerge, teams will surface through a combined approach of self-organizing and facilitator organizing. As the teamwork progresses, each group will be encouraged to focus their proposed strategies toward a specific health care type or situation, group and strategy.

Teams will be coached on how to present their ideas, and will get practice and feedback prior to the “pitch” to the jury on May 26.

The Global Innovation Challenge was started last year and is organized by the Community for Global Health Equity. More information is available at:

https://www.buffalo.edu/gic2017.