Campus News

Indian girl (from Half the Sky website).

UB to celebrate Global Health Month with focus on women's health


Published February 28, 2013


UB will celebrate the first UB Global Health Month with a seminar series focused around the topic “Women’s Health is Global Health.”

All events in the series, sponsored by the Office of Global Health Initiatives, School of Public Health and Health Professions, are free of charge and open to the public.

The schedule:

  • March 7:  Screening of excerpts from the documentary film “Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide,” 7-9 p.m., Screening Room, Center for the Arts, North Campus.

This widely celebrated documentary is based on the book of the same name by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. It  considers the plight of women and girls across the globe who are threatened by trafficking, prostitution, forced marriage, maternal mortality and gender-based violence, as well as discrimination in business, education, health care and economic empowerment.

“Half the Sky,” filmed in 10 countries, is not just about victimization, however.  It follows activists Kristof, WuDunn, America Ferrara, Diane Lane, Eva Mendes, Meg Ryan, Gabrielle Union and Olivia Wilde on a journey that introduces inspiring, courageous individuals who, faced with oppression from many quarters, have crafted meaningful solutions to their problems.

  • March 11: UB Global HIV Research Day, 8:20 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., Bruce Holm Commons, second floor, UB’s New York State Center for Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences, 701 Ellicott St., Buffalo. Keynote speaker will be Stephen Becker, deputy director for HIV/TB for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. His topic will be “The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Approach to HIV: A Global and Public Health Perspective.” The talk, to begin at 9 a.m., is presented by UB’s International Pharmacotherapy Education and Research Initiative.
  • March 22:  Global Health Day. This third annual event, to be held in Farber Hall, South Campus, will feature panel discussions, a keynote address, a free public lunch and a health fair. It is sponsored by the Global Health Initiatives Student Group.

 The schedule:

  • 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., 144 Farber: A panel discussion, “Health in Brazil: A UB Summer Study Abroad Program,” will be led by John Stone, director of the UB Center for International Rehabilitation Research Information and Exchange, which under his leadership has become a major international source of information on rehabilitation and rehabilitation research conducted outside the U.S.
  • Noon to 1 p.m., 144 Farber: Keynote address by Bradley Woodruff on “Women's and Children's Nutrition in Emergency Settings.” Woodruff, an alumnus of UB, began his global health career as an epidemic intelligence officer at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and since has served in many CDC positions, including a four-year stint as acting chief and medical epidemiologist for CDC’s International Emergency and Refugee Health Branch, followed by service as a senior medical epidemiologist for the CDC Child Nutrition Branch. He has worked in more than 30 countries over the past 20 years and now serves as a consultant in international health and nutrition to NGOs and UN agencies, including the World Food Programme, the World Health Organization and UNICEF.
  • 1:15-2 p.m., Lunch and Global Health Fair, 182 Farber.
  • 2-2:45 p.m., Question and Answer Session, 182 Farber.
  • March 27: "Poverty and Human Trafficking in Vietnam," a talk by Caroline Ticarro-Parker, founder of the Catalyst Foundation, 2-2:45 p.m., 182 Farber.

The Catalyst Foundation works to improve the lives of orphaned, abandoned and homeless children in Vietnam by establishing scholarships and providing medical aid, school support programs and other humanitarian projects. Young Vietnamese girls living in extreme poverty often are in danger of being abducted or sold to traffickers, so Ticarro-Parker and her team work with local officials and community leaders to provoke changes that will break the cycle of poverty and, by doing so, reduce human trafficking.

  • April 5: "Menstrual Hygiene Matters: Addressing Barriers for Schoolgirls in Low-income Countries," a talk by Marni Sommer, noon to 1 p.m., 144 Farber.

Sommer has worked in global health and development on issues ranging from improving access to essential medicines to humanitarian relief in conflict settings.

Her expertise lies in conducting participatory research with adolescents, understanding and promoting healthy transitions to adulthood, the intersection of public health and education, gender and sexual health, and the implementation and evaluation of adolescent-focused interventions.  Sommer’s doctoral research explored girls' experiences of menstruation, puberty and schooling in Tanzania.  Her current research focuses on the intersections of gender, health and education for girls and boys transitioning into adulthood in sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia.

Updated information on the seminar series can be found on the Office of Global Health Initiatives’ website.

For more information, contact program coordinator Jessica Scates at

In addition to the Office of Global Health Initiatives, sponsors of these events include the Institute for Research and Education on Women and Gender, Undergraduate Academies, Department of Social and Preventive Medicine and School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, as well as private donors.