March 21, 2003

School of Medicine hosts World Health Week activities

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Kathryn Kidd and Kimberly Harris presented Denise Pepin, center, the Social Worker of the Year award during a luncheon on Monday. (photo by Dana Johnson)

School of Medicine hosts World Health Week activities

Dr. Francis Kwesi Nkrumah, emeritus professor at the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research at the University of Ghana, Legon will kick off Vanderbilt University School of Medicine’s World Health Week on Monday, March 24. Nkrumah will speak on “Health Challenges Facing Africa in the 21st Century.”

The 15th annual World Health Week is March 24-27 and is a weeklong series of speakers and events, sponsored by the Committee on International Medical Education and the Vanderbilt Schools of Medicine and Nursing.

Nkrumah, who served as director of the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research from 1990 to 1998, has served as an advisor on several World Health Organization Consultative Groups.

World Health Week began in 1988 and is intended to provide exposure to international health issues to students, faculty and the general public. It is also designed to demonstrate to students the opportunities of using a medical degree in an international setting.

All lectures will be held at noon in 208 Light Hall.

Tuesday’s speaker will be Dr. Seth F. Berkley, founder, president and CEO of the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative. His topic will be “How Do We End the AIDS Epidemic?”

Berkley has worked for the Centers for Disease Control, and prior to founding the initiative was associate director of the Health Sciences Division at The Rockefeller Foundation. He has written extensively on infectious disease and participated as a core team member in writing the World Bank’s 1993 World Development Report on Health. Last year, he was featured on the cover of Newsweek on their 20th anniversary issue of the discovery of the AIDS epidemic.

On Wednesday, March 26, Dr. Allen S. Keller, director of the Bellevue/NYU Program for Survivors of Torture and assistant professor at the NYU School of Medicine, will speak on “Health, Human Rights, and Advocacy.” Keller’s program provides comprehensive, multi-disciplinary care to torture survivors and their families.

Since the program began in 1995, more than 600 survivors of torture and other human rights abuses from more than 60 countries have received care through Keller’s program.

A panel discussion on “Serving the Rural Poor: Perspectives on Health Care in Appalachia,” will end World Health Week on Thursday, March 27. Participating are Dr. David E. McRay, medical director and CEO of the Dayspring Family Health Center in Jellico, Tenn.; Douglas Brown, Ph.D., M.Div., chief development officer of the Dayspring Family Health Center; Marie Cirillo, rural community developer, Clairfield, Tenn.; and Dr. William W. Dow, VMS ‘71, founder of the Student Health Coalition and Center for Health Services.

“We wanted to offer students a wide range of topics,” said Lesley French, a second-year medical student who serves on the planning committee for the event. “For example, this year we have a speaker from Africa as well as a panel from Appalachia. With the Appalachian panel, we wanted to introduce a population with specific medical needs who is much closer to home, in East Tennessee.”

Other second-year students on the planning committee are Jill Guelich, Quyen Luc and Jennifer Cannon. The faculty chair of the International Health Committee is Dr. Peter F. Wright, professor of Pediatrics and director of the division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases.