March 21, 1997

World Health Week to focus on primary care’s global evolution

World Health Week to focus on primary care's global evolution

The international evolution of primary health care will be the subject of the keynote speech during Vanderbilt University School of Medicine's World Health Week, which runs March 24-26.

Dr. Carl Taylor, a key figure in America's role in international medicine, will deliver the keynote speech on Monday, March 24 titled "The evolution of primary health care internationally: lessons for the United States." Taylor is currently a professor emeritus at the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health. He is also a senior consultant to UNICEF.

"Dr. Taylor is a father figure in the development of America's role in international medicine," said Kelly Moore, a second-year medical student and co-chair of the event with John Stafford, VMS II. "He's an amazing man. I don't think his title captures the impact he's had on public health over the past 50 years."

Throughout the week, all talks will be presented at noon in 208 Light Hall.

The purpose of World Health Week is to provide exposure to international health issues, Moore said, as well as to provide a means of demonstrating to students the opportunities that are available for using a medical degree in an international setting.

Also speaking at World Health Week is Dr. Michael Viola, professor of Medicine and Microbiology at State University of New York at Stonybrook. Viola is the founder and director of the relief organization Medicine for Peace, which works with victims of war.

He has concentrated his efforts in Baghdad, El Salvador and Bosnia, where he is currently helping organize and reopen a medical school which was destroyed during years of war. His talk is on Tuesday, March 25, and is entitled "A Doctor's Notes from Bosnia and Other War Zones."

"Dr. Viola is a real inspiration. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to hear him speak," Moore said.

Closing out World Health Week on Wednesday, March 26 will be VUMC's Drs. Robert and Susan Parkerson. They will speak on health care in rural Zimbabwe.

The Parkersons joined VUMC's faculty last fall. He is a family practitioner and specialist in infectious disease; she is a pediatrician. Together they worked in a mission hospital in Zimbabwe for more than three years, and he served as director of the Methodist Missions Hospitals of Zimbabwe.

Students, faculty and the public are welcome to attend any or all sessions.

World Health Week is sponsored by the Committee on International Medical Education Experiences. The week's events are planned and organized by Vanderbilt medical students.

This year's roster of speakers is especially impressive, Moore said.

To kick off World Health Week, medical students will host an international potluck and poster session at noon on Friday, March 22, in the student lounge in Light Hall.

World Health Day was established by the World Health Organization to promote health care as both a personal and collective responsibility.

Vanderbilt University School of Medicine instituted Vanderbilt's World Health Week Lecture Series in 1986.