OHSU

OHSU'S Student Global Health Alliance Hosts Western Regional International Health Conference

01/26/06  Portland, Ore.

Oregon Health & Science University's Global Health Alliance, a student-led, nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting equity of health through education, will host the western region's fourth annual International Health Conference Friday, Feb. 17 - 19, 2006, on the OHSU Marquam Hill Campus.

"As a future physician, I believe it is vital for me to understand global health partially because it affects the people I care for medically," said Alex Foster, an OHSU medical student and co-chair of the Global Health Alliance.  "But health care is also a basic human right."

This year's theme is "Health, Human Rights and Economics: The Value of Human Life."  The conference will bring together people from diverse backgrounds to examine factors that affect global health, emphasizing the influence of economics and human rights.  The conference also seeks to promote cooperative partnerships for productive solutions to global health problems.

Jeffrey Sachs, PhD., an economist and director of the United Nations Millennium Project, will give a live video address Feb. 17 during the conference opening at the Portland Art Museum.  Sachs is the director of The Earth Institute, Quetelet Professor of Sustainable Development, and professor of health policy and management at Columbia University.  He also is a special adviser to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.  As director of the UN Millennium Project, he oversees the effort to meet the goals set by the UN to reduce hunger, poverty and disease, and to promote gender equality and environmental sustainability.  He was named one of the 100 Most Influential Leaders by Time magazine in 2004 and 2005.  He has written pieces for The New York Times, The Financial Times of London and The Economist magazine.  He has also written many scholarly articles and books.

The keynote speaker, Anne-Christine d'Adesky, an author, journalist and HIV activist, also will speak Feb. 17 at the Portland Art Museum.  She is the founder of Women's Equity in Access to Care and Treatment (WE-ACTx), an organization that seeks to increase access to HIV testing, care, treatment, support, education and training in areas with limited resources.  In particular, WE-ACTx works with women and children who have survived genocidal rape and sexual violence in Rwanda.  d'Adesky also is a noted journalist who has covered the AIDS epidemic for The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Nation, The Advocate, and OUT.  She has written two books about her experiences, the most recent being Moving Mountains, which details the struggle to provide adequate HIV and AIDS testing and treatments to people in developing countries.

Breakout sessions and other lectures will cover issues such as disasters and development, women's and children's health, disease, inequity and human rights, dynamics of policy and poverty, immigrant and refugee health, and environmental health.

"This is a very exciting time filled with potential for great change," said Brian Frank, OHSU medical student and co-chair of the Global Health Alliance.

The conference is open to the public.  It drew more than 750 attendees last year in Seattle.  The cost is $35 for students, $50 for community members and $75 for professionals.  For those seeking continuing medical education or continuing nursing education credits, the cost is $100 or $90, respectively.  To register, visit www.ohsu.edu/som/gha/conference.htm.

Ease of global travel has made pandemics a reality, and diseases such as SARS, AIDS and Avian flu have become a cause for concern in recent years.  The organizers see the International Health Conference as a way to increase awareness locally about health equity issues abroad.  

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