Just as news and information travel around the world with ease, so do diseases and global health trends.
As part of the mission of the Robert Stempel College of Public Health & Social Work, the Global Health Consortium hosted the 2019 Global Health Conference at the InterContinental Miami earlier this month, offering three days of cutting-edge workshops and plenary sessions themed around innovative topics and inspiring panelists and speakers.
The aim of the conference was to present, analyze and discuss state-of-the art risk analysis and scientific progress on key issues of global health and the serious threats of emerging diseases. This included new research approaches and innovative scientific and technological solutions to global threats.
“As global health professionals, we need to convene and discuss the issues that are facing underserved communities – that is the only way that we can begin to find solutions and improve health,” said Carlos Espinal, director of the Global Health Consortium at the Stempel College. “We are endlessly grateful to all of the health leaders and researchers who attended this year’s Global Health Conference, together we can make a difference!”
Experts gathered discussed:
- the importance of encouraging vaccination to reduce the instances of disease;
- the spread of diseases by mosquitoes and the need for social programs to help citizens protect their homes and communities from the next outbreak;
- Alzheimer’s disease and the need to find early biomarkers of the disease to identify susceptible individuals;
- antimicrobial resistance;
- non-communicable diseases such as type II diabetes;
- and innovation and technology in health—from individualized cancer treatment to cybersecurity and big data.
FIU professors took center stage at several workshops. Diana Azzam, assistant professor at Stempel College, spoke about personalized cancer therapy. “There is a need to advance the way medicine looks at technology so that we can harness its potential to better help patients,” she said. “Whether it be individualized tests to find the best cure for a patient or assessing large pool of data for researchers to better understand health trends, the future is in technology.”
Noel Barengo, assistant professor at the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine, contributed to the workshop on non-communicable disease, specifically on the rise of type II diabetes and gestational diabetes globally and how to better understand risk factors. He stressed that while all individuals have similar risks factors, the diversity of screening tests around the world do not give communities the same degrees of warning; there needs to be more standardization on how often screening should be done.
In addition, students had the opportunity to showcase research posters at the conference, discussing their work with world-renowned experts. Doctoral student Etinosa Oghogho was awarded $750 for her poster, “Factors Associated with Urinary Incontinence – A Major Symptom of Vesicovaginal Fistula in Underserved Mothers in Rural Eastern Nigeria,” co-authored by professor Consuelo Beck-Sague.
All-in-all, the conference highlighted the importance of partnerships to resolve global health issues— that it takes public-private partnerships to move the needle and focus on strategies for intervention and prevention before the next outbreak.
“The 2019 Global Health Conference was an opportunity for health leaders from different fields and sectors to realize that, by working together and sharing our experiences, we have the opportunity to change public and global health,” said Tomás R Guilarte, dean of Stempel College. “Through the use of technology, community engagement and prevention and intervention programs, we can reach those who most need our help, furthering education and research that will allow us to prevent illness to live in healthier environments and communities.”