February 15, 2011

Third Annual Tennessee Global Health Forum Features HIV/AIDS Speakers

The focus of the 2011 Tennessee Global Health Forum is “integrating approaches to well-being.”

Taking place on Wednesday, Feb. 23, at the Vanderbilt University Student Life Center, the Tennessee Global Health Forum is a one-day conference that brings together people from the Mid-South actively engaged in initiatives that directly impact the health and well-being of local and global communities. Keynote speakers include Nguon Chantha of Cambodia and Jean Pape, M.D., of the GHESKIO Center in Haiti.

The forum aims to promote best practices and collaboration, and engage participants in exercises that lead to ideas for innovative approaches, giving them practical tools that can be applied to their own projects. This year’s forum will address the interconnectedness of a broad range of issues that contribute to poverty and poor health. Human, animal and environmental health, education, nutrition, water and sanitation and economic opportunities are commonly addressed individually. To successfully overcome cultural and physical barriers to health care, each must be considered as contributing to overall well-being, and integrated into comprehensive solutions.

Nguon Chantha will deliver the morning keynote address. She is the co-founder and director of Stung Treng Women’s Development Center (SWDC) in Cambodia. SWDC’s work focuses on developing life skills that help break the cycle of poverty and illiteracy for women in the region. Chantha will not only address the role of education and training in improving health, but also its fundamental role in preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS.

The afternoon keynote will be given by Pape, founder and director of GHESKIO (a French acronym for “Groupe Haitien d'Etude du Sarcome de Kaposi et des Infections Opportunistes” or in English Haitian Group for the Study of Kaposi's Sarcoma and Opportunistic Infections) in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. GHESKIO is the first HIV/AIDS treatment center in the world. Working in partnership with the Ministry of Health, GHESKIO provides integrated primary care services, including HIV counseling, AIDS care, prenatal care and management of tuberculosis and sexually transmitted infections. The roles of Pape and the treatment center continue to expand post-earthquake to encompass community development.

About the Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health
Global health is an inextricable component of modern-day medical, public health and nursing practices. Increasing demand for health professionals who can compete and excel in a global market has created an urgent need for comprehensive research, service and training programs in global health.

The Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health (VIGH) initiates and coordinates programs in health research, service and training, which reflects commitment to improving health services and outcomes in settings with limited resources. As a leader in international training and education, VIGH has a vision to improve health and well being of people in local and global environments.