Global Health Conference tackles international health issues

Global health © iStockphoto
Important global health trends and challenges — from poverty to infectious diseases to disaster medicine — will be explored at the April 9 Northern California Global Health Conference in Davis.

Posted March 30, 2011

Because what happens in one part of the world can directly impact health in Northern California, the 13th annual Northern California Global Health Conference at UC Davis will tackle a wide range of topics from poverty, child trafficking and maternal health to migration, emerging diseases and disaster medicine.

The April 9 event at the UC Davis Conference Center in Davis is expected to draw hundreds of students, physicians, veterinarians, engineers and other experts from throughout Northern California, reflecting a growing interest in global health and the development of productive and sustained relationships with communities worldwide, said Michael Wilkes, UC Davis professor of medicine and director of Global Health Programs for the School of Medicine.

Wilkes said the conference creates an educational environment in which to explore important global health trends and challenges, and discuss practical solutions. The event, which has not been held at UC Davis since 2006, is co-sponsored by UC Berkeley, UC San Francisco, Stanford University, Touro University, Samuel Merritt University and the University of San Francisco.

13th Annual Northern California Global Health Conference

Global Health: Breaking Borders and Boundaries

Date: April 9, 2011
Time: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Location: UC Davis Conference Center
550 Alumni Lane, Davis, Calif.

One of the two key themes of this year’s conference is the effect of migration on health, said Marc Schenker, professor in the UC Davis Department of Public Health Sciences.

“Migration is clearly an important and timely issue this year as rebellions break out around the world,” he said. “There are about 215 million people who live outside their country of birth, but an additional 500 million are internal migrants moving from rural to urban areas. All have similar issues.”

Infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and H1N1 among immigrants from Asia and Africa, as well as occupational health inequities, including higher rates of injuries and fatalities and a lack of access to health insurance among immigrants to the United States, are among the topics to be discussed at the conference.

Keynote speaker Roberto Tapia-Coyner will discuss migration and health. Tapia-Coyner directs the Carlos Slim Foundation, which provides human and financial resources to establish projects in education, health, justice and personal and community development in Mexico. Other speakers on the topic include Carmela Castellano-Garcia, president and chief executive officer, California Primary Care Association; Anvar Velgi, chief of infectious disease, Kaiser South, Sacramento; and Sergio Aguilar-Gaxiola, director of the UC Davis Center for Reducing Health Disparities, professor of clinical Internal Medicine and an internationally renowned expert on mental health in ethnic populations.

The other key theme of the conference is “One Health,” a transdisciplinary approach to global health.  Rather than the traditional manner of problem solving whereby each specialty or expert addresses a problem in their unique manner, One Health creates teams of people working together. One Health recognizes the interconnections among humans, animals and their shared environment as well as the economic, cultural and physical factors that influence health.

About the UC Davis School of Medicine

The UC Davis School of Medicine is among the nation's leading medical schools, recognized for its research and primary-care programs.

UC Davis School of Medicine © UC RegentsThe school offers fully accredited master's degree programs in public health and in informatics, and its combined M.D.-Ph.D. program is training the next generation of physician-scientists to conduct high-impact research and translate discoveries into better clinical care. Along with being a recognized leader in medical research, the school is committed to serving underserved communities and advancing rural health. For more information, visit UC Davis School of Medicine at

“Human health cannot be viewed in isolation,” said Pat Conrad, professor of parasitology in the School of Veterinary Medicine and co-director of UC Global Health Institute’s One Health Center. “UC Davis faculty and students contribute to improving global health through many disciplines and activities, including their work on human and animal nutrition, agricultural production, emerging zoonotic disease surveillance, biotechnology, watershed and land management, food safety, ecology and environmental engineering, all of which impact on the health of humans, animals and the environment.”

The keynote speaker on One Health will be Jonna Mazet, professor of epidemiology and director of the UC Davis Wildlife Health Center. Mazet assists government agencies and the public with emerging infectious diseases of wildlife and manages One Health research on such subjects as tuberculosis in Africa, disease conflict in Yellowstone National Park and pathogen pollution of California coastal waters. Mazet also directs a new global early warning system, named PREDICT, to identify emerging infectious disease threats.

“The One Health panel session and several of the workshops should appeal to students from a broad range of disciplines including engineering, land and water management, animal science, ecology, environmental resources, veterinary medicine, agriculture and nutrition,” said Conrad.

Conference participants also will have a chance to talk with local organizations and representatives from various university programs, as well as showcase their own research with a poster exhibition. To register for the conference visit