The University of South Florida College of Public Health, in collaboration with other university entities — the Morsani College of Medicine, USF Health, the Center for Strategic and Diplomatic Studies and the Global Citizens Project — will co-host the first annual USF Global Health, Diplomacy and National Security Symposium on Feb. 28 at the Dr. Kiran C. Patel Center for Global Solutions. A pre-event VIP reception will be held Feb. 27 at the Lifsey House.
The symposium, free to the public, is sponsored by Premier Eye Care, a Tampa-based company that provides managed medical and routine eye care, and WUSF Public Media.
The aim of the symposium, the brainchild of COPH founder Mr. Sam Bell and Dr. Anthony Masys, a COPH associate professor and director of global disaster management, humanitarian assistance and homeland security, is to gather world-renowned experts in the fields of infectious disease, defense, immigration and public health to explore the role of diplomacy and public health on national security.
According to Dr. Masys, using diplomacy and foreign policy to support public health goals can promote stability and peace. “Anything that happens overseas can affect the United States,” he cautions. “Look at H1N1, H5N1, SARS and Ebola — all of those pandemics can have national security implications. By using diplomacy to manage public health issues, we can help prevent national security problems.”
Dr. Masys expects about 250 people, many of them public health officials, government officers and military personnel, to attend the one-day event.
USF president Dr. Judy Genshaft will give a welcome address and Dr. Stephen C. Redd, a rear admiral who is director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) Center for Preparedness and Response, will deliver the keynote speech.
Other speakers will include Dr. John Sinnott, chairman of internal medicine at the Morsani College of Medicine, Dr. Steve Morrison, director of the Global Health Policy Center at the nonprofit Center for Strategic and International Studies and Dr. Jim Stikeleather, a professor at the Muma College of Business and former chief innovation officer at Dell.
Both graduate and undergraduate students are invited to present research posters at the event. Poster topics can range from bioterrorism and biodefense to the economic impact of trans-border health threats. Top-rated posters could be awarded between $50 and $500 in prize money.
One topic of discussion at the symposium will be using diplomacy as a “soft power” to help support countries dealing with public health crises like Ebola. Another topic will be the role of innovation and technology on global health issues. After each speaker, panel discussions will take place.
“The trans-border nature of health threats makes defense at the border alone problematic,” Dr. Masys said. “Health threats pose a danger to international stability and security. Focusing on how diplomacy and foreign policy can be used to support global health is an important area of discussion.”
Story by Ms. Donna Campisano, USF College of Public Health