Category Archives: Health & Medicine

Carol Moss, Wednesday February 3, 2016

Picture1“Dissemination of the National Cervical Cancer Screening Program in the Guercif Province, Morocco: A Community Approach”

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Carol Moss is a Research Associate in the UI Department of Family Medicine and a recent graduate of the UI College of Public Health (MS, Epidemiology) with a Graduate Certificate in Global Health Studies. She is interested in alternative cervical cancer screening strategies in low resource settings, primarily in the countries of Guatemala, Cuba, and Morocco. She received a UI Global Health Studies Travel Award in 2015 to conduct work in Morocco where she has established ties over the past thirty years.

In 2010, a national program for early detection of cervical cancer in women aged 30-49 was implemented in Morocco. The program is under the auspices of the Foundation Lalla Salma, a non-governmental organization (NGO), and also encompasses a breast cancer screening component. The program initially covered five of sixteen regions of the country but was expanded to additional regions in subsequent years. The aim of the present study, conducted over a two-week period, was to both determine knowledge of the NGO and the indigenous peoples it served as well as increasing general awareness of the NGO and cervical cancer screening programs.

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Filed under Africa, Health & Medicine, Humanitarian Issues, Past Events, Spring 2016

Rebecca Arnold, Wednesday November 11, 2015


 “Capacity Strengthening for Health Communication in Bangladesh”

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Rebecca Arnold is a global health professional specializing in health communication and behavior change. She works for Johns Hopkins University Center for Communication Programs and has been based in Dhaka, Bangladesh since 2012. Currently, she is the Director of BKMI, a USAID-funded project that provides capacity strengthening and technical assistance to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in Bangladesh. Rebecca previously led a global health consulting business, worked in Tanzania for a multi-media entertainment-education initiative and served as a community health volunteer for the Peace Corps. Ms. Arnold, a native of Rock Island, holds an MPH in Community and Behavioral Health from the University of Iowa College of Public Health.  She received her BA from Northwestern University. Ms. Arnold is in Iowa City to receive the University of Iowa’s International Impact Award.

In recent years, Arnold has directed the Bangladesh Knowledge Management Initiative (BKMI) in Dhaka, Bangladesh.  BKMI is a USAID-funded project to strengthen the capacity of the Bangladesh Ministry of Health and Family Welfare as it attempts to develop a national communication framework for health, population, and nutrition, which is currently absent in Bangladesh.  As part of this effort, she is developing digital resources (eHealth) for community-based, non-clinical field health workers to use in counseling at the household level.

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Filed under Fall 2015, Health & Medicine, Past Events

Mariola Espinosa, Wednesday September 2, 2015


“Cuba, US, and Public Health: A History of Strained Relations”

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As tensions between the United States and Cuba begin fitfully to subside, a better understanding of the sources of the strained relationship between the two countries can help illuminate potential stumbling blocks to further progress.  One often-overlooked point of contention over the past 150 years has been public health.  U.S. concern over disease on the island was an important cause of the Spanish-American War, and efforts to fight disease were a much-resented aspect of the U.S. domination of Cuba afterwards.  The consequent development of Cuban capabilities in medicine and health, in turn, played a crucial role in Cuban foreign policy after the Revolution, not least as a means of discrediting the U.S. government.

Mariola Espinosa, Associate Professor, History, is a historian of medicine and public health in the Caribbean.  Her 2009 book,“Epidemic Invasions: Yellow Fever and the Limits of Cuban Independence, 1878-1930”,  was awarded the 2007 Jack D. Pressman-Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Development Award of the American Association for the History of Medicine.  In 2010 she was recognized as the 2010 Virginia and Derrick Sherman Emerging Scholar.  She is currently working on a book project that looks into medical understandings of fever in the British, French, Spanish, and U.S. Caribbean empires.

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Filed under Fall 2015, Health & Medicine, Past Events, U.S. Foreign Policy

Margaret Carrel, Wednesday, May 6, 2015

3d1b4056-3f91-4123-bdce-322dff752817“Hungry Planet: Threatened Geographies Of Food”

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In 2015, 13.1% of people on Earth are undernourished and at risk of starvation. While governments compete for diminishing oil, water, and other resources to fuel their economics, at least 20,000 children a day die from hunger. What we choose to put on our plates is the direct outcome of a complex set of interactions, from the individual scale to the global, that have serious implications for both population and environmental health.  With forces such as drought, global climate change, infectious disease and income inequality posing imminent threats, how will food production be affected in the coming decades? Professor Margaret Carrel presents the theme “Hungry Planet: Threatened Geographies of Food.”

 Margaret Carrel serves as Assistant Professor in the UI Department of Geography. She received her Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.   Her research interests include the geography of infectious disease, landscape genetics and disease ecology. The focus of her research is how to understand how complex interactions between people and environments result in disease outcomes and the evolution of human pathogens. She has also conducted disease research in rural Bangladesh on the correlation of flood control measures and the prevention of diarrheal events. Most recently she has begun research in Iowa surrounding residential proximity to swine and its relation to MRSA infections.

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Filed under Environmental Issues, Health & Medicine, Past Events, Spring 2015

Renu Pariyadath, Thursday, March 5, 2015

 Renu New“Bhopal (1984 – ?): The 30th Anniversary and the Ongoing Disaster”

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Thirty years after Methyl IsoCyanate (MIC) leaked from the Union Carbide (now a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Dow Chemical Company) pesticide plant in Bhopal, India, the disaster has claimed over 25,000 lives and over 150,000 people are chronically ill. Water and soil contamination from the abandoned factory have multiplied the impact of the disaster and have left women and children particularly vulnerable. The Bhopali survivors have waged a 30-year struggle for justice on a transnational scale, seeking adequate compensation, medical care, clean water and a comprehensive cleanup of the abandoned factory and its surroundings. Renu Pariyadath will discuss the disaster’s continuing health impacts in Bhopal today and the status of the transnational campaign produced in its wake.

Renu Pariyadath is a Ph.D. Candidate  in the Communication Studies Department at the University of Iowa with a minor in Gender, Women’s and Sexuality Studies. Renu researches migrant activism within the Indian diaspora and has been a volunteer with the international movement for justice surrounding the Bhopal gas disaster for over three years. She is interested in the barriers to and the possibilities for forging a transnational environmental and reproductive justice movement in the context of the Bhopal disaster. Renu is the Chapter and Volunteer Coordinator of the Association for India’s Development (AID-US) and former Community Outreach Coordinator for the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal (ICJB). She got involved with the ICJB in 2012 when she visited Bhopal for her Ph.D. field research supported by the Stanley Graduate Award for International Research.

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Filed under China & East Asia, Environmental Issues, Health & Medicine, Humanitarian Issues, Past Events, Spring 2015

Margaret Mills, Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Mills pic

“From Soviet Supremacy to Major Restructuring: Health Care Issues in Russia Today”

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Russia is going through a health care crisis.  Population decline, re-emerging infectious diseases, a growing HIV/AIDs epidemic, tobacco and alcohol-related deaths, low life expectancy and declining birth rates are plaguing the nation.  Individual attitudes toward “health” and social responses to reduced access to basic health care in Russia recently are contributing the urgent problems.  Professor Mills will provide an overview of the history and on-going challenges to create a better health care system.

Margaret H. Mills is a Professor of Russian language and linguistics and the former Chair of the Department of Asian and Slavic Languages at the University of Iowa. She received her PhD from the University of Michigan and her MPH from the University of Iowa . She has devoted over 30 years to studying, consulting, and conducting linguistic and public health field work research in the Soviet Union and Russia. This work has resulted in over 40 trips to the Soviet Union and Russia since 1977, including escorting delegations of UI Family Medicine and Family Dentistry faculty to medical sites and conferences in Moscow. Among her health-related work, she is the co-editor and chapter author of a monograph (with Vicki Hesli) entitled Medical Issues and Health Care Reform in Russia (1999).

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Filed under Europe, Fall 2014, Governance Issues, Health & Medicine

Ron Reed, Wednesday, November 19, 2014


An International Comparison of Health Care Systems: Coverage, Cost & Quality

The US health care system in the most expensive in the world.  But does the quality of the care outweigh the cost?  Thousands of Americans go bankrupt each year due to medical bills, and childbirth in the US costs twice as much as any other country.  Ron Reed will look at the cost and quality of international health care systems in comparison to the US.

Ronald R. Reed has been the President and CEO of Mercy Iowa City since 1995.  Mr. Reed received a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a Masters degree in Public Health from the University of Pittsburgh.  He is a recipient of the Outstanding Leadership Award from the Hospital Association of Pennsylvania and was named a University Scholar for his academic achievements at the University of Pittsburgh.  He currently serves on the Boards of the Iowa Hospital Association, the Iowa Healthcare Collaborative, and Health Enterprises.  Moreover, he serves as Past Chair of the Health Enterprises Cooperative Board and Past Chair of the Chamber’s CEO Roundtable.




Filed under Fall 2014, Health & Medicine, Past Events

Hans House, Wednesday, November 5, 2014

ImageHansHouse “Ebola: Lessons From the Hot Zone”

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Ebola has captured attention as a major health crisis.  From West Africa to the United Kingdom and United States, the spread of Ebola has become  increasingly pervasive.  Hans House will examine the current Ebola outbreak in and around Guinea and review the history of Ebola as a disease.    Understanding how Ebola emerged as a new disease gives us insight into how new diseases have developed and will continue to appear over time.

Dr. House is a professor and head of the educational programs in the department of Emergency Medicine at the University of Iowa.  Dr. House attended  medical school at University of Southern California and completed a dual residency in Emergency Medicine and Internal Medical at University of California,  Los Angeles.  He also studied at the London School of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.  He studies new and emerging infections and regularly lectures on travel  related and emerging infectious diseases.

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Filed under Fall 2014, Health & Medicine, Past Events

Emily Wentzell, April 9, 2014

Wentzell photo“Viagra, Aging, and Changing Masculinities in Mexico” 

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Since the advent of Viagra in 1998, decreasing erectile function has become known and treated as “erectile dysfunction” (ED). However, individual men’s understandings of ED, and its subsequent treatment, are diverse and reflect their individual social contexts.   This talk presents findings from research with 250 older, working class men in Cuernavaca, Mexico.  Despite local stereotypes of men as sex-obsessed “machos,” most study participants rejected ED drugs and did not understand erectile function change as a medical problem.  Instead, they collaborated with wives and physicians to frame this change as a physical prompt to stop acting out youthful forms of manhood centered around penetrative, often extramarital sex, and to shift to what they saw as a more mature form of masculinity focused on the home and emotional bonds with family.

Emily Wentzell is an Assistant Professor in the University of Iowa Department of Anthropology. Her research combines approaches from medical anthropology, gender studies and science and technology studies to examine sexual health interventions’ gendered social consequences in Mexico and the US.  She is the author of Maturing Masculinities: Aging, Chronic Illness and Viagra in Mexico (Duke University Press), and is currently researching the Mexican couples’ experiences of participation in longitudinal, observational HPV research.

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Filed under Health & Medicine, Past Events, Spring 2014

Gregory Carmichael, March 27, 2014

carmichael pic“The Globalization of Air Pollution: Implications for Our Air, Water, and Food Quality”

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Gregory R. Carmichael, is the Karl Kammermeyer Professor of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering at the University of Iowa.  He is internationally known for work on international air pollution concerns. Carmichael’s studies have led to greater understanding of problems related to the long range transport of pollutants within Asia and across the Pacific. Most recently his work has focused on the role of black carbon in the atmosphere and its dual role as an air pollutant and climate warming agent.

Gregory Carmichael is a member of the scientific steering committee for the UNEP Atmospheric Brown Clouds Asia project, where he has published recent papers on the important role of black carbon in the climate system. He also serves as chair for the Scientific Advisory Group for the World Meteorological Organization Global Atmospheric Watch Urban Meteorology and Environment project (GURME-WMO), which is focused on building global capacity to improve air quality forecasts and related services.

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Filed under Environmental Issues, Governance Issues, Health & Medicine, Humanitarian Issues, Past Events, Spring 2014, Technology

Jose Morcuende, February 20, 2014

6642039297_79bf1ac6c9_o“The Worldwide Impacts of the Ponseti International Association”

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Each year, 200,000 children worldwide are born with clubfoot, and about 80% of these children live in impoverished countries.  Without corrective treatment, these children face not only severe lifelong physical issues but may be cast aside and regarded as useless by their societies.

The legendary and revered Ignacio Ponseti, MD, was at the University of Iowa from 1941 to 2009. He transformed the treatment of clubfoot through his invention of a non-invasive, cost-effective procedure utilizing a series of casts and manipulation.

Jose Morcuende, MD, PhD, received his degrees from Universidad Autonoma de Madrid. He arrived in Iowa City in 1991 to study with Dr. Ponseti. As President and Medical Director of the Ponseti International Association (PIA) Dr. Morcuende continues to advance the Ponseti Method worldwide.  He has visited more than 55 countries, helping to establish clinics, train personnel, and permanently improve the lives of thousands of children.

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Filed under Health & Medicine, Past Events, Spring 2014

Rene Genadry, MD, February 11, 2014

Genadry pic“Reflections on the Development of a Collaborative Program in Niger”

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Dr. Rene Genadry will share the process behind his proposal to develop a collaborative relationship with the Abdo Moumouni University School of Health Sciences through the International Programs at the UI. He will review a format of cooperation in the areas of pelvic floor disorders and urinary incontinence including obstetric fistula.  The challenges and the mutual benefits in the development of such a long-term relationship will be addressed, including the status of the program and a long-term vision for the future.

Genadry is a Professor of OB/Gyn and Urology at the UI Carver School of Medicine. He is a member of the International Obstetric Fistula Working Group of the UNFPA aiming at eradicating Obstetric Fistula and has co-directed a seminar on research priorities in Obstetric Fistula at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. He has collaborated with the Johns Hopkins Program for International Education in Gynecology and Obstetrics, the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative and the International Organization for Women and Development.  He is the co-author of a “Women’s Guide to Urinary Incontinence” published at the Johns Hopkins University Press.

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Filed under Governance Issues, Health & Medicine, Humanitarian Issues, Past Events, Spring 2014

Drew Kitchen, February 6, 2014

Kitchen Pic“The Co-Evolution of Humans and Pathogens”

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Pathogens and parasites have evolved in intimate relationships with their human hosts, and have often played central roles in human population history.  Notably, human pathogens evolve with surprising rapidity, quickly exploiting novel niches introduced by shifts in human behavior or ecology.  In this talk, Drew Kitchen will present recent work that investigates the connection between pathogen/parasite evolution and the history of their human host populations. He will close with a discussion of how human parasites, such as lice, may colonize new niches introduced by shifts in human behavior, and in so doing, become unique markers of evolutionary history.

Kitchen graduated from the Johns Hopkins University in 2001 with a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering, after which he then obtained an M.Sc. (Biology) from the University of Oxford (Hertford College) in 2003, before receiving both an M.A. (2004) and a Ph.D. (2008) in Anthropology from the University of Florida. Before joining the University of Iowa in 2012 as an Assistant Professor in the Anthropology department, he was a postdoc in the Center of Infectious Disease Dynamics at the Penn State University. Drew’s research interests are in human evolution and pathogen evolution. His current research is focused on the molecular evolution of pathogens including the macro evolutionary patterns of pathogen emergence and divergence, and genetic studies of ancient human migrations in general and the peopling of the Americas in particular.

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Filed under Environmental Issues, Health & Medicine, Humanitarian Issues, Past Events, Spring 2014

Jeff Murray, January 21, 2014

jim murray“Differing Approaches to Pediatric Disease in International Settings”

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Dr. Jeff Murray will describe his efforts to build programs which address the problems of newborn infants in low income settings, including birth defects and preterm birth.  He will address the challenges of building a basic and translational research program, and the contrasts in approaches used by federally-funded work and that of private foundations.  He will also examine the unique opportunities and challenges of both approaches.

Dr. Murray has been at the University of Iowa for 28 years. He holds a primary appointment in Pediatrics and joint appointments in Epidemiology, Nursing, Dentistry and Biology. His lab researches the genetic and environmental causes of birth defects and preterm birth. His work has involved international studies in the Philippines, India, Denmark, Argentina, Brazil, Lebanon and Japan. He has contributed to over 400 peer-reviewed publications, is an elected member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, and was President of the American Society of Human Genetics.  The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is a strong supporter of his work on preterm birth in low and middle income countries.

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Filed under Health & Medicine, Humanitarian Issues, Past Events, Spring 2014

Maureen “Micki” McCue, December 5, 2013

mccue_maureen_4x5“Health and Human Rights in the Shadow of Fukushima”

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The triple disaster at Fukushima did not have a simple beginning, middle or end.  Tensions, misunderstandings, and lack of consensus between political, economic, scientific, and social interests began long before the disaster and continue unabated almost 3 years later.  Populations in, around and far beyond Fukushima continue to struggle for resolution and understanding balanced between belief and fear, suspicion and science.  Using the frame of health and human rights, this presentation explores the boundaries of medical science and social responsibility as circumstances unfold for Japan and the world within an increasingly unstable climate and degraded global environment.

Dr. Maureen McCue is a founding member, faculty, and former director of the University of Iowa Global Health Studies Program as well as a founding board member for the UI Center for Human Rights.  As Adjunct Clinical Professor in the Colleges of Public Health and of Liberal Arts & Sciences, Dr. McCue has been teaching Health and Human Rights courses since 1997.  Before coming to Iowa, she worked as a primary care provider with marginalized communities and has worked for a local women’s clinic for the last 16 years.  She has coordinated the Iowa Chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility for the last 10 years.  Dr. McCue has traveled, consulted, and worked extensively as a peace maker, researcher, and physician.

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Filed under China & East Asia, Economics, Environmental Issues, Fall 2013, Governance Issues, Health & Medicine, Humanitarian Issues, Past Events

Kurt Wall, November 15, 2013

Kurt Wall Photo“Witchcraft and Racism Threaten Tanzanians with Albinism”

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People with albinism have faced widespread discrimination and violence in east Africa for centuries, but only recently has this problem garnered significant international attention. Nowhere is this human rights issue more pronounced than in Tanzania, where a half-hearted government response to the problem has failed to stem waves of attacks against members of the albinism community. In the summer of 2012, Kurt Wall spent 11 weeks in Mwanza, Tanzania to try to determine what must be done to adequately address the unique social and healthcare-related issues facing this vulnerable population. He will share his experiences as a medical student at a healthcare clinic in rural Tanzania.

Kurt Wall is a third-year MD/MPH candidate at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine and College of Public Health. He received his undergraduate degree from Washington University in St. Louis in 2011 with a major in Neuroscience. This spring he will be conducting an international health practicum project as part of his Master of Public Health degree.

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Filed under Fall 2013, Health & Medicine, Humanitarian Issues, Past Events, War & Conflict

Prof. Gary Gleason, August 22, 2013

gleason“An Iowa Solution to Malnutrition in Malawi, Zambia, and Rwanda”

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Children in Malawi, Zambia, and Rwanda are suffering from malnutrition. As a major agricultural state, Iowa has the resources, techniques, and experience to assist in such countries. The talk will focus on a range of communication supports for “Scaling Up Nutrition” (or SUN), an initiative started in 2009. SUN programs have particular emphasis on the policies of national nutrition strategies in countries in Africa, supporting the “1000 Days” concept to prevent childhood stunting.

Professor Gleason received his Ph.D. in Mass Communication here at Iowa. While here he focused on Communication for International Development, an emphasis that later evolved into a graduate program. Currently, he is Director of Communication for the International Nutrition Foundation, and is an Adjunct Associate Professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, near Boston, where he lives with his wife.

Professor Gleason joined UNICEF after graduating and began a career as a UN staff member and consultant. His work assignments took him to over 30 countries in Africa, the Middle-East, Eastern Europe, Central Asia and the Far East. Through his affiliation with the International Nutrition Foundation, since 1998 he has been a global leader in the prevention of iron deficiency anemia and universal iodization of salt. Gleason has applied his expertise in communication to a diverse range of development assistance including project design and evaluation, national policy development, design of information systems for decision-making, agriculture, child and maternal health, water, hygiene and sanitation, and primary education for HIV/AIDS.

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Filed under Economics, Environmental Issues, Fall 2013, Health & Medicine, Humanitarian Issues, Past Events

Dr. Karim Abdel-Malek, March 5, 2013

Santos“SANTOS: The Virtual Soldier”

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Santos® is a computer program developed over the past 10 years by a large team of researchers at the Virtual Soldier Research Center at the University of Iowa. It is a human simulator that aids in the reduction of load for the US Marines, tests new equipment, and helps design new vehicles for the manufacturing industry.  Santos operates inside a computer and can check for all types of scenarios before the equipment or vehicle is built, thus reducing cost and time.

Dr. Karim Abdel-Malek is internationally recognized in the areas of robotics and human Maleksimulation.  He is a Professor of  Biomedical Engineering at the University of Iowa.  He is also the Director of the Center for Computer Aided Design, a world renowned research center consisting of 6 units.  Dr. Malek leads projects with all branches of the US Military (US Army, US Navy, US Air Force, and the US Marines), and several industry partners including Ford, GM, Chrysler, Rockwell Collins, Caterpillar, and others. He received his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in robotics from the University of Pennsylvania and a B.S. in mechanical engineering from the University of Jordan. Dr. Abdel-Malek serves on several national and international conference committees and also serves as the editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Human Modeling and Simulation.

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Filed under Health & Medicine, Past Events, Spring 2013, Technology

Dr. Anel Okic & Dr. Nina Jovanovic, October 24, 2012

“Bosnia and Herzegovina: A Small Country with a Big Government”

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Bosnia and Herzegovina and its capital city of Sarajevo, often called the European Jerusalem, has the most diverse demographic and political structure in Europe, and perhaps of any other country in the world.

Dr. Anel Okic

Placed in heart of the Balkan Peninsula in Southeast Europe, Bosnia and Herzegovina has always been a place of numerous conflicts and wars. During the aggression in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the years of 1992-1995, both Dr. Jovanovic and Dr. Okic remained in the country, but Dr. Okic experienced the difficulty of being a refugee apart from his family.

Dr. Nina Jovanovic

Nina Jovanovic and Anel Okic are both medical doctors and graduates of the University of Sarajevo School of Medicine.  Dr. Jovanovic is a resident in Ophthalmology at the County Hospital of Zenica and a Junior Assistant Professor in the Department of Public Health in the College of Public Health in Zenica. Dr. Anel Okic is a resident in the Surgery department at County Hospital of Zenica and a lecturer at the Nursing High School in Zenica. Dr. Okic also holds a Masters Degree in Sports Management from the University of Travnik.

Both doctors were actively involved as leaders of the Medical Student Association of Bosnia and Herzegovina and officers in IFMSA (International Federation of Medical Students Associations). They are both very active in organizing numerous student, medical doctor and health worker activities. They have visited more than 50 countries all around world, organizing and attending different educational projects and trainings.

In September of 2012, Jovanovic and Okic organized a conference on trauma and injury prevention on behalf of the University of Iowa that attracted 200 participants and was the first international conference of its kind to be held in Zenica. Currently they are both visiting scholars at the University of Iowa studying trauma and injury prevention in the Department of Occupational and Environmental Health.

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Filed under Europe, Fall 2012, Governance Issues, Health & Medicine, Past Events