COPH hosts premier conference on evolution of communicable diseases

| Departments, Featured News, Global Health, Intl Programs, Monday Letter, Our People, Our World

The USF College of Public Health worked in collaboration with the Universidad San Francisco de Quito (USFQ) to host the 1st International Congress on Ecology and Evolution of Communicable Diseases in Ecuador, March 14-16.

The event assembled renowned scientists from around the world and offered an understanding of the interactions affecting ecology and evolution of communicable diseases on a global scale.

Several faculty, staff and global health students embarked on their journey to Quito, Ecuador to attend the five-day conference, which began in Quito and ended in San Cristóbal, the easternmost island of the Galapagos Islands.

“Global communicable diseases represent a significant burden for public health systems worldwide,” said Dr. Miguel Reina, an assistant professor in the Department of Global Health. “A single health challenge may have an important impact in public health in countries that are geographically distant, but they could learn from positive and negative experiences occurring in each other. Thus, the Congress on Ecology and Evolution of Global Communicable Diseases offered an unparalleled opportunity for knowledge transfer, as well as networking, to join efforts and experiences in order to jointly address our common threats.”

Dr. Aziah Ismail of the Universiti Sains Malaysia, presenting on Rapid Tests for Infectious Diseases. (Photo courtesy of USFQ).

Dr. Aziah Ismail of the Universiti Sains Malaysia, presenting on Rapid Tests for Infectious Diseases. (Photo courtesy of USFQ)

The congress drew professionals from around the world to discuss a range of topics from HIV, Zika and bacterial resistance. (Photo courtesy of USFQ).

The congress drew professionals from around the world to discuss a range of topics from HIV, Zika and bacterial resistance. (Photo courtesy of USFQ)

This international conference allowed the COPH to envision and engage in knowledge sharing, learning and sharing best practices. This is crucial as there is a need for true global collaborations on which knowledge flows to and from all directions, as opposed to traditional regionalized views of collaboration, according to Reina.

Presenters and panelists included:

Brazil
Universidade Feevale – Dr. Fernando Spilki

Ecuador
Universidad San Francisco de Quito – Dr. Enrique Terán, Dr. Gabriel Trueba, Dr. Renato León and Dr. Mauricio Espinel
Universidad Católica del Ecuador- Dr. Fabián Sáenz

Japan
University of Gifu – Dr. Mayumi Yamamoto and Dr. Yoshimasa Yamamoto

Malaysia
University of Sains Malaysia – Dr. Aziah Ismail and Dr. Norazmi MohD

Spain
Universita de Valencia – Dr. Fernando González

United States of America
University of Northern Arizona – Dr. Julie Baldwin
University of Indiana – Dr. Max Moreno (COPH Alumnus)
Duke University – Dr. William Pan
United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) – Dr. Michael Turell (Retired)
University of South Florida – Dean Donna Petersen; Dr. Eknath Naik, Dr. Thomas Unnasch,
Dr. Miguel Reina; and Dr. Ricardo Izurieta.

USF COPH faculty in attendance at the conference included (from left): Dr. Eknath Naik, Dean Donna Petersen, Dr. Thomas Unnasch, Dr. Ricardo Izurieta and Dr. Miguel Reina. Other staff and Global Health students who attended (not pictured) were Jesse Casanova, Ryan Graydon, Sarita Panchang and Tabassum Tasnim. (Photo courtesy of USFQ)

USF COPH faculty in attendance at the conference included (from left): Dr. Eknath Naik, Dean Donna Petersen, Dr. Thomas Unnasch, Dr. Ricardo Izurieta and Dr. Miguel Reina. Other staff and Global Health students who attended (not pictured) were Jesse Casanova, Ryan Graydon, Sarita Panchang and Tabassum Tasnim. (Photo courtesy of USFQ)

The 1st International Congress on Ecology and Evolution of Communicable Diseases was a success and a step toward further developing global partnerships and dialogue, according to Reina.

The attending scholars will continue to meet biannually to track the progress of their collaborations and to set new goals.

“In an increasingly connected and globalized world, one cannot be oblivious to the potential impact that mismanagement of communicable diseases in one region of the world may have in distant places,” Reina said.

Story by Tabassum Tasnim, USF College of Public Health

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