Dr. Arlene Calvo attends conference on human rights issues

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USF College of Public Health’s Dr. Arlene Calvo, research assistant and professor in the Department of Community and Family Health, participated in the annual membership meeting of Transparency International (TI) in Berlin, Germany, Oct.12-15.

Calvo is assigned to USF Health Panama at the City of Knowledge, a program that has been officially active for eleven years providing academic and research initiatives in Latin America.

Dr. Arlene Calvo (left) with Olga De Obaldía, executive director, of the TI Panama Chapter. (Photo courtesy of Calvo)

TI is an international non-profit organization that fights corruption, human rights abuse, and inequality around the world.

According to Calvo, the relationship between corruption and inequality has been demonstrated in public health issues, such as, gender equality, access to health care services, availability and transparency of data, implementation of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“Achievement of the SDGs should be an international public health priority, such as: decreasing poverty, eliminating hunger, providing good health and wellbeing, quality education, gender equality, clean water and sanitation, reduced inequality, climate action, among others,” Calvo said.

With more than 100 chapters around the world, the meeting included public health relevant topics, including usage of ‘Big Data’ to determine adequate use of resources or to generate policy, achievement of SDGs, gender equality, public policy, and more.

Calvo recently began collaborating with the Panama Chapter of TI, where she has been actively discussing instances of inequality in public health in Panama and the Central American region as one of the directors of the board.

(Photo courtesy of Calvo)

The meeting also included elections of the new chair of TI—Delia Ferreira Rubio from Argentina.

“Generation, direction, and implementation of appropriate public policies that respond to the needs of the population are important responsibilities of public health practitioners and researchers,” said Calvo.

In the past year, Calvo has been a dynamic influence on the discussion of the Law for Health Research of the Ministry of Health and the Law of Sexual and Reproductive Health in schools in Panama.

Through research and teaching, Calvo has been able to merge public health and human rights issues through her work with indigenous and other vulnerable populations, development of programs, and health policies in Panama.

“Two COPH courses encompass this direction following a hands-on and seminar-type approach,” Calvo said.

First, the International Health Education course, taught in the spring semester, teaches students at a semi-rural community in Panama how to conduct formative research, develop pilot interventions, and evaluations at international settings.

Second, the International Perspectives in Women’s Health Issues, taught in the summer semester, brings to light the human rights aspects of gender that affect women’s health at global settings and in Panama.

“Both courses highlight the importance of the SDGs at international situations, and complete the circle with international transparency, human rights issues, and inequality,” Calvo said.

Learn more about these courses, and other COPH international learning opportunities, by visiting our website.


Story by COPH staff writer