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University of Iowa News Release


Oct. 6, 2006

Health Services As Instrument Of International Politics Focus Of Conference

Students, faculty and those interested in international affairs will come together to explore the manner in which international politics and global healthcare are inextricably intertwined at the University of Iowa Global Health Studies Program (GHSP) Conference Oct. 20-22.

"Health Services as an Instrument of International Politics: Responding to Pandemics, Disasters and Violent Conflict" is the theme of the conference, which will take place in the Sahai Auditorium (Room 1110A) in the UI Medical Education & Research Faculty (MERF), located west of the Iowa River on Newton Road.

The UI Global Health Studies Program and UI International Programs are organizing the conference, which is also sponsored by the Iowa United Nations Association; UI College of Public Health; UI Center for Human Rights; Iowa Physicians for Social Responsibility; and the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine.

This GHSP conference will explore the politics involved in determining how and when nations respond to humanitarian crises. The world is increasingly interconnected and prone to significant social, political or economic disruption in the wake of violent conflict, environmental disasters and infectious diseases anywhere on the planet, explains Maureen McCue, an International Programs-affiliated faculty member and conference organizer.

"Such phenomena do not respect local political differences, human-drawn boundaries or national borders and often spill over elsewhere with unpredictable ripples of effects," McCue says. "Responding to such catastrophic events provides challenges and opportunities with short- and long-term costs and consequences to both the sending and receiving nations."

The conference will feature moderated faculty and student panels. Officials from the World Health Organization and the International Federation of the Red Cross, as well as respected international scholars and UI students pursing a Global Health Studies Program certificate, will share their insights and research in panels.

"Health Services as an Instrument of International Politics" is both a course and a conference. While 175 students have registered for the course for credit, reaching the cap on student enrollment, the conference is open to interested medical professionals, other students, faculty and staff, and members of the general public.

Those wishing to attend can register at Walk-ins are welcome; those wishing to receive printed materials and reserve a space for the Saturday, Oct. 21, presentation by luncheon speaker Michael Renner, senior researcher of the Worldwatch Institute, must register by Friday, Oct. 13.

For a complete listing of the schedule and speaker profiles please, visit

As part of the conference, there will also be a film showing screening of "¡Salud! (Cuba and the Quest for Health)" at 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 20, in Room 101 of the Becker Communications Studies Building. A discussion will follow with Diane Appelbaun, family nurse practitioner at Emory University, founder and  director of Medical Education Cooperation with Cuba and Jennifer Kasper, M.D., president of Doctors for Global Health.

The film is a feature documentary that spans three continents to look at the cutting-edge philosophy and health professionals that have placed Cuba in the forefront of the movement to make health care a global birthright. "¡Salud!" is produced and directed by Academy Award nominee Connie Field ("The Life and Times of Rosie the Riveter;" "Freedom on My Mind") and co-produced by Gail Reed. The film is free and open to the general public.

For more information or special accommodations to attend the conference or film screening, contact Jenna Burns, International Programs, at 319-335-0368 or; or Maureen McCue at or 319-828-4789.

The GHSP is part of UI International Programs, which enables UI students, faculty, staff and the public to learn from and about the world. Its offices, degree programs and events provide life-changing opportunities on campus and abroad, heighten intellectual and cultural diversity, and give all University constituents access to vital international knowledge. For more information, visit or call 319-353-2700. International Programs is part of the Office of the Provost.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Media: Lois Gray, 319-335-2026,; Program: Maureen McCue, 319-828-4789,; Writer: Kelli Andresen