By Jenny Eaton Dyer, PhD
Last week, Senator Bill Frist, MD offered a keynote address at Florida International University. HTHH cohosted a Global Health Forum with the university in an effort to promote awareness and advocacy around maternal, newborn, and child health in South Florida.
The event welcomed colleagues from FIU as well as leaders in the nonprofit sector of Miami. It was also available via internet streaming.
President Mark Rosenberg, a former colleague of Vanderbilt University, opened the conference with a welcome and introduction of Senator Frist and panelists.
Following Frist’s keynote remarks, Tom Walsh of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation moderated a panel including Dr. Jenny Dyer of Hope Through Healing Hands; Dr. Purnima Madhivanan, Professor, Robert Stempel College of Public Health & Social Work, FIU; and Dr. JoAnne Youngblut, Professor, Nicole Wertheim College of Nursing and Health Sciences, FIU.
Dr. Madhivanan spoke of her research particularly in the area of maternal mortality in specific communities in India, and Dr. Youngblut spoke of her domestic research of PSTD and grief following the death of a child for the parents and family. Tom skillfully wove together their findings from research with the awareness and advocacy work of the Faith-Based Coalition for Healthy Mothers and Children Worldwide that Dyer leads. Each working in their own way to uplift the health of women and children.
Senator Frist also moderated a dynamic conversation with Dr. Florence Guillaume, the Health Prime Minister of Haiti. With his personal experience conducting surgery post-earthquake in Haiti as well as his leadership on the board of the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund, he was able to discuss with Dr. Guillaume the process of rebuilding Haiti since 2010, the challenges five years out, as well as the lessons learned for broader U.S. health investments and interventions.
Finally, the event closed with a panel dedicated to global policy and advocacy to discuss the importance of advocacy in South Florida with its influential members of Congress in the area of global health.