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Public Health Consequences of War In Iraq Discussed At Forum

Tuesday, March 11, 2003
4:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
East Wing Auditorium (W1214)

The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health will host a panel discussion on the potential public health consequences of a war with Iraq. A panel of experts familiar with the public health aspects of conflicts will discuss the current situation in Iraq and the need for planning and preparation to avoid a humanitarian crisis. The program will be held from 4:30 p.m.–6:30 p.m. in the School’s East Wing auditorium.

The program will begin with a presentation by Michael Van Rooyen, MD, MPH, co-director of the Center for Refugee and Disaster Response at the School of Public Health and vice-chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. In January, Dr. Van Rooyen went to Iraq to assess the country's public health, water, food distribution and health care delivery systems. The visit was organized by the Research Center for Economics and Social Rights. He reported that the Iraqi public health infrastructure is very fragile due to over a decade of economic sanctions and that 60 percent of the population relies on a complex food distribution network set up under the Oil for Food Program. According to Dr. Van Rooyen, these systems could be severely disrupted during a conflict. He said if a conflict occurs, relief agencies and the military will need to quickly restore these systems to avoid a catastrophic humanitarian emergency.

Other panel participants include: Gilbert Burnham, PhD, associate professor in the School’s Department of International Health and co-director of the Center for Refugee and Disaster Response, and Les Roberts, PhD, associate professor at the Johns Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering and director of Health Policy, International Rescue Committee. The discussion will be moderated by Robert Lawrence, MD, associate dean for Professional Practice and Programs.

Center for Refugee and Disaster Response

Public Affairs Media Contacts for the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health:Tim Parsons or Kenna Brigham @ 410-955-6878 or paffairs@jhsph.edu. Photographs of Michael Van Rooyen, Gilbert  Burnham and Robert Lawrence are available upon request.