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July 28, 2006

Center for Refugee and Disaster Response Provides Assistance to Middle East Region

Faculty and students at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health are working closely with colleagues at the American University of Beirut (AUB) trying to aid refugees at its campus in Lebanon.

Gilbert Burnham, MD, director of the Bloomberg School’s Center for Refugee and Disaster Response, said, “Students from Johns Hopkins have contacted students from AUB about assisting people displaced to Beirut from the area of ground conflict in the south. We are trying to facilitate these student-to-student efforts for families now housed in the area around the AUB campus, but have been hampered by inadequate funding.”

Burnham stressed that the Center does not provide direct aid to displaced populations, but provides technical assistance to relief organizations working to improve public health measures. This may include organizing disease surveillance, monitoring to see that benefits reach the neediest and preventing outbreaks of disease.

“We’re working with the World Bank’s reconstruction team and other organizations active in the region. We expect to send a member of the team with extensive Middle East experience to assess public health gaps in the area of conflict,” said Burnham.

Michael J. Klag, MD, MPH, dean of the Bloomberg School of Public Health, has been in contact with Huda Zurayk, PhD, dean of the AUB Faculty of Health Sciences and a 1974 graduate from the Bloomberg School.

Public Affairs media contacts for the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health: Tim Parsons or Kenna Lowe at 410-955-6878 or paffairs@jhsph.edu.