Annual Cohen Lecture Has USciences Community Thinking Globally

By Frank Kunkle


From left to right: Dr. Andrew Peterson, Mayes College dean; Sir George Alleyne, director emeritus of the Pan American Health Organization; and Dr. Lois K. Cohen, lecture namesake.

For the past three years, the Lois K. Cohen Endowed Lecture Series in Global Health has charged the USciences and healthcare communities with the challenge of becoming globally aware. This lecture series, brought to fruition by the generosity of Dr. Lois K. Cohen’s niece ILENE WARNER-MARON PhD’07, has allowed Dr. Cohen to keep its pioneering message consistent—“to work in healthcare today means to work in global healthcare.”

The third annual lecture during the fall semester was entitled “Noncommunicable Disease: The Global Challenge” and was delivered by Sir George Alleyne, who is director emeritus of the Pan American Health Organization.

Although they are numerous, the noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) Sir Alleyne addressed in his talk included cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and chronic respiratory disease.

“When we think global health, most of us think of third-world countries where people are starving, have limited access to water, and are suffering from common infectious diseases such as TB, malaria, and HIV,” said ANDREW PETERSON, PharmD, PhD’09, dean of Mayes College of Healthcare Business and Policy, which presented the talk. “Sir Alleyne reminded us that noncommunicable diseases plague these individuals as well. NCDs are not just diseases affecting rich, developed countries; they are the largest reason for death worldwide.”

“Students today are global citizens in many ways, and that has to do with the use of social media and their access and use of information.”

- Lois K. Cohen

The presentation addressed many of the myths about the diseases and also provided vast insights into the facts and truths surrounding NCDs and women, their estimated economic toll, risk factors, and more.

“A major new challenge in global health is the organization of health systems to prevent and treat the emerging disease threat,” Sir Alleyne shared. “The basis of that organization will be universal health coverage, which must involve care for chronic conditions—a rethinking of primary healthcare.”

A “fireside chat,” which followed the lecture, allowed Sir Alleyne and Dr. Cohen to respond directly to student questions and issues surrounding cultural competence and the ways in which NCDs will affect healthcare globally.

“Students today are global citizens in many ways, and that has to do with the use of social media and their access and use of information,” said Dr. Cohen. “They are better informed and advocating for more global health in their curriculum. Students can take some of the messaging on noncommunicable diseases to help spread information and become role models.”



4th Annual Lois K. Cohen Endowed Lecture Series in Global Health is September 26, 2013.


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