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Nigerian physician gives OHSU a view of global health from the developing world

Dr. AdetokunboOHSU President Joe Robertson, MD, in conjunction with the OHSU Global Health Center, hosted Professor Adetokunbo Lucas, MD, on Friday, March 18, for a lecture titled,  "Achieving the Goals of Global Health: A View from the Developing World," and ensuing discussion and book signing.

“It was a pleasure to welcome Dr. Adetokunbo Lucas to campus,” said Dr. Robertson. “OHSU has been fortunate to have two esteemed global health lecturers visit in the space of a week – Dr. Lucas and Dr. Anne-Marie Slaughter – a fact that underscores just how far the Global Health Center has come in a few short years.”

Dr. Lucas’s presentation spoke to his 2010 autobiography, It Was the Best of Times: from Local to Global Health, and to the evolution of global health to be internationally collaborative and based on global solidarity.

Speaking to an audience at the OHSU BICC Gallery, Dr. Lucas gave an historical perspective on the role fear and compassion have played in global health issues, citing the 14th century Plague as one of the world’s first global health disasters.

A retired professor and the head of the Department of Preventative and Social Medicine in Ibadan, Nigeria, Dr. Lucas’s life parallels the evolution of global health—a process he directly and fundamentally impacted. From 1976 to 1986, he served in Geneva as the director of the Special Program for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR) at the World Health Organization where he developed a model approach for global networking among scientists, research laboratories and pharmaceutical companies.

His lecture outlined many of the advances in health care ushered in by the TDR network, in particular with epidemic disease in Africa, including the development of new drugs for treating malaria, leprosy, African sleeping sickness onchocerciasis and lymphatic filariasis.

Addressing the current African health crisis, he called for a stronger international push for disease eradication and more sustainable public-private partnerships. He said “sustaining the health of the world” is in society’s best interest because good health is mutually beneficial to everyone. 

He also spoke to the importance of education, offering data that showed how increasing a mother’s level of education in African countries had a dramatic effect on reducing child mortality rates.

After the lecture, Dr. Lucas donated copies of his book to the OHSU Library and to the OHSU Global Health Center (GHC), located in MAC 1166.

Global Health Center courses

The GHC offers a 10-week course for mid-career to retiring medical professionals with an active Oregon medical license who are interested in training for volunteer medical work in developing countries, including disaster relief. Click here for Professionals' Training in Global Health details.

“As Dr. Lucas pointed out, there is a world of opportunity for trained health care professionals to work collaboratively with colleagues in low income countries, and PTGH offers just such training,” said Andy Harris, MD, Course Founder and Administrator, Professionals' Training in Global Health.

Pictured: Dr. Adetokunbo Lucas

* Dr. Lucas is an adjunct professor of international health at the Harvard School of Public Health and has sat on various advisory boards including the Rockefeller Foundation, Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, Carter Center, and the Bill and Melinda Gates' Children's Vaccine Program. 

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