Public Health in Rural Communities: Keynote Address in Thailand

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Dr. Omur Cinar Elci, Professor and Chair of St. George’s University’s Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine (DPHPM), delivered a keynote address at the annual conference of The Network: Towards Unity for Health (TUFH) in November of in Ayutthaya, Thailand. Dr. Elci and other presenters spoke to the theme “Rural & Community-Based Health Care: Opportunities and Challenges for the 21st Century.”

Using the example of successful DPHPM projects like the Grenada nutmeg project and presenting the model of public health education implemented at SGU, Dr. Elci addressed a multinational audience on transforming the future through public health training.

“The model of public health implemented at SGU is not a difficult one,” he said. “It is student-oriented and created in close collaboration with the community we serve so that we can prioritize the community’s immediate public health needs. Attempts to use a cookie-cutter approach to implement projects from the developed to the developing world are often doomed to failure.”

Dr. Elci, who was recently appointed to the board of directors for Global Health through Education, Training and Service (GHETS), has 26 years of public health, epidemiology, and occupational health field experience and over 15 years of research and teaching experience, including funding from National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Under his leadership, the Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine continues to deliver successful programs that enhance public health in Grenada and the wider Caribbean region.

A non-governmental organization, The Network: TUFH is a global network of individuals, institutions and organizations committed to improving the health of the people and their communities. It has played an important role in fostering community-oriented innovations leading to curriculum reforms in education institutions around the globe.