|Unite for Sight, a group founded by a Yale student, is holding an International Health Conference.
Individuals from five continents to discuss ways to improve international health
Unite for Sight, a non-profit organization founded by a Yale student that
provides eye care to medically underserved people around the globe, will hold
its fifth annual International Health Conference on Saturday and Sunday, April
12 and 13, at the University.
The conference will bring together over 180 speakers and more than 2,000 participants
from five continents and 54 countries, including Angola, Sudan, Ghana, Mongolia
The event will serve as a forum for the exchange of ideas about the best ways
to improve public health and international development. In keeping with Unite
for Sight’s mission, a number of the presentations will focus on eye
care, but there will also be discussions on topics ranging from infectious
diseases to the environment and global health, nutrition, women’s health,
the HIV/AIDS crisis, humanitarian emergencies, tropical diseases, refugees,
children’s health and more.
There will be five keynote addresses:
• “Global Health: Challenges and Opportunities in the 21st Century” by
Dr. Susan Blumenthal, former U.S. assistant surgeon general, now the Distinguished
Advisor for Health and Medicine at the Center for the Study of the Presidency
in Washington, D.C., and a clinical professor at Georgetown and Tufts University
Schools of Medicine;
• “Bridging the Implementation Gap in Global Health” by Dr.
Jim Yong Kim, co-founder of Partners in Health, a non-profit organization devoted
to providing “a preferential option for the poor in health care,” and
director of the Francois Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights at
the Harvard School of Public Health;
• “Issues in Global Women’s Health” by Dr. Allan Rosenfeld, dean of the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia
• “Common Wealth: Economics for a Crowded Planet” by Jeffrey
Sachs, director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University and special adviser
to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon; and
• “Millennium Village Project” by Dr. Sonia Ehrlich Sachs, health
care coordinator for Millennium Villages, a U.N. initiative to invest in impoverished
villages to help them escape extreme poverty.
Sachs and Kim will also lead plenary sessions on “The Need for a Global
Coalition of Good” and “Building Capacity with Community Health
Outreach Workers,” respectively.
Over 30 Yale professors and students will give presentations at the conference.
The faculty speakers will include Dr. Michael Cappello, director of the Yale
World Fellows Program, an initiative to build a global network of emerging
leaders; Professors Nora Groce and Jennifer Ruger, director and co-director,
respectively, of the Yale/World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for
Health Promotion at Yale School of Public Health; Professor Dean Karlan, president
and founder of Innovations for Poverty Action; and Dr. Michele Barry, global
health director for the Yale School of Medicine’s Office of International
Health, among others.
Presentations by Yale students will include “Project Phokas: Photography,
Film and Eye Care” and “A Sustainable Approach to Nutrition for
People Living with HIV/AIDS in Rwanda.” Several students will also discuss
their experiences as Unite for Sight volunteers.
Sessions will be held at Woolsey Hall, Battell Chapel, William L. Harkness
Hall, Sheffield-Sterling-Strathcona Hall and the Law School. For a complete
schedule and registration information, visit the website at www.uniteforsight.org/conference/2008.
During the opening session of the conference on April 12, Unite for Sight will
honor volunteers who have made the greatest contributions to Unite for Sight
and to global eye care. Yale students receiving the Volunteer of the Year Award
are Rosh Sethi, Roshan Sethi and Chiwing “Jessica” Qu. Also being
honored is Dr. Aron Rose, associate clinical professor at Yale School of Medicine,
who volunteered with his family in Ghana.
Unite for Sight was founded in 2000 at Yale by then-sophomore Jennifer Staples
to provide eye screening and education for the medically underserved population
of New Haven. The organization has now grown to include over 4,000 volunteers
working through 90 chapters, based at universities, medical schools, corporations
and high schools worldwide. In 2006 and 2007 Unite for Sight restored sight
to 10,062 patients and provided eye care to over 300,000 individuals.
A Yale chapter of Unite for Sight continues to provide vision screenings and
education programs in local community centers. In addition, more than 25 Yale
undergraduate students serve in Unite for Sight’s international programs
annually in India and Ghana through the Yale Undergraduate Career Services
Internship Program. The volunteers participate in hands-on clinical work while
assisting doctors to provide free eye care in remote, rural villages. Unite
for Sight is featured weekly on CNN International, and many Yale students who
participated in the Unite for Sight programs have been featured on CNN International.
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