International Symposium brings nations together to address public health, disparities
More than 20 countries were represented during the 15th International Symposium on Recent Advances in Environmental Health Research that was hosted by Jackson State University and that addressed health disparities and other issues.
A conference participant absorbs information from some of the speakers invited to deliver their oral presentations. The event was sponsored by the College of Science, Engineering and Technology. (Photo by Charles A. Smith/JSU)
Among the keynote speakers at the event by the College of Science, Engineering and Technology (CSET) was Dr. Da-Tian Bau. He’s a professor of the Graduate Institute of Biomedical Sciences at China Medical University in Taiwan. His study on the rate of cancer draws comparisons between the U.S. and Taiwan, which is disproportionately affected by prostate and oral cancers.
This year’s four-day conference also addressed a variety of issues, including health disparities and environmental security; environmental toxicology and health-risk assessment; and nanoscience, nanotechnology and nanotoxicology.
Symposium chair Dr. Paul Tchounwou is a presidential distinguished professor and associate dean of JSU’s CSET. He called the event “a great gathering of minds.”
Aside from the many experts from around the globe, Tchounwou said, “We had more than 50 students presenting their research posters. They were able to interact with experts in their fields who can provide them with some advice to move their research forward. After all, these students are the future.”
Symposium chair and JSU professor Dr. Paul Tchounwou honors JSU President William B. Bynum Jr. for supporting research. (Photo by Charles A. Smith/JSU)
Tchounwou added, “The whole idea about this conference basically is to provide a platform for an exchange of new developments in the field of mental health and public health. We do know that environmental factors impact our health and contribute to health disparities. The disproportionate rate of diseases among minority groups are a result of social, economic and environmental factors and the conditions where they live.”
Meanwhile Bau, the professor from Taiwan, said prostate cancer is impacting communities in his nation. “It’s more prevalent because Taiwanese are so shy, especially the elderly. They won’t go to the hospital for a check to see if they suffer from prostate cancer. Even if they know they suffer from prostate cancer, they believe they no longer have a life, so they give up.”
Bau said there’s a high rate of oral cancer, too, in Taiwan because of tobacco use. He blames poor health outcomes on excessive alcohol consumption and improper oral care, especially when brushing teeth too roughly and causing bleeding and chronic inflammation.
“We have to educate against smoking and drinking excessively. Education has been difficult. This is a smoking culture,” said Bau, recounting the story of a 10-year-old boy with oral cancer whose mother and father sold tobacco products.” He said there are alcohol and smoking cessation programs in Taiwan.