BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — In response to the current outbreak of the Ebola virus in West Africa, Indiana University will present an educational forum Monday, Oct. 13, to raise awareness on campus and in the community and to highlight IU’s connections in the region, especially in Liberia.
The program, which is free and open to the public, will take place from noon to 1:30 p.m. in Whittenberger Auditorium in the Indiana Memorial Union. Panelists will discuss medical, public health and physiological aspects of the Ebola virus; provide a cultural context for the response in Liberia; address methods for controlling the outbreak; and consider next steps in global public health.
Michael Reece, associate dean of the IU School of Public Health-Bloomington, will moderate the discussion. Panelists will include:
Joshua Mugele, associate professor of clinical emergency medicine at the IU School of Medicine
Chad Priest, assistant dean for operations and community partnerships at the IU School of Nursing
Charles Reafsnyder, IU retired associate vice president for international affairs
Ruth Stone, the Laura Bolton professor of folklore and ethnomusicology at IU Bloomington and a scholar of Liberian music, culture and performance
Mugele and Priest are co-directors of the Indiana University Disaster Medicine Fellowship and founded the Dr. Sam Brisbane Fund, a fundraising campaign to support John F. Kennedy Hospital in Monrovia, Liberia, and named for a Liberian doctor and colleague who died from Ebola.
As of Sept. 26, the World Health Organization reported, there had been more than 6,500 confirmed, probable or suspected cases of Ebola in West Africa, resulting in more than 3,000 deaths. Hardest hit was Liberia, with 3,458 cases and 1,850 deaths. Most additional cases were in Sierra Leone and Guinea.
In 2010, Indiana University was awarded funding by the U.S. Agency for International Development, through Higher Education for Development, to establish the Center for Excellence in Health and Life Sciences. The center, a partnership with the University of Massachusetts Medical School, is working to improve medical education and public-health workforce training in collaboration with the University of Liberia and its Dogliotti School of Medicine and the Tubman National Institute of Medical Arts.
IU has longstanding ties to Liberia, with university faculty having conducted research in the West African country and published extensively on its culture, history and governance for the past 50 years. The Indiana University Liberian Collections at IU Bloomington provide scholars with access to collections that include recordings of music and dance, historic and ethnographic materials, books, journals, public records and other documents. In 2008, IU awarded an honorary degree to Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the first woman elected president of an African nation.
Sponsors of the public forum are the Office of the Vice President for International Affairs’ Office of International Development and the School of Public Health-Bloomington.