CDC expert to explore the interplay of global public health and international law

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Writer: Cindy H. Rice, 706/542-5172, cindyh@uga.edu
Contact: André Barbic, 706/542-5141, abarbic@uga.edu

Athens, Ga. – The intersection between global public health and international law will be the focus of a University of Georgia School of Law Dean Rusk Center lecture on Jan. 21. Dr. Ali S. Khan, an assistant surgeon general and acting deputy director of the National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, will present “A One Health Strategy for Global Health Security” at 12:30 p.m. in the Larry Walker Room of Rusk Hall, located on North Campus. The lecture is co-sponsored by UGA’s College of Public Health.

According to Khan, amidst an unprecedented decrease in infectious diseases, we remain vulnerable to emerging, re-emerging and yet-to-be-discovered microbial threats. He said that these microbial threats have proven to have profound societal, economic and health impacts and will continue or even intensify in the coming years. Specific factors precipitating disease emergence include microbial adaptation and change, human demographics and behavior, technology and industry, economic development and land use, and international travel and commerce.

Khan said a "One Health" approach – which integrates human, animal and environmental health – is necessary to address these dynamic and tightly coupled elements.

His lecture will explore how, within this multidisciplinary approach, public health law plays a critical role in confronting infectious disease threats through quarantine laws, the declaration of public health emergencies and the International Health Regulations.

Khan joined the CDC and the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps in 1991 as an Epidemic Intelligence Service officer. Over the past decade, he has responded to and led numerous domestic and international public health emergencies including, avian influenza, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and the Asian tsunami.

Focusing on bioterrorism, global health and emerging infectious diseases, Khan has more than 150 peer-reviewed publications, textbook chapters, editorials and brief communiqués. He has also consulted for multiple U.S. organizations including NASA, Ministries of Health and the World Health Organization.

At the CDC, Khan has assisted in the design of a public health bioterrorism preparedness program, public health information fusion, and a joint global field epidemiology and laboratory training program. He was also involved in the design and implementation of the President’s Malaria Initiative and has been engaged in guinea worm and polio eradication.

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