Global Health Colloquium: Ron Waldman
Public Health in Complex Emergencies: Mistakes of the Past, Lessons for the Future
Friday, February 22, 12:00 to 1:30 pm
Bowl 01, Robertson Hall
Lunch will be served beginning at 11:45 am.
From Cambodia to Somalia, from Indonesia to Rwanda, from Haiti to Syria, the past forty years have seen one massive disaster after another. What has the relief community learned? What mistakes does it still make? What are the issues of the future? Drawing on numerous experiences from the field, this fast-paced presentation will highlight both the successes and the failures of humanitarian intervention in the health sector.
Ron Waldman, MD, is a Professor of Global Health at The George Washington University. Serving for two years in rural Bangladesh, Waldman began his career as a volunteer in the World Health Organization’s Smallpox Eradication Program. In 1979, he joined the Epidemic Intelligence Service of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and was assigned to the Michigan State Health Department, where he became the principal investigator on case-control studies that established the association between aspirin and Reye Syndrome. He also worked with the Ministry of Health in Somalia, where he and his colleagues, helped establish the epidemiology of refugee health. After serving two years as CDC’s regional epidemiologist in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, Waldman became Director of the Technical Support Division of CDC’s International Health Program Office in 1985 and worked on both child survival projects and disaster response. From 1992 through 1994 he was the Coordinator of the Cholera Control Task Force at the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva.
From 1994-1999, the CDC assigned Waldman the role of Technical Director of the US Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded BASICS program, a global child survival effort. Meanwhile, he also worked in emergency relief in the Balkans and Central Africa. In 1999, he joined Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health as Professor of Clinical Population and Family Health and Professor of Clinical Epidemiology and founded the Program on Forced Migration and Health. In 2004-5, he was WHO’s coordinator during the tsunami emergency in Aceh, Indonesia and in 2007 he became Team Leader for Strategic Preparedness in the Pandemic Influenza and Other Emerging Pandemic Threats Unit of the USAID. In 2010, Waldman served as the US Government’s health sector coordinator in the Haiti earthquake relief effort and, later that year, as Senior Public Health Advisor to the UN Humanitarian Coordinator during the Pakistan floods disaster response. He joined The George Washington University’s faculty in July 2012.
This lecture is co-sponsored by the Program in Global Health and Health Policy, the Center for Health and Wellbeing and the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.