Harvard's School of Public Health is mounting a powerhouse conference this week on the worsening global problem of breast cancer.
Dr. Julio Frenk, who took up his post as dean of the school in January, previously served as Mexico's health minister and as a senior World Health Organization executive. Frenk's wife, Felicia Knaul, is a Harvard-trained global health economist and a breast cancer survivor who is the principal organizer of the conference.
Knaul's personal experiences with the disease prompted her to examine the increasing prevalence of breast cancer in the Third World -- and she has produced acclaimed research showing that breast cancer has overtaken cervical cancer as a threat to women in Mexico, and probably in other developing countries. She also has created a foundation in Mexico to improve awareness of the disease and the need for early detection. I wrote an article in the Globe in April about her life and work.
Frenk told me at the time that he hoped to encourage even greater focus at the School of Public Health on how Harvard can foster action programs as well as research into health-based obstacles to growth in poor countries. The symposium, from Tuesday through Thursday, is clearly a major expression of that commitment. The conference events are open to the Harvard community but registration is required and space is limited, and some of the sessions are already full. Here is the agenda and contact information is here.
The conference will be opened on Tuesday by Harvard President Drew Gilpin Faust. Speakers include Amartya Sen, the Nobel Prize-winning Harvard economist who has studied global development constraints; Lawrence Shulman, Chief Medical Officer and Senior Vice President for Medical Affairs at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute; Geeta Rao Gupta, President, International Center for Research on Women; Marina A. Njelekela, Chairperson, Medical Women´s Association of Tanzania; Alejandro Mohar, Director, National Cancer Institute of Mexico; Peter Piot, Director, Institute for Global Health, Imperial College London and former Executive Director, UNAIDs; and, John Seffrin, CEO, American Cancer Society.
About this blog
About James F. SmithJim Smith came home to his native Boston in 2002 to become the Boston Globe's foreign editor after spending 22 years abroad. He was previously based in Buenos Aires and Mexico City for the LA Times, and in Johannesburg, Tokyo and The Hague for the AP. In 2007 he became the Globe's national political editor, coordinating presidential campaign coverage. He is a Yale graduate, and has an MBA. He is married to Maxine Hart and has two sons, Matthew and Daniel.
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