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Release: Immediate

(NOTE TO EDITORS AND NEWS DIRECTORS: The Central European health professionals will be available for interview. Reporters interested in interviewing the Fogarty scholars may obtain their itinerary for touring Iowa by calling Robin Ungar of CIREH at 319-335-1443.)

UI Center to host international health professionals

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa's Center for International Rural and Environmental Health (CIREH) will once again host a group of Central European health professionals for a five and one-half-month training program beginning July 12 and ending December 20.

A training program focusing on environmental, occupational and public health issues will include Vitomir Bric, M.S., from Slovenia, as well as the following persons from the Slovak Republic: Dr. Diana Makarova, M.D., Dr. Branislav Vohnout, M.D., Julia Schlarmannova, R.N., and Dr. Jana Blahova, Ph.D.

While on campus, the health professionals, who are National Institutes of Health Fogarty scholars, will be taking required courses, including "Principles of Epidemiology," "Environmental Health," and/or "Occupational Health," plus a class or two reflecting their own interests. In addition, they will be working with their faculty mentors to develop a short-course to be taught in Central Europe at a later date and will also develop collaborative research projects.

During the summer session, they will be attending a series of lectures and seminars organized specifically for the group, dealing with subjects such as hazardous waste management, medical ethics, the responsible conduct of research and principles of epidemiology in rural populations, as well as taking field trips to points of interest in Iowa, such as the Palo nuclear power plant, Pioneer Hi-Bred production facilities and other sites still to be planned.

In 1996 a group of 10 health professionals from the Slovak Republic, Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovenia attended the same program at the UI. A third group is expected in 1998. This five-year training program, funded by a grant from the Fogarty International Center of the National Institutes of Health, as well as grants from Pioneer Hi-Bred, the State Department and the Stanley Foundation, established the new International Institute for Rural and Environmental Health (IIREH) in Bratislava, Slovak Republic. This International Institute is a partnership between the UI, the Institute for Preventive and Clinical Medicine in Bratislava and five other institutes in Central European countries.

The Fogarty scholars, who receive this additional training at the UI, will return to their home institutes to teach a series of short-courses on various health topics to members of the health community in Central Europe.

Seven short-courses are being planned for 1997, including subjects such as community health promotion, reducing workplace injuries through ergonomics, environmental health policy, inhalation toxicology and risk assessment. In addition, the Fogarty program is sponsoring a doctoral student in Preventive Medicine and Environmental Health, Dr. Marian Pavuk, from the Slovak Republic, as well as collaborative research projects.

CIREH is an interdisciplinary program in international health which fosters research and promotes education abut the causes, consequences and prevention of communicable, chronic, environmental and occupational diseases in countries with substantial agrarian economies. CIREH supports faculty and student international health research, hosts international visiting scholars, develops courses, seminars and workshops on international health issues, establishes international linkages with environmental, educational and public health institutes, and provides technical and administrative support to facilitate international health and service projects.

For more information, contact Robin Ungar at (319) 335-1443.