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Release: July 21, 1999

UI Center to host Central European, South African health professionals

IOWA CITY, Iowa - The University of Iowa's Center for International Rural and Environmental Health (CIREH) will host a group of Central European and South African health professionals for a five-month training program July 17 - Dec. 18, 1999. They will participate in the CIREH program, International Training and Research in Occupational and Environmental Health, which is funded by the Fogarty International Center of the National Institutes of Health. The program focuses on environmental, occupational and public health issues.

During the summer session, these Fogarty short-term scholars will attend a series of lectures and seminars organized specifically for the group, dealing with subjects such as hazardous waste management, tobacco and health, agricultural health and safety, medical ethics, hazardous waste operations, responsible research, and principles of epidemiology in rural populations. The scholars will also take field trips to points of interest in Iowa, such as a day trip to the rural community of Sigourney, a farm, the Johnson County Fair, a weekend tour through northeastern Iowa to see a watershed protection project and various tours around campus.

During the fall semester the scholars will take a variety of courses in the UI College of Public Health and other departments. Scholars are assigned to faculty mentors who will involve them in ongoing research and in developing new collaborative projects. Scholars and mentors will also spend time planning a program for a two- to three-day workshop on a topic of their mutual interest.

Once the scholars return to their home countries, the continuity of the training program is maintained through the workshops and collaborative research projects. Mentors travel to the scholars' home countries to team-teach the workshops with the scholar. This activity provides current research data and techniques to a wider range of Central and Eastern European and South African professionals and establishes networking potential among all participants.

The 1999 Fogarty Scholars are:

Dr. Monika Ivanicova -- an internist with the department of Glycid and Lipid Disorders, Institute of Preventive and Clinical Medicine, Bratislava, Slovak Republic. Ivanicova is interested in the frequency of different lipid (blood fat) disorders in the population and has a special interest in the genetic forms of elevated blood cholesterol levels. She is currently engaged in a Familial Hypercholesterolemia project. Her UI faculty mentor is Dr. Hal Schrott, deputy director of the Lipid Research Clinic, and professor, department of preventive medicine and environmental health.

Katarina Kollarova -- department of general microbiology, Institute of Preventive and Clinical Medicine, Bratislava, Slovak Republic. Kollarova graduated from Comenius University, department of microbiology and virology in 1998. Her current work at the institute involves research on the factors of virulence and pathogenity of enteric bacteria. Her UI mentor is Nelson Moyer, principal microbiologist, Hygienic Laboratory.

Dr. Marek Mikulski -- occupational physician, The Nofer Institute of Occupational Medicine, School of Public Health, Lodz, Poland. Mikulski is part of a team of experts at the Nofer Institute working to create a new specialist training program for Polish physicians in order to meet the demands of a new occupational healthcare services market, as well as the educational requirements of the common European market. Mikulski is particularly eager to learn about the U.S. system of post-graduate specialist occupational medicine training of physicians, and, in particular, the organization, methods, and scope of training, as well as methods of training evaluation. In addition to his interest in occupational medicine training, Mikulski is also interested in the organization and management of the newly-transformed Polish healthcare system. His UI faculty mentor is Dr. James Merchant, dean of the College of Public Health.

Dr. Saloshnie Naidoo -- medical officer in Occupational Health, National Center for Occupational Health Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa. She works in close association with the Industrial Health Unit and the Occupational Health Program of the department of community health at the University of Natal. Her responsibilities include the establishment of training programs in occupational and environmental health for public employees. She is also acting as a voluntary medical officer in a clinic for occupational medicine in a hospital managed by the University of Natal. Her UI faculty mentor is Dr. Lar Fuortes, co-director, University Employee Health Clinic, and associate professor, College of Public Health.

Laszlo Toth -- a Ph.D. candidate in the department of hygiene and epidemiology, University Medical School of Debrecen, Hungary. Toth is involved in biological monitoring of workers exposed to organic solvents, such as benzene, toluene, styrene, and xylene. Toth is interested in rural health and epidemiology, and, in particular, the effects of chemicals and pesticides on health. His goal is to contribute to the long-term goal of his department to map, specify, and monitor Hungarian environmental health problems and to find solutions to solve them according to European and international standards. Toth's UI faculty mentor is Steve Reynolds, Ph.D., director of the Great Plains Center for Agricultural Health and associate professor, department of environmental and occupational health, College of Public Health.

Since the Fogarty program began in 1996, 20 health science professionals from four Central European countries have completed this training and research program and returned to their home countries and institutions. Some 14 University of Iowa faculty members have also traveled to Central and Eastern Europe to provide expertise and maintain contact with the trainees.

CIREH is an interdisciplinary research and training program in international health which focuses on 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, conducts a short-term training program for international researchers, hosts international visiting scholars, develops 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.

CIREH is part of International Programs, which consists of a number of offices, centers, degree programs, academic programs, research projects and services. Organized under the associate provost and dean for International Programs, these units serve to further internationalize the campus and community and promote global scholarship, research and teaching.

(Editors note: These central European and South African health professionals are available for interviews. Reporters may contact Robin Ungar at 335-1443 or Dirk Staatsen at 335-2823 or email