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Release: Sept. 23, 1999

UI faculty to participate in family medicine conference in Moscow

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Some 10 University of Iowa faculty members will travel to Moscow Sept. 30 - Oct. 1 to participate in a conference entitled "Family Medicine in Russia and the U.S.: Perspectives on the 21st Century."

The conference will be at the Medicina Clinic in Moscow and is sponsored by The UI Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies (CREEES) with participation from the UI department of family medicine, the College of Medicine and UI International Programs.

"This conference is a unique opportunity to further internationalize the scope of the University of Iowa's expertise in international health care," says Richard Dobyns, M.D., who is coordinating the conference along with Dr. Sergey Gatsura of Moscow.

Dobyns, associate professor of family medicine, and Cynda Johnson, M.D., new head of the department of family medicine as of Oct. 1, will both present lectures at the conference.

Other conference presenters include: Steven Clark, DDS, professor of dentistry; Vicki Hesli, associate professor of political science; Patrick Lloyd, DDS, associate professor of dentistry; Margaret Mills, associate professor of Russian; David Rosenthal, associate professor of family medicine; and David Skorton, M.D., UI Vice President for Research. Conference participants include William Reisinger, professor of political science, and Elizabeth Swanson, associate dean of International Programs and professor of nursing. There will also be a team of presenters from Russia.

Topics to be presented at the conference include: "The Health Care System in Russia: a View from the People;" "Family Medicine Training: The American Experience;" "Family Medicine Training: The Russian Experience;" "Doctor-Patient Communication: Intercultural Concerns;" "Endometrial Aspiration: A Valuable Office Procedure;" "Model for Teaching Comprehensive Dental Care at the University of Iowa;" "Contemporary Issues in Periodontal;" "Organizing the Family Medicine Office;" "Cardiac Imaging, State-of-the-Art" and "Applications in Clinical Medicine."

This is the sixth year of collaborative efforts to train UI faculty and residents in international medicine focusing on Russia. The leaders of the initiative are Steven Hoch, CREEES director and professor of history, and Gerald Jogerst, current interim head of the department of family medicine.

"This is the next step in an ongoing relationship between the University of Iowa department of family medicine, CREEES and our Russian partners," Dobyns says. "This will give Americans

and Russians an increased awareness of international training and practices and an opportunity to consider and contrast the cultural context in which we practice medicine in the U.S. and Russia."

Other benefits of the conference include providing an opportunity to observe and discuss Russian Family Medicine in its natural setting and providing an opportunity to form new relationships for future projects.

Dobyns adds that the staff of the department of family medicine has worked for several years on the strengthening of Russian/American relationships as a future way to meet the increased demand by medical students to participate in the international health care arena.

"Our philosophy of 'Training the Trainer' through providing faculty with first-hand experiences allows us to substantiate the use of limited funding to reach a multitude of learners," Dobyns says. "This cost efficient approach allows us to collect information to later be incorporated into course offerings to University of Iowa students."

Currently, the College of Medicine has no formal course offerings in international health care. There is a course for post-graduate students within the College of Public Health as well as an evening lecture series put on by the Global Health Certificate Program, a program housed in International Programs.

The interest in Russian health care on the Health Science campuses at the UI has developed and grown in recent years. The College of Medicine and the department of family medicine have managed two successive grants, the first through USAID, and the second as part of the CREEES National Resource Center (NRC) grant with the Department of Education. In June and July 1999, one Russian physician and one Russian nurse observed the UI Family Medicine Program as a direct result of those projects. There is growing interest among other health care professionals and scholars whose interests include societal attitudes towards health care, health care delivery services and accessibility in the Russian Federation.

Upon their return to UI, the faculty members who attended the conference will serve as instructors for future courses and will be charged with encouraging and supporting other UI colleagues to develop complementary, cross-disciplinary approaches to their own curriculum to improve and enhance UI's student offerings in the area of health care in Russia, Dobyns says.

This use of a multidisciplinary team will serve as a prototype for eventual curricular innovation and the creation of collaborative courses emphasizing international health care, he adds.

For more information on the conference or to set up an interview with one of the participants, contact Robin Paetzold, coordinator of International Program Development, department of family medicine, at 384-7802. Margaret Mills, a UI associate professor of Russian, 335-2848, can speak about the current state of affairs in Russia.