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Release: Aug. 15, 2000

Central European health professionals take part in UI training program

IOWA CITY, Iowa – The University of Iowa’s Center for International and Rural Environmental Health (CIREH) is hosting a group of Central European health professionals for a five-month training program that began in late July and ends with the close of the fall semester in December. The group is participating in CIREH’s International Training and Research in Environmental and Occupational Health program, which is funded by the Fogarty International Center of the National Institutes of Health. The program addresses environmental, occupational and public health issues.

The international Fogarty scholars will spend the summer session learning about the U.S. university system and attending seminars, presentations and field trips to better understand U.S. health care and public health systems. They will visit several farms and rural areas throughout Iowa and learn about ongoing research projects conducted by UI investigators. In late August the group will attend the meeting of the International Society for Environmental Epidemiology in Buffalo, N.Y.

The International Training and Research program is beneficial to everyone involved, says Thomas Cook, director of CIREH and professor of occupational and environmental health in the UI College of Public Health.

"It provides the visiting scholars from Central Europe with opportunities to advance their professional knowledge and skills and to work closely with a faculty mentor from the University of Iowa," said Cook. "Likewise, the visiting scholars' participation in university classes and research activities enriches educational experiences for both students and faculty and provides a greater appreciation and understanding of the truly global nature of many public health issues."

During the fall semester the scholars will be full-time graduate students taking a variety of courses offered by the College of Public Health and other departments. The scholars are assigned to faculty mentors who will involve them in ongoing research and help develop new collaborative projects. Scholars and mentors also will plan a program for a two- to three-day workshop on a topic of 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 European professionals and establishes networking potential among all participants.

The 2000 Fogarty Scholars are:

Andrea Adamcakova—A doctoral student in Public Health at the University of Trnava, Slovakia. Adamcakova is also a research assistant in the Department of Environmental Toxicology at the Institute of Preventive and Clinical Medicine in Bratislava, where she is currently engaged in two research studies. The first study, which involves collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, is an epidemic investigation of allergic diseases among children in the Slovak Republic. The second study investigates the link between the contamination of the human placenta by organic and inorganic compounds/contaminants and subsequent development of allergic diseases in infants. Adamcakova received a diploma of Public Health and Epidemiology at the School of Healthcare and Nursing in Trnava, Slovakia, in 1998. Her UI faculty mentor is Peter Thorne, professor of occupational and environmental health - College of Public Health, and environmental engineering-College of Engineering.

Nadja Dekleva—A trainee at the Ministry of Agriculture and a student at the Nova Gorica Polytechnic School of Environmental Sciences, Slovenia. Dekleva completed her undergraduate studies in microbial biotechnology. Her research interests are focused on finding solutions to the problems of environmental pollution, particularly as they relate to soils, and the capabilities of certain strains of microorganisms to degrade toxic molecules to less toxic and more naturally degrading forms. Her UI faculty mentor is Jerald Schnoor, professor of civil and environmental engineering - College of Engineering.

Dr. Jana Kubienova--Graduated with a medical degree from the University of Olomouc, Czech Republic, in 1998. In her fourth year of study, she was awarded the Faculty of Medicine Dean’s Prize for a project on short-term physical movement and its effect on the levels of cardioselective enzymes. Kubienova is now conducting postgraduate study in epidemiology, focusing on life style as a risk factor in cardiovascular disease and cancer prevention, with a particular interest in physical activity and nutrition. Her UI faculty mentor is James Merchant, professor of occupational and environmental health and dean of the College of Public Health.

Dr. Attila Sarvary--Earned his medical degree in 1995 at the University Medical School of Debrecen, Hungary. He is now a resident in Preventive Medicine and Public Health and is also seeking a Ph.D. in immunology. Sarvary is looking forward to learning more about environmental, occupational and rural health during the semester. His UI mentor is Lar Fuortes, associate professor of occupational and environmental health - College of Public Health.

Dr. Marek Mikulski--Occupational physician, The Nofer Institute of Occupational Medicine, School of Public Health, Lodz, Poland. Mikulski was a 1999 Iowa-Fogarty scholar and is now returning as a long-term scholar to enter the Master of Public Health degree program in the College of Public Health. He graduated from the Medical Academy of Lodz in 1994 and completed postgraduate training in Organization, Management and Economics in Healthcare from the School of Public Health in Lodz.

Since the Fogarty program began in 1996, 25 occupational and environmental health science professionals 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, based in the College of Public Health, 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.


University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the UI College of Medicine and the UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide.