Achievement at a glance
We brought to the University of Illinois 58 scientists/researchers that ranged from senior researchers, junior researchers, graduate students and professionals in the field of global public health but with specific specializations in Africa. These were invited from Europe (3 participants), Canada (9 participants), Africa (10 participants) and the United States (36 participants). Fifty scientific paper presentations were made which included 5 plenary sessions of 1 hour each and 1 roundtable discussion (see attached Conference Program). In total there were over 208 attendees and participants that came to this event over the three day period (May 20-22).
Challenges faced in implementation
We have also engaged two well-placed and reputable journals each to publish a set of the proceedings as special themed issues, namely, Global Public Health journal and The Bulletin of the World Health Organization. We see the main contributions of this symposium and its outcomes as (a) review of the dual burden of infectious diseases and chronic diseases in Africa with implications for the "Sustainable Development Agenda", (b) promising new initiatives for mitigating the dual burden of diseases in sub-Saharan Africa, and (c) challenges and opportunities for students and academic researchers in framing research priorities for the future. Furthermore, this symposium was truly interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary in nature bringing together scientists from health disciplines, social sciences, natural sciences and medicine. We sought to establish active collaboration between disciplines and institutions in the U.S. with international scientists from Africa and elsewhere and we succeeded in doing so. One of the main goals of the conference was to establish an international network of scientists that will continue to collaborate, conduct research, share results and offer recommendations based on sound scientific research on health conditions in Africa.
students, academic research scientists in the U.S. and in international settings, including researchers from Africa
The symposium was widely advertised and reached many underrepresented groups. It attracted talented
undergraduate and graduate students from these groups. We counted 3 undergraduate student presenters (all females), 17 MA & Ph.D. graduate presenters (12 females vs 5 males in this group). Many of the participants that presented the scientific papers were also from underrepresented or minority groups. Twelve of the invited senior scientists held a seminar at the Center for Advanced Study of the University of Illinois that was open to students interested in Global Public Health issues (held on May 21). A reception was held at the prestigious University of Illinois Allerton Park where students, faculty and the conference participants were invited to mingle, share ideas and interact. This reception and follow-up dinner offered a rare opportunity for developing networks (see photo gallery). Overall, we succeed in bringing together 58 scientists/researchers that ranged from senior researchers, junior researchers, graduate students and professionals in the field of global public health but with specific specializations in Africa. They were invited from Europe (3 participants), Canada (9 participants), Africa (10 participants) and the United States (36 participants).
Local Newspaper Press Releases on the symposium
Proceedings of this symposium will be disseminated widely through the publication of three special issues of key health journals