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Thursday, February 2, 2006
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Ohio University promotes African health

ATHENS, Ohio (Feb. 2, 2006) -- Students, faculty and community members will gather at Ohio University to discuss African health issues and ways to be involved with those issues at an African Health Summit on Feb. 10.

The summit, which is sponsored by Ohio University African Studies, will begin at 1 p.m. with a talk called "Africa's Right to Health: Why It Matters to the World" by Salih Booker, executive director of Africa Action, in Walter Hall, room 235. A panel discussion featuring several Ohio University faculty members working on African health issues will follow.

Organizers hope the African Health Summit will draw attention to African health issues and encourage research, scholarship and student activism to address those issues. "Ohio University has made a strong commitment to the health of Africa's peoples, with new faculty teaching positions so that students have a chance to study these issues in depth, support for health study abroad programs in Africa, and support for an expanded curriculum in African health studies," said Steve Howard, director of African Studies. "In this era of trans-global disease and international research efforts to find preventative solutions and cures, knowledge of Africa's health is a key part of our education."

From 1995 through 1999, Salih Booker directed the Council on Foreign Relations Africa Studies Program. He has served as a professional staff member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs in the U.S. Congress and as a program officer for the Ford Foundation in eastern and southern Africa. He was also an associate director for the Catholic Relief Services' southern Africa office, and a legislative assistant for TransAfrica. Booker has worked in Africa and the United States as a consultant for numerous international donor institutions and African nongovernmental organizations, including the United Nations Development Program, the Ford Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation, the Bernard van Leer Foundation, the African Development Foundation and Africare.

Booker has published articles and opinion pieces for the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, The Nation, The Mail & Guardian, Current History, Business Day, Africa Report, Southern Africa Political Economy Monthly, TransAfrica Forum Journal, AllAfrica.com and other U.S. and international publications. He is also the author of the UNDP's first two development cooperation reports on South Africa. He appears regularly on CNN International, as well as other national and foreign news programs. During the past 22 years, Booker has traveled to and worked in 26 of Africa's 54 countries. He lived in Ghana, Kenya and Zimbabwe during 10 of those years.

Africa Action is a new name for an old group of institutions, incorporating The Africa Fund and the American Committee on Africa in New York City; and the Africa Policy Information Center in Washington, D.C. These three related nonprofit organizations became Africa Action through a merger in 2001. Dating back to ACOA's founding in 1953, these are the oldest American organizations devoted to educating and mobilizing Americans and others to fight for positive U.S. and international policies toward Africa and to support African struggles for human rights and democracy, peace and security, and development.

The African Health Summit will also feature a panel of three Ohio University faculty members: Diane Ciekawy, Gillian Ice and Anthony Sallar. Associate Professor of Anthropology Diane Ciekawy conducts research in Kenya on the politics of HIV/AIDs treatment. Gillian Ice is director of the Office of International Programs in the Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine and assistant professor of social medicine. She conducts research and leads community service projects centered around the toll of the HIV/AIDS crisis on caregivers in Kenya. Anthony Sallar is assistant professor of community health services in the School of Health Sciences. His recent research has focused on HIV/AIDs prevention for Ghana.

Ohio University's African Studies program is a designated Title VI National Resource Center for Africa supported by U.S. Department of Education funding. As such, the program provides students, scholars and members of the broader community opportunities to develop their understanding of this important world region.

The African Health Summit is free and open to the public.

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Media Contact: Assistant Director of Communication Jennifer Cochran, (740) 593-1842 or cochraj1@ohio.edu, or Assistant Director of African Studies Acacia Nikoi, (740) 597-1511 or Nikoi@ohio.edu.

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