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Lifespan Emergency Physicians Join with Brown University Leaders to Improve Humanitarian Aid Efforts

3/7/2013

Preparing responders for international crises is crucial for protecting lives


Three Lifespan physicians—Adam C. Levine, MD, Selim Suner, MD, and Susan Cu-Uvin, MD—were recently among the speakers at an inaugural symposium at Brown University titled “Humanitarian Assistance at the Crossroads: Brown University’s Role in Improving Humanitarian Effectiveness.” The March 2 event brought together academic, medical and humanitarian leaders and stakeholders from across the state and around the country to emphasize the need for training dedicated professionals in humanitarian aid.

The symposium featured a number of speakers who had worked in disaster areas and refugee camps, including keynote speaker Jennifer Leaning, MD, director of the Francois-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University. A panel discussion focused on the links among civil society, government and academia in humanitarian response and examined several humanitarian crises and disaster responses of the past few decades.

“We know that more and more physicians and nurses are responding to disasters and humanitarian emergencies, and it’s vital that we start working to train and prepare them for the often difficult task of working in austere and sometimes dangerous environments. Having better prepared responders will help protect both them and the people they are going to serve,” said Adam C. Levine, MD, MPH, FACEP, an emergency physician at Rhode Island Hospital and The Miriam Hospital, and co-director of the Global Emergency Medicine Fellowship at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.

In summer 2012, Levine worked to set up a medical clinic in a refugee camp in South Sudan, while engineers organized a water sanitation system, social workers protected orphans, and business people managed volunteers.

The event’s organizers hope to make the symposium an annual event. Levine said he hopes to develop a permanent humanitarian program at Brown University in partnership with Lifespan.