Preparing responders for international crises is crucial for
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
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
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.