‘Ebola: What Are We Learning? In Africa? In America?,’ Aug. 10

AHSC Memo

'Ebola: What Are We Learning? In Africa? In America?,' Aug. 10

National and UA College of Medicine - Tucson experts will address this public health challenge in a panel discussion open to the public and health professionals. Dr. Craig Spencer, an emergency medicine physician who made national news after contracting-and surviving-the deadly disease, will report via a pre-taped presentation.

An Ebola survivor is one of four national and local experts—including representatives from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the UA College of Medicine – Tucson—who will discuss the current state of affairs surrounding the disease and answer questions at “Ebola: What Are We Learning? In Africa? In America?”

The free presentation, open to the public and health professionals, will be held Monday, Aug. 10, 4:30-6 p.m., at Banner – University Medical Center Tucson, DuVal Auditorium, 1501 N. Campbell Ave., Tucson. (Please note: There is a parking fee of $1.50 per hour, cash only, in the Banner – University Medical Center Tucson visitor/patient parking garages.)

As the Ebola epidemic continues, headlines are shifting from panic toward sober appraisal of this new clinical and public health challenge. Recent news that an Ebola vaccine has been successful in a clinical trial has raised hopes that an end to the epidemic may be near.

The presenters are:

  • Craig Spencer, MD, MPH (appearing via a pre-taped presentation), emergency medicine physician, who contracted Ebola while treating patients in Guinea as a volunteer with Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) International and was hospitalized as New York City’s first Ebola patient. Dr. Spencer returned to Guinea after his recovery and witnessed the effect of the Ebola vaccine trial. He is the author of “Having and Fighting Ebola — Public Health Lessons from a Clinician Turned Patient,” published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), March 19, Vol. 372, No. 12 (www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp1501355). Médecins Sans Frontières (“Doctors Without Borders”) is an international, independent, medical humanitarian organization that delivers emergency aid to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, natural disasters and exclusion from health care.
  • Tom Kenyon, MD, MPH, director, Center for Global Health, CDC, Atlanta. Dr. Kenyon directs the Center for Global Health’s response to Ebola in all of West Africa. He has made several visits to the Ebola-affected countries in West Africa since the epidemic began in July 2014 and will give an update on the Ebola epidemic in West Africa. He has been with the CDC since 1994. Dr. Kenyon completed his pediatrics residency at the University of Arizona in 1984. He also is a volunteer faculty member who frequently teaches in the “Global Health: Clinical and Community Care” course offered each summer through the UA College of Medicine – Tucson’s Office of Global and Border Health.
  • Theresa Cullen, MD, MS, who delivered pregnant Ebola patients, the highest risk of all clinical care, in Sierra Leone with Partners in Health, a global health organization headquartered in Boston, Mass., that is committed to improving the health of poor and marginalized people. A graduate of the UA College of Medicine (1983), Dr. Cullen is director, health informatics, and chief medical information officer for the Veterans Health Administration.
  • Ron Pust, MD, moderator. Dr. Pust is director of the Office of Global and Border Health, UA College of Medicine – Tucson, and professor of family and community medicine with a joint appointment in the UA Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health. Dr. Pust has been in Liberia with Partners in Health (PIH) Ebola Response, working at a district hospital to “strengthen the Liberia health system.”

In February 2015, the CDC designated the then-named University of Arizona Health Network (now Banner – University Medical Center) one of 55 Ebola Treatment Centers in the United States. The Maricopa Integrated Health System in Phoenix also was selected.

In December 2014, the Arizona Department of Health Services selected the then-named University of Arizona Medical Center (now Banner – University Medical Center) as the state’s second Infectious Disease Treatment Center of Excellence, making it Southern Arizona’s designated hospital for the treatment of emerging infectious diseases such as Ebola. (The Maricopa Integrated Health System in Phoenix was the first.)

There have been no confirmed or suspected cases of Ebola in Arizona. Although the likelihood of Banner – University Medical Center Tucson or South receiving an Ebola patient is remote, the staff is prepared for that possibility.