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WHO Regional Director meets with UH experts to exchange ideas about Pacific Region Health

Date: September 27th, 2019 in JABSOM News    Print or PDF

Pictured: WHO Western Pacific Region Director Dr. Takeshi Kasai and others at the meeting at the UH medical school.

By UH Med Now

Dr. Takeshi Kasai, World Health Organization Regional Director for the Western Pacific, met at the University of Hawaiʻi (UH) medical school this week with Dean Jerris Hedges, MD and several other UH leaders and faculty who provide health support through federal grants to the region. Also attending was a key aide to the U.S. military’s top medical officer in the Pacific and the Pohnpei-based WHO Country Liaison Officer assigned to the Freely Associated States.

The WHO Western Pacific Region is home to nearly 1.9 billion of the world’s people, diverse but with some common and urgent concerns. Among them are climate changes requiring environmental resiliency, aging populations & chronic disease to address and the need for better health infrastructure to increase access to health care. Resource providers in the region, including health workers, governments, non-governmental organizations and the military are trying to work smarter — sharing responsibilities, using data to analyze needs and outcomes, employing telemedicine where possible to reach remote locations and looking for new ways to collaborate.

See the nations which are a part of the WHO Western Pacific Region

Dr. Kasai, a native of Japan, began his term as Regional Director this past February. The Western Pacific Region office is based in Manila. Jeffery Kobza, Director of Administration and Finance for the Western Pacific Region accompanied Dr. Kasai to Honolulu.

Their meeting here on September 26 brought together the UH physician faculty, Dr. Neal Palafox and Dr. Lee Buenconsejo-Lum and program manager Mavis Nitta who oversee the Pacific Regional Cancer Programs in the John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, as well as Kristine Qureshi, Associate Dean of the School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene, Christina Higa, Associate Director at the College of Social Sciences’ Telecommunications and Social Informatics, along with Dr. Norman Okumura, Faculty Specialist Director there. Also attending were Dr. Laura Brewington, Lead Investigator and Fellow at the East-West Center, Dr. Eun Young Ko, WHO Country Liaison Officer for the Freely Associated States (Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Palau) and U.S. Navy Lieutenant Commander Lizette Durand, Department of Health & Human Services Defense Threat Reduction Agency Health Security Liaison.

Dr. Kasai, Dr. Ko and Mr. Kobza also were to meet with the Command Surgeon for INDO-PACOM, Rear Admiral Louis Tripoli later that day.

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