As awareness spreads and questions continue about recent Ebola outbreaks in Africa, as well as increased focus on the treatment of some patients with the virus in Atlanta, the University of Georgia College of Public Health and Athens Regional Medical Center are partnering to hold a community forum to discuss the infectious disease and any potential local impacts.
"A Conversation about Ebola" will be held Sept. 25 from 6:30-8 p.m. in George Hall on the UGA Health Sciences Campus.
The forum will include a panel of UGA faculty members with expertise in the fields of clinical infectious diseases, public health policy, epidemiology, veterinary science and disease transmission modeling, as well as an emergency room response physician from Athens Regional to address treatment protocols for Ebola.
Additional experts and medical personnel from both UGA and Athens Regional will be available to answer questions and provide more information.
"The Ebola virus breakout is an international story, and the residents of Athens-Clarke County have questions as do millions of citizens across the globe," said Phillip Williams, dean of the College of Public Health. "We recognize this partnership with Athens Regional as an opportunity to serve the people of our county and surrounding areas by allaying concerns and demystifying this disease with the help of local experts."
One of the questions experts look to answer is whether or not people in the U.S. should be concerned about contracting Ebola.
Panelists will explore how the disease spreads and the low risk of transmission in America, which has very different approaches to and resources for responding to any potential outbreak due to advanced medical care, sterilization practices, hydration and nutrition.
"A Conversation about Ebola" is the first community forum in a planned series to discuss public health issues as they arise.
"In Athens, we are fortunate to have the research expertise at the College of Public Health and the medical treatment expertise at Athens Regional to prepare for, understand, recognize and treat infectious diseases, including Ebola," said Elaine Cook, vice president of public and governmental affairs at ARMC. "Through this series, we will provide solid, scientific and useful information to the communities we serve."
The panelists are:
Dr. Chris Whalen, UGA College of Public Health, clinical/epidemiological expert
Dr. Jeff Hogan, UGA College of Veterinary Medicine, veterinary expert
Dr. John Drake, UGA Odum School of Ecology, ecological expert
Dr. Kim Tomlinson, ARMC emergency room response physician
Dr. Phaedra Corso, UGA College of Public Health, health policy expert
To join in the conversation on Twitter, follow @PublicHealthUGA at twitter.com/PublicHealthUGA or search for #Ebola #UGA.
UGA College of Public Health
Founded in 2005 as a response to the state's need to address important health concerns in Georgia, the UGA College of Public Health offers degree programs in biostatistics, disaster management, environmental health, epidemiology, gerontology, global health, health promotion and behavior, public health, health policy and management and toxicology. For more information, see www.publichealth.uga.edu.
Athens Regional Medical Center
Athens Regional Health System is one of Northeast Georgia's largest health care systems. Comprised of an acute care facility with 350-plus beds, four urgent care centers, a quality network of physicians and specialists, a health maintenance organization and a home health agency, Athens Regional is a progressive health care system committed to excellence and dedicated to improving the health, wellness and quality of life of our communities. For more information, see www.athenshealth.org.