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Faculty, staff and students from Mailman's Department of Population and Family Health (PopFam) played a major role in Conference 2003: Reproductive Health, From Disaster to Development. The Reproductive Health Response in Conflict (RHRC) Consortium held the global conference in Brussels, Belgium, on Oct. 7 and 8 to share findings from public health projects serving refugees and displaced people throughout the world.

PopFam is one of the organizational members of the RHRC Consortium, and it's the only university-affiliated member. The other consortium members include the American Refugee Committee, CARE, and the International Rescue Committee.

"Our role in the consortium is to support systematic data collection, analysis and use in programs providing reproductive health services to those affected by armed conflict," says Susan Purdin, an associate in the department and an expert on the health of conflict-affected populations. Reproductive health services include:

  • Family planning
  • Diagnosis and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases
  • HIV testing, counseling, and prevention of mother-to-child transmission
  • Pregnancy and delivery care; emergency obstetric care
  • Special attention to adolescents

More than 150 people from 70 organizations in 36 countries in Asia, Africa, Australia, Europe, North America and South America attended the conference. It provided a forum for discussing the preliminary results of the ongoing global evaluation of reproductive health in refugee settings, a study coordinated by the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, which co-sponsored the conference, along with the U.N. Population Fund and the International Centre for Reproductive Health at Ghent University, Belgium.

The chair of PopFam, Dr. Leslie Davidson, moderated a panel on maternal mortality. Department faculty and staff, Sara Casey, Therese McGinn and Susan Purdin, helped plan the conference during the past year.