2006: Speaker Biographies

Visiting Scholars

Diane Appelbaum, RN, FNP, MS

Adjunct Faculty, Emory University School
U.S. Director of MEDICC (Medical Education Cooperation with Cuba)

Diane Appelbaum is a Certified Family Nurse Practitioner and educator with a long history of community and international service in the area of health care and medical education. She has worked as a nurse-practitioner internationally in St. Lucia, Honduras and Costa Rica. She is currently adjunct faculty at the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing at Emory University School and the U.S. Director of MEDICC (Medical Education Cooperation with Cuba), a non-profit organization which provides an institutional link between the U.S. and Cuban medical and public health communities. Ms. Appelbaum has numerous publications, and has recently collaborated with colleagues on an article describing Cuba’s program in Natural and Traditional Medicine, to be published in the January issue of Academic Medicine.

Marion Birch, MSc

Director of Medact, London, UK

Marion Birch is a nurse and midwife who has also studied and worked at the London Hospital of Tropical Diseases. Currently Ms. Birch serves as Director of Medact, a membership organization of health professionals challenging barriers to health caused by the effects of war, poverty and environmental damage. She has worked overseas in humanitarian assistance and public health for 15 years in Sudan, Mozambique, Sri Lanka and Angola, principally in the areas of post-conflict health sector rehabilitation, in-service training during conflict, water, sanitation and waste disposal, and support to community organisations and local government in relation to public health.

Nelle Temple Brown, PhD

External Relations Officer
World Health Organization
Washington, DC

Dr. Nelle Temple Brown represents the Geneva-based headquarters of WHO in Washington and the five WHO regional offices serving Africa, Asia, Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean. Immediately prior to joining WHO, Dr Brown served on the staff of the U.S. Congress for nine years, principally working on legislation relating to international, bilateral, and multilateral aid, health, and liability issues. She has taught at the University of Maine, served as Special Assistant to Mrs. Katharine Graham of The Washington Post for Chancellor Willy Brandt’s International Commission on International Development Issues, was Assistant Representative of The Asia Foundation in Thailand, and has also been a consultant to a number of U.S. Government and U.N. agencies, businesses, and voluntary organizations.

Montgomery Elmer, MD

Practicing Family Physician
Thedacare Physicians
Kimberly, Wisconsin

Montgomery “Monk” Elmer is a Board Certified member of the American Academy of Family Physicians and a former graduate of the University of Iowa School of Medicine. He was honored as the Wisconsin Family Physician of the Year in 1998 and received the Physicians for Social Responsibility Broad Street Pump award in 2000. For the past several years, Dr. Elmer has implemented community development programs in Russia in areas where formerly secret nuclear weapons complexes and stockpiled chemicals are located. Currently, Dr. Elmer is active in the Kimberly School System, Physicians for Social Responsibility, ThedaCare Board of Directors, the Fox Cities Sister Cities Program, Appleton Family Residency Board, and the U.S./Russian Physician Exchanges.

Sheri Fink, MD, PhD

Fellow of the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative at Harvard University
Visiting fellow of the Francois-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and
Human Rights
at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Dr. Fink has worked with humanitarian agencies in the U.S., Balkans, the North Caucasus, Central and Southeast Asia, Southern Africa and the Middle East, responding to emergencies including Hurricane Katrina and the December 2004 Asian earthquake and tsunami. She wrote the award-winning book, War Hospital: A True Story of Surgery and Survival (PublicAffairs, 2003), about Srebrenica, Bosnia-Herzegovina. She reports frequently on global health issues for BBC/PRI's The World, and her articles have appeared in mass media publications including the New York Times, the Washington Post, and Discover, as well as in scientific journals including JAMA, the American Journal of Public Health, and Health and Human Rights.

Jennifer Kasper, MD, MPH

President, Doctors for Global Health
Clinical Associate Professor
Dept. of Family and Community Medicine
University of Arizona at Tucson

Dr. Kasper currently serves as President of Doctors for Global Health, a non-governmental organization that promotes health and other human rights through the practice of liberation medicine. Her overseas experiences include providing complex humanitarian emergency assistance in Honduras post-Hurricane Mitch, conducting a child labor study in India, and serving as the pediatric attending of a hospital in Chiapas, Mexico. Dr. Kasper has published works in the American Journal of Public Health, the Lancet, and Health and Human Rights on the topics of immigrants and hunger, child labor in India, the United Nations Convention on the Child, and welfare reform in the United States.

Kenneth Iain MacDonald, PhD

Departments of Geography and International Development Studies, University of Toronto

Ken MacDonald is an interdisciplinary scholar who teaches in the Dept of Geography at the University of Toronto. He is also a faculty member in the interdisciplinary Program in International Development Studies and Director of Studies for the Program in Diaspora and Transnational Studies at the University of Toronto at Scarborough. His research interests include the social production of vulnerability; the cultural politics of development, and the mechanisms through which ideological formations are reproduced in a transnational age. He has extensive research experience in South Asia and is currently involved in work examining the institutional dynamics of vulnerability in the Pakistan earthquake of 2005. He is also the founder of Khurpa Care, a small non-profit organization working to improve health and working conditions for porters in northern Pakistan's mountaineering and adventure tourism sector.

Steven Miles, MD

Professor, Center for Bioethics and the Department of Medicine
University of Minnesota

Dr. Miles' international work spans twenty-five years with the American Refugee Committee, including service as chief medical officer for 45,000 refugees on the Thai‑Cambodian border, AIDS prevention in Sudan, tsunami relief in Indonesia, and teaching in many countries. Among Dr. Miles many published works on medical ethics, human rights, and tropical medicine are his two books, “Oath Betrayed: Torture, Medical Complicity, and the War on Terror” and “The Hippocratic Oath and the Ethics of Medicine.” He has received numerous awards for work in bioethics, public health, and human rights including the Distinguished Service Award from the American Society of Bioethics and Humanities.

Thomas E. Novotny, MD, MPH

Director of International Programs,
University of California San Francisco School of Medicine
Institute for Global Health

Dr. Tom Novotny served for 23-years in the United States Public Health Service as a National Health Service Corps Family Physician, an epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and CDC liaison to the World Bank. He most recently was Deputy Assistant Secretary for International and Refugee Health in the Department of Health and Human Services and an Assistant Surgeon General. Dr. Novotny has worked extensively in tobacco control and in health systems reform, particularly in Eastern Europe, and consults regularly with the World Bank and other international organizations. His research now includes HIV/AIDS in Eastern Europe, the Bioethics of Globalization, and non-communicable disease control.

Michael Renner, MA

Senior Researcher, Worldwatch Institute
Director, Global Security Project

Michael Renner is a Senior Researcher at the Worldwatch Institute, which he joined in 1987. He was project director for the Institute’s annual Vital Signs book for several years and is now directing its Global Security project. Michael’s work focuses on new definitions of security, and the linkages between environment, natural resources, and violent conflict. His Worldwatch Paper, The Anatomy of Resource Wars, was published in October 2002. Michael and Worldwatch Staff Researcher Zoë Chafe are currently undertaking a two-year research and public policy project on “Un-Natural Disasters, Conflict, and Peacemaking.” They contributed a chapter to the Institute’s State of the World 2006 on “Turning Disasters into Peacemaking Opportunities.” Michael is a native of Germany. He received a Master's degree in international relations from the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Michael Schulz

Deputy Permanent Observer and Deputy Head of Delegation
International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

Michael Schulz (56), living in Iceland, is currently the deputy Permanent Observer and deputy Head of Delegation of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, accredited to the United Nations in New York. A social scientist by education, he has served during the past 25 years mainly as a Federation Delegate in Africa, the Middle East, Asia and the former Soviet Union as well as at the Federation's Secretariat in Geneva, Switzerland. Prior to his assignment in New York, until May 2005, he served for two years as Head of Delegation in the Palestine Territories.

Edgar T. Thornton, III, MA

U.S. Agency for International Development, Washington, D.C.

Edgar Thornton is a senior federal government public policy professional and contract administrator with nearly twenty (20) years experience in government affairs. He has an extensive background in environmental and natural resource regulation, international development, economic development, urban planning, and municipal government service delivery. Through a career working at USAID, EPA, U.S. Departments of Energy and the Interior, Mr. Thornton has unique expertise managing federal government contracts and program administration, implementing field based and research projects, creating public-private partnerships, and opening emerging international markets.

David Walton, MD

Resident at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston and volunteer for Partners in Health

David Walton entered Harvard Medical School in 1998 after receiving his BA from Augustana College. The summer after his first year at Harvard, he made his first trip to Haiti as a research assistant for the Partners In Health team, a non-profit organization with a presence in Latin America, the Caribbean, Russia, and the United States. Based on his extensive work with Partners In Health, Dr. Walton has significant experience in delivering HIV/AIDS care in resource poor settings. His research work at Harvard Medical School includes exploring emerging infectious diseases in Latin America and the resurgence of drug resistant strains of tuberculosis in the former Soviet Union. He has contributed to numerous published articles on AIDS and tuberculosis. After receiving his MD from Harvard Medical School in 2003, Dr. Walton began his residency at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in 2004. Dr. Walton continues to split his time between Boston and Haiti.

Distingushed Faculty

David Bedell, MD

Clinical Associate Professor of Family Medicine, University of Iowa

For more than eight years prior to coming to the University of Iowa, David Bedell, M.D. worked as a volunteer in El Salvador. Bedell began his volunteer work during the Salvadorian civil war (1980 to 1992) as the lone physician at a refugee camp. He went on to run a large rural health project along with the local Catholic Church. For the project, Bedell trained community based health promoters and supervised care by the health promoters and midwifes. He took on complicated medical cases, wrote grants for project funding, and developed sanitation and nutrition projects. By the time he left in 1994, he had helped train close to 300 health promoters who were working in 100 different communities. Now as an assistant professor of family medicine in the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine, he travels three days each week to the Lone Tree Family Practice Center, a practice that serves 50 to 60 percent Spanish-speaking patients.

Paul Greenough, PhD

Professor of History and Community and Behavioral Health, University of Iowa

Paul Greenough is Professor of History in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and Professor of Community and Behavioral Health in the College of Public Health at the University of Iowa. He has three main areas of interest: the history of public health, the social history of India, and the cultural, material and political relationships between India and other parts of the world in the age of globalization. His books include Prosperity and Misery in Modern Bengal: The Famine of 1943-44 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1982), Nature in the Global South: Environmental Projects in South and Southeast Asia (co-edited with Anna L. Tsing, Duke University Press, 2003), and Against Stigma: Comparing Caste and Race in an Era of Global Justice (edited with Balmurli Natrajan, in press). He is the Director of the University of Iowa's Global Health Studies Program.

Maureen McCue, MD, PhD

Adjunct Clinical Professor in Public Health, Adjunct Professor in Medical Anthropology, University of Iowa

Dr. McCue has traveled and worked extensively as a peace maker, researcher, and physician. She is the coordinator for the Iowa Chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility, a founding member and former Director of the University of Iowa Global Health Studies Program, where she remains active on the governing board, and a founding member and executive committee member of the UI Center for Human Rights. She has helped organize many forums on cross cultural, global health, and refugee health issues and has regularly interacted with international and domestic representatives of many programs, disciplines, and perspectives regarding global health issues, and participated in several unique peace, health and human rights events in the former Soviet Union, Nicaragua, Cuba, Ecuador and Bangladesh.

Robin Paetzold, MBA

Adjunct Faculty and Director of Global Programs, University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine

Robin Paetzold is the Director of Global Programs and an adjunct faculty member at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine. Within this position, Ms. Paetzold supervises medical student involvement in global health projects as well as teaches courses on global health issues and the US health care system. Before directing the Office of Global Programs, Ms. Paetzold served as the International Coordinator for the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Iowa with special focus on Russian and Chinese primary care initiatives. Ms. Paetzold's experience includes involvement in immigrant communities, women's issues, poverty and service access, literacy, and human rights issues.

Mark Sidel, MA, JD

Professor of Law, University of Iowa and Research Scholar for the University of Iowa Obermann Center for Advanced Studies

Professor Sidel has also served as a consultant on legal reform, philanthropy, the nonprofit sector and related areas for the Asia Foundation, Asia Pacific Philanthropy Consortium, Asian Development Bank, Center for Educational Exchange with Vietnam, Economics Institute (Boulder), Ford Foundation, National Foreign Affairs Training Center/Foreign Service Institute (Washington), Oxfam International, Oxfam America, Oxfam Hong Kong, Aga Khan Foundation/Pakistan Centre for Philanthropy, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), U.S. Department of Justice (Civil Rights Division), U.S. State Department, Stanley Foundation, University of Iowa, Vietnamese Ministry of Justice, World Bank, and other institutions. Professor Sidel has published extensively on comparative law in Asia, and on philanthropy, the nonprofit sector, and civil society.

Student Speakers

Robin Beining, MS

PhD Candidate

Robin Beining holds her BS in Microbiology, Certificate in Global Health Studies, and MS in Epidemiology all from the University of Iowa. Ms. Beining was the 2005-2006 recipient of the Milford E. Barnes award in Epidemiology for academic excellence and research. She is currently a PhD candidate in the Epidemiology program in the College of Public Health at the University of Iowa, where she is focusing on cardiovascular disease and polycystic ovary syndrome in women. She also has research experience in a meta-analysis of intrauterine device use and endometrial cancer, a systematic review of childhood overweight and under-nutrition, and an observational study of cultural perceptions related to condom use in Botswana. Ms. Beining has served as a teaching assistant for the Global Health Studies Program over the past two years. She speaks French and basic Lingala, a language of the Congo region of Africa. Ms. Beining is interested in women’s reproductive health, HIV/AIDS, cardiovascular disease, and health disparities, all on an international level, particularly central and southern Africa.

Gina Clark, PhD

Third year medical student, University of Iowa

Gina Clark completed a PhD in clinical neuroscience at Oxford University and is now in her third year of medical school at the University of Iowa College of Medicine. She conducted a study examining the potential impact of migration on HIV vaccine clinical trials under the auspices of the South African AIDS Vaccine Initiative in summer 2005. She is interested in mental health issues in a variety of settings, neurological and psychiatric manifestations of HIV/AIDS, and the HIV epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa.

Mary-Justine Todd, BA

MA student, University of Iowa

Mary-Justine Todd holds a BA from the University of Iowa in theater and international studies, with an emphasis in African studies. She is currently pursuing an MA in Iowa’s international studies program, focusing on women’s human rights in Tanzania, specifically sexual and gender-based violence towards women refugees. She has spent time in West and East Africa, most recently returning from three months of research in the refugee camps of western Tanzania working with a local Tanzanian NGO, Relief to Development Society, a UNHCR implementing partner. Todd is fluent in French and Kiswahili and is currently pursuing a career in the field of international humanitarian aid and refugee crisis management