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Hardy shares U.S. public health experience with Albanian leaders

Charles Hardy, dean of the Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health at Georgia Southern University, recently traveled to Tirana, Albania, to deliver the keynote address at an international conference titled ‘Public Health in Albania: The Way Forward.”

While there he also held daily meetings with public health professionals, including the Director of Albania’s Institute of Public Health, the Deputy Minister of Health, and representatives of non-governmental organizations dealing with public health. He met with medical students and instructors, delivered several lectures on public health issues, and was interviewed by the Albanian media.

‘My goal in Albania was to bring attention to pressing public health issues and to share some of the programs that have been successful in the United States to prevent, promote, and protect Americans,” said Hardy. ‘Having experience with public health education in rural Georgia made it easier for me to relate to Albania’s public health issues, which have a direct impact on the country’s economic development.”

Hardy indicated that Albania, as a developing country, is being confronted with many public health issues such as access to and affordability of primary care, prevention and control of infectious diseases, health promotion education for lifestyle diseases, and protecting the environment so that people can live healthy and productive lives. During his week in Albania, he was able to reach more than 300 public health professionals and students to talk about these issues, and through his media interviews he will reach many more.

‘Public health research in Albania is developing,” he said. ‘In our discussions, I encouraged the public health leaders to develop an evidenced-based decision model to gather empirical data that would guide their public health practice, and we discussed the development of collaborations between the Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health and the Department of Public Health at the University of Tirana.”

Hardy’s trip was sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Programs. Enver Roshi, M.D., Ph.D., head of the Public Health Department at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Tirana, was instrumental in having Dr. Hardy participate in the program. Roshi served as a visiting scholar in the Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health during spring semester 2006.

‘I enjoyed having the opportunity to work with my colleague, Dr. Roshi, on this project,” said Hardy, ‘and I look forward to developing future collaborations that will benefit the faculty and students at both institutions as well as the health of our publics.”

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