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Allied Health Presents Public Programs on Work in Developing Countries

Released: 04/12/2010

The Department of Allied Health and the Honors Program at LSU Alexandria will present two free public programs on “Laboratory Science: Integral Component to Global Healthcare” in conjunction with national Professional Medical Laboratory Week. The first presentation is April 20 at 7 p.m. in the Alexandria Museum of Art, and the second is April 21 at noon in the Coughlin Hall auditorium on campus.

“LSUA students and faculty are involved in global healthcare in resource-limited countries around the world,” said Cathy Robinson, assistant professor of allied health. “The public forums will be educational on our work in moving medical laboratory science programs from knowledge-based to competency-based in developing countries. This transition is especially effective in the treatment of HIV, malaria and tuberculosis to name but a few conditions.”

Robinson, who coordinates the LSUA phlebotomy program and has been to Africa more than 20 times as part of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, and Dr. Zeleke Negatu, assistant professor of biology and native of Ethiopia, will be featured speakers. Robinson, who won the peer-selected Member of the Year Award from the Louisiana Clinical Laboratory Science State Society, will discuss how medical laboratories and training programs are transitioning from theory to application. Negatu will speak about the medical needs in his native country and the cultural factors that sometimes impede progress.

LSUA students, by means of the Internet, are working with their counterparts in Africa, South America and Southeast Asia through service-learning projects. “Today’s students are more aware of global issues than previous generations. We are helping medical laboratories in under-developed countries change from manual methods to the use of automation with a much greater quality assurance and measurable results,” said Robinson.

Robinson said the programs are geared to the community-at-large, medical professionals and prospective allied health students. “What we’ll present is literally having an impact on people’s lives, both in the countries where this change in medical application is taking place and in the education of LSUA students,” Robinson said.

International students from LSUA will assist with a traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony before and after each event, and the public is invited to participate. Support for the presentations is provided by the Central Louisiana Society for Medical Technology and the Department of Biological Sciences and the Office of Multicultural Affairs at LSUA.