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U.Va. to Host Trilateral Conference on HIV/AIDS and Public Health Access

March 18, 2010 — Experts from China, France and the United States will convene Sunday at the University of Virginia for a three-day conference to discuss how non-governmental agencies help to shape public health policy.

"We have scholars, members from non-governmental agencies and government representatives from all of the countries coming," said Majida Bargach, assistant director of U.Va.'s Center for International Studies. "It will be very dynamic, with all of the parties learning from one another."

The center partnered with the Paris-based Institute for Research and Debate on Governance to create the conference, which will focus on HIV/AIDS and access to health care by marginalized populations.

"Our French partners helped to identify which experts to invite from China, and we at U.Va. invited several U.S. experts to take part in the conference," Bargach said.

The Sino-Franco-American forum, which is open to students and faculty, runs through Tuesday in the Newcomb Hall South Meeting Room. The forum will identify and compare the interaction between non-governmental agencies and public authorities in the respective countries.

The conference will open Sunday with the introduction of the 22 participants. Monday will begin with a morning session on China, which will include Ding Ning Ning from the Chinese State Council; Wang Jun, a gay rights support network forum leader; and Li Dan, director of an HIV/AIDS human rights organization. 

Monday afternoon will focus on health policy in the United States. Panelists include Farley Cleghorn, a leading international expert on HIV/AIDS and the development of research and programs in developing countries, and Gene Matthews, a senior fellow at the North Carolina Institute for Public Health.

Tuesday's session focuses on the situation in France, with Michel Legro from the National School of Public Health; Paloma Moreno, who works for a non-profit federation that provides social care to people in their own homes; and Beatrice Luminet, a public health doctor and board member of Doctors of the World.

The conference ends Tuesday afternoon with a debate on the questions raised during the forum between two panelists from the United Nations Development Program.

— By Jane Kelly

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