On hand at the exhibit opening were (from l) Michael Tees; Jeanne White Ginder; Gyawu Mahama; FIC director Dr. Roger Glass; NLM director Dr. Donald Lindberg; Office of AIDS Research’s Dr. Victoria Cargill; Niko and Theo Milonopoulos; Dr. Jack Geiger; and Tanya Wansom.
Geiger, founding member of Physicians for Human Rights, is also the architect of the community health center network in the United States.
Standing by the portion of the exhibit that reflects his work is NCBI’s Dr. Alejandro Schaffer and his son Daniel.
Photos: Bill Branson
|Some folks are surprised to see the exhibit’s inclusion of Hurricane Katrina, she says, although the U.S. is part of global health. Yet “Against the Odds” isn’t just a catalog
of problems; it spotlights such successes as the eradication of smallpox, China’s barefoot doctor campaign, Bangladesh’s oral rehydration campaign and the community health center movement. It also profiles the ongoing action against HIV/AIDS.
So if global health is not a world away, but right here in our backyard, then how do we respond? What works and why?
The exhibit profiles some of the people who know the answers. On opening day, four groups of high school students attended a program at Lister Hill Auditorium where they heard NLM director Dr. Donald Lindberg and Fogarty International
Center director Dr. Roger Glass talk about today’s challenges. The students watched videos and listened to a panel of speakers who are also featured in the exhibit: Dr. Victoria Cargill, director of clinical studies and director of minority research at the NIH Office of AIDS Research; Dr. Jack Geiger, founding member of Physicians for Human Rights; and Jeanne White Ginder, mother of the late Ryan White, an advocate for people living with HIV/AIDS. Panelists talked about making a difference and encouraged audience
members to get involved.
The panel also featured
young activists who spoke about reasons
they wanted to do something in the world of global health and the impact they’ve made: Gyawu Mahama, a member
of George Washington
University’s chapter of the Student Global AIDS Campaign; Niko and Theo Milonopoulos, brothers and students at Stanford University, who founded Kidz Voice-LA and Vox Populi to prevent gun violence; Michael Tees, who co-founded the Tulane University chapter of Student
Physicians for Social Responsibility during his first year of medical school; and Tanya Wansom,
an American Medical Student Association member who has trained future physicians to educate students about HIV/AIDS.
The audience had questions: “How did you get started?” “Who inspired you?”
“We were angry about something,” said Tees. “We had passion about something.”
“We couldn’t stand by while our classmates were being gunned down,” said Theo Milonopoulos.
“Testing people for HIV in Thailand,” said Wansom,
gave her new insight into the epidemic.
“When I was 16,” said Mahama, “my mom gave me the opportunity to go to Ghana, where she’s from,” and where he witnessed “the scourges of public health—stagnant water, malaria, the lack of sanitation that makes cholera such a pugnacious
issue in the developing world.”
“Don’t forget the true everyday heroes,” said Wansom, “who speak up when people say things that aren’t cool, things that are racist,
sexist or something bad about people with AIDS. People who spoke up for Ryan [White] when he went to school: all of you can do things like that...speak up for other people when they can’t.”
The room was filled with energy by the end of the session, when all adjourned to the ribbon-
cutting ceremony in NLM’s atrium. Free to explore the exhibit, young people sought out panelists, NLM senior staff, as well as NLM director Lindberg and FIC director Glass.
The gallery in NLM’s atrium is only one exhibit
component; there’s also a web version with interviews, videos, moderated comment boards, teaching modules and monthly guest columns. (April’s columnist was Dr. Paul Farmer, founding
director of Partners in Health, an international
This is an exhibit that’s tailor-made to get young people involved.
OAR’s Cargill was in a quiet corner of the exhibit
when she was approached by a group of teenage
girls who paused, hesitating. Finally one of them broke in.
“Excuse me,” she said, “but you were the most amazing speaker I’ve ever heard.” Then the doctor turned to the teenager and they began to speak.
“Against the Odds: Making a Difference in Global
Health” is available online at http://apps.nlm.nih.gov/againsttheodds/index.cfm. For tours, inquire at NLMExhibition@mail.nlm.nih.gov or call (301) 594-1947.