A member of the Wayne State University School of Medicine leadership team is in Turkey beginning this week to serve as a key figure in the first academic health conference focused on refugees of the Syrian civil war.
Vice Dean of Faculty Affairs and Professional Development Basim Dubaybo, M.D., is chair of the Scientific Committee for “Global Refugee and Migration Congress: Health and Socioeconomic Perspectives, Challenges and Opportunities,” which runs Oct. 13-18 at Gaziantep University in Turkey.
The meeting will feature more than 200 lecturers from the United States, Canada, Europe, the Middle East, Asia and other countries across the globe.
Dr. Dubaybo is a practicing physician with a longtime interest in the study of health in immigrant communities, specifically educating communities that may not have a high level of health literacy.
“Physicians need to be involved in their community,” he said.
Dr. Dubaybo and conference co-chair Adnan Hammad, Ph.D., were approached two years ago by officials at Gaziantep University who wanted to host a conference that would initiate global partnerships among academic, governmental and non-governmental sectors working in humanitarian crisis and recovery.
Dr. Hammad is a WSU voluntary professor of Family Medicine and Public Health Sciences and founder of Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services Community Health and Research Center in Dearborn and Sterling Heights, Mich.
In 2016, the United Nations identified 13.5 million Syrians requiring humanitarian help, of which 6 million are internally displaced and 5.5 million are refugees outside of Syria. Approximately 3.5 million Syrian refugees migrated to Turkey, with 90% migrating to the cities of Gaziantep, Istanbul, Urfa and Hatay. Around 21% of Gaziantep’s city population consists of Syrian refugees.
In the United States, Michigan is one of the top two states for resettlement of Syrian and other refugees. The other state is California.
The conference goal is to build collective relationships by identifying areas of mutual interest, creating longterm collaborations. Lecture topics include sociological implications of refugees, labor challenges, the role of health systems and mental health.
“This is a very comprehensive conference on immigration health. It is very academic and far-reaching,” Dr. Dubaybo said. “I’m very excited about this. It’s not the end. It’s usually the beginning. This conference will generate many collaborations that will lead to a lot that needs to be done.”
WSU Professor of Pharmacy Linda Jaber is among the featured speakers and a scientific committee member. The Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences is among the conference partners as well.
The full texts of presented abstracts will be published after the conference. For information on the event, visit www.syrianrefugeeconference.com