Institute for Global Health to Host Symposium on Achieving Global Equity through STEM Education

Panelists at the Institute for Global Health symposium event

Symposium panelists and organizers (left to right): Sonji Johnson-Anderson, Timothy Ford,
Jennie Ward-Robinson, Gary Toranzos, Carolyn Gardner-Thomas, Rupika Delgoda,
Laurel Royer, Margaret Riley, and Carol O'Donnell

November 13, 2019

The UMass Amherst Institute for Global Health (IGH) in collaboration with the STEM Ambassadors Program hosted a symposium titled “Achieving Global Equity through STEM Education: Health, Environment & Policy” on Thursday, November 21, from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm in the Old Chapel.

The daylong event featured a keynote panel headlined by Carol O'Donnell, Director of the Smithsonian Science Education Center. Additional panelists included Gary Toranzos, Professor of Microbiology at the University of Puerto Rico at Rio Piedras; Rupika Delgoda, Professor of Biochemical Pharmacology, the University of the West Indies at Mona, Jamaica; Laurel Royer, Managing Scientist at Exponent; and Carolyn Gardner-Thomas, Lecturer of Math, Harvard University. The panel was chaired by Jennie Ward-Robinson, CEO of the Alliance for Global Health Innovation.

The panelists discussed some of the challenges facing communities and populations around the world in health, environment and policy, and the critical role that STEM education can play in reducing global inequalities. IGH director Timothy Ford, who serves as Chair and Professor of Environmental Health Sciences, was among the IGH leadership to provide an introduction and welcome to the event.

“I see IGH as a catalyst for raising awareness among the UMass community and initiating large-scale multi-disciplinary programs of research and education to address global health challenges,” says Ford. “Only a truly interdisciplinary approach can begin to address our global health challenges. These challenges are complex, and require multiple perspectives to inform solutions. This extends beyond the STEM disciplines to include the cultural, economic and policy dimensions of global health.”

In addition to the keynote panel, the symposium featured a student poster session from 12:00 to 1:00 pm, providing an opportunity for students, faculty and staff to interact more closely with the panelists. The program concluded with a STEM AP Presentation (STEM Education through the Performing Arts).

Adds Ford, “My hope is that faculty, students and others learned more by engaging in the discussion and will contribute to the vision for IGH.”