Non-Communicable Diseases


  Shubhra Ghosh, MD, CCRP

Dr. Shubhra Ghosh serves as Project Director for Global Programs in the Department of Global Academic Programs (GAP) at the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX. Dr. Ghosh joined the Global Academic Programs team in March 2009. Prior to this she obtained her medical degree from Gandhi Medical College, Bhopal, India and completed her Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Infectious Diseases in the Immunocompromised host at The UT M. D. Anderson Cancer Center.
Shubhra leads MD Anderson’s Africa initiative which is focused on advancing cancer care in sub-Saharan Africa through partnerships with Ministries of Health, and training & education of healthcare professionals. She directs development of sister institution relationships between M. D. Anderson and other leading international cancer programs for collaborative research and academic exchanges. Dr. Ghosh also leads the development of research plans for new extensions of MD Anderson within the US and globally.

Combating Cancer in sub-Saharan Africa through Training and Education

While major advances in cancer care are leading to better outcomes and increasing survivor-ship in the developed nations, a sincere effort to bring these advances to the LMICs is necessary for our collective future. Two-thirds of the cancer deaths now occur in the developing countries, and the vast majority of these cases are diagnosed in late stages of the disease when the prospects of survival are bleak. Therefore strengthening the health systems with a focus on expanding the healthcare workforce with enhanced skills in cancer prevention, diagnosis, treatment and palliation is necessary to effectively meet the challenge. The cancer experts at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX are working with local experts in sub-Saharan Africa to help advance their skills and train a larger number of healthcare professionals through in-country workshops as well as trainee exchanges. MD Anderson’s sister institutions worldwide are also participating in this daunting task.


Karen Calabro, DrPH

Karen Calabro is co-investigator on multiple grants involving cancer prevention research focused on discouraging uptake of tobacco and facilitating tobacco cessation among teens, young adults, and Army service members. She an Instructor in the Department of Behavioral Science at M. D. Anderson Cancer Center (MDACC). Her mentor is Alexander V. Prokhorov, M.D., Ph.D., Professor in Behavioral Science at MDACC. Karen holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in nutrition from Fontbonne College-St. Louis and Texas Woman’s University-Houston, respectively. Her post-graduate training in nutrition was completed at the Clinical Research Center at Children’s Hospital Boston. She holds an M.P.H. and Dr.P.H. from the University of Texas-Houston School of Public Health.

ASPIRE (A Smoking Prevention Interactive Experience): Past, Present and Future

Talk content will cover the problem of tobacco and new nicotine product use among teens. Presented will be the creative components of the online, evidence-based ASPIRE (A Smoking Prevention Interactive Experience), its evidence base, evaluation strategies, plans for new directions, and conclusions. Plans include dissemination of ASPIRE internationally by increasing its cultural relevance in Latin America, Romania, and the Philippines.


 Shreela Sharma, PhD, RD, LD

Dr. Shreela Sharma is Associate Professor in the Division of Epidemiology, Human Genetics and Environmental Sciences, and a faculty member of the Michael & Susan Dell Center for Health Living at the University of Texas, School of Public Health in Houston. Dr. Sharma is a behavioral epidemiologist with interest in design, implementation and evaluation of nutrition and physical activity-based interventions to prevent obesity via preschool, school, family and community based approaches, predominantly in low-income minority populations. Dr. Sharma also has international research collaborations with the Public Health Foundation of India and the World Economic Forum on type 2 diabetes prevention in the Indian subcontinent. A strong advocate for childhood obesity prevention, Dr. Sharma serves on the Mayor of Houston’s Go Healthy Houston Task Force aimed at obesity prevention in Houston. Dr. Sharma is also a registered and licensed dietitian in the State of Texas. She received her PhD in Epidemiology with a minor in Biostatistics and Health Promotion/Behavioral Sciences from The University of Texas School of Public Health.

The Obesity Pandemic – is it ending or only the beginning?

The presentation will use a case-study approach to compare the burden of the obesity pandemic in children and adults spanning developed nations such as the United States, and developing nations such as India. Shifting dietary and physical activity patterns across these countries will be contrasted and compared to guide the development of potential solutions to the globesity epidemic.


  Cheryl Person, MD

Cheryl Person is an assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of Texas. She is also adjunct faculty at Fiji National University. She graduated from Tulane University School of Medicine and completed her psychiatry residency training at Johns Hopkins University. She also completed a Psychiatric Epidemiology research fellowship at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Before moving to Texas she was on faculty at the University of Maryland. She is currently the Director of Psychiatric Services at LBJ General Hospital and is Director of Global Mental Health for her department.

Global Mental Health: Lessons from Fiji

Low middle income countries (LMICs) have very few trained mental health specialists. Such a severe workforce shortage creates several opportunities to design and implement innovative programs to meet mental health needs.
This presentation will focus on unmet mental health needs in Fiji, results of a pilot study assessing depression and suicide risk in non-psychiatric patients, and future plans.


  Bethany Boggess, MPH (c), BS, CHES

Bethany Boggess is the Information & Research Services Coordinator at the National Center for Farmworker Health whose work focuses on the analysis and synthesis of data and research regarding migratory and seasonal agricultural workers in the United States. She is a second year Masters in Public Health student in Epidemiology at the University of Texas School of Public Health. Her research interests include occupational health disparities among workers in agriculture and construction and the development of data mining tools for the surveillance of international occupational fatalities. She has been the principal investigator for research concerning end-stage renal disease among immigrant populations and work-related hospitalizations among the uninsured. She has been involved in projects with the Mexican Consulate Ventanilla de Salud program, Workplace Health Without Borders, the Open Knowledge Foundation, and currently volunteers with Workers Defense Project assisting low-wage immigrant workers in Central Texas with wage theft and health & safety issues. She also runs Global Worker Watch, a website that utilizes simple and transparent data mining and crowd-sourcing tools to map work-related fatalities around the world.

“Don’t our lives matter as much as the goods we produce?”: A global overview of disease and death among workers in low- and middle-income countries

More people die globally from dangerous working conditions than HIV/AIDS, but these deaths often occur in international silence. The International Labor Organization estimates that 2.3 million people die every year from injuries and illnesses acquired in the workplace, with the vast majority occurring in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Men and women around the world risk their life and health every day in order to produce our clothing, buildings, electronics, and food. They deserve better. Workplace Health Without Borders is a non-profit organization founded in 2011 to address worker health and safety issues globally. WHWB is comprised of members from Europe, North America, Africa, Latin America, and Asia who seek to empower workers with skills and training to improve working conditions.
This session will provide audience members with current information about the global burden of workplace injury and diseases, with a focus on low-wage workers in LMICs. An overview of WHWB’s work in improving the health and safety of workers in India, Tanzania, and Liberia will be discussed. Opportunities for interested individuals to become involved in this work will also be provided.


 George Delclos, MD, MPH, PhD

Dr. George Delclos is Professor of Occupational Medicine in the Division of Epidemiology, Human Genetics and Environmental Sciences at the University of Texas School of Public Health in Houston, Texas and Senior Researcher in the Center for Occupational Health Research at the Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona, Spain. He obtained his medical degree from the University of Barcelona in 1981 and completed residency training in internal medicine and pulmonary diseases at the Baylor College of Medicine. He has an M.P.H. degree from the University of Texas School of Public Health, a Ph.D. in Health and Life Sciences from Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona, and is board-certified in internal medicine, pulmonary diseases and occupational medicine. His current areas of research focus on 3 areas: a) occupational and environmental asthma (epidemiological and clinical aspects), b) international aspects of occupational health, and c) determinants of sickness absence and disability at an international level. Dr. Delclos’ research is conducted mainly in Texas, Spain and Latin America (Colombia and Central America).

Working conditions and health in Latin America

Informal work, often understood as unregulated economic activities, is frequently performed by vulnerable workers, including women, undocumented immigrants and persons in lower socioeconomic strata, and is not uncommon in certain industrial settings such as construction, housekeeping/domestic services and agriculture. Scientifically rigorous research of the informal sector is sparse, because of difficulties in accessing representative samples of this population. In 2011, our group, in collaboration with partners from Central America and Spain, took a leadership role in conducting the first survey of working conditions and health in Central America (ECCTS, by its Spanish acronym), involving a representative sample of 12,000 workers in both the formal and informal economy. We will present an overview of our findings, together with a description of a particular epidemic of chronic kidney disease, which is affecting and killing large numbers of young male, largely agricultural workers in Central America, identifying gaps in research and how national working conditions surveys can help fill some of these gaps.


Oral Abstracts

Role of metabolic genes and environmental toxins in Autism Spectrum Disorder in Jamaican children
Dr. Mohammad Rahbar
Prediction of Genetic Risk Factors for Alzheimer’s
Kanchana Raja