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'Public Health Knows No Borders' - Symposium Looks At Security, Infectious Disease

Feb 20, 2019

With Florida being an international travel destination, there could be a risk for infectious diseases from foreign countries. And the risk of bioterrorism remains a possibility as well.

These and other topics will be the focus as the University of South Florida hosts the first ever Global Health, Diplomacy and National Security Symposium Feb. 28 in Tampa.

Dr. Anthony Masys is the Director of Global Disaster Management, Humanitarian Assistance and Homeland Security at the USF College of Public Health

“When we think about public health issues, they’re trans-border. Something that takes place at one point in the world actually affects everything,” said Masys. “When we have this global transportation network, diseases can find themselves right on our doorstep, so it really comes to the point that we have to be cognizant of what’s happening around the world.

Dr. Anthony Masys, right, the Director of Global Disaster Management, Humanitarian Assistance and Homeland Security at the USF College of Public Health, speaks to WUSF's Mark Schreiner.
Credit Kerry Sheridan / WUSF Public Media

“Diplomacy fits in there nicely because often we can actually interject early in other places around the world to reduce the effect and impact here in the U.S.,” he added.

Florida’s status as a travel destination and Tampa being home to MacDill Air Force Base also causes Masys to suggest caution.

“When you have tourism, when you have any type of influx of people, you always have to be aware of what is coming in and what is going out as well,” he said. “It’s not really red flags, but just be cognizant of the potential dangers and risks inherent in that.”

The inaugural symposium, which is sponsored in part by WUSF Public Media, will bring together experts from across USF, the military, private industries and other countries to discuss a variety of issues related to public health, defense and immigration.

Keynote speakers include Stephen Redd, the Director of the Center for Preparedness and Response at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); J. Stephen Morrison, the Director of the Global Health Policy Center; and Dr. John Sinnott, the Chair of the Department of Internal Medicine at the USF Morsani College of Medicine.

The symposium takes place Feb. 28 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Patel Center for Global Solutions on the Tampa campus of USF.