Speaker laments world health system

In honor of World Health Day, Geneseo saw distinguished international medicine fellow Dr. Pholophat Inboriboon give a keynote address entitled "Partnering in Health: A Global Perspective," on Thursday, April 17.

Inboriboon, who holds a doctorate in medicine from the University of Rochester, has volunteered in Thailand, Kosovo and Haiti, among other troubled areas, and is currently looking into going abroad again.

He spoke in Newton Hall about the various issues facing today's increasingly globalized world. Health issues such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome and the Avian Flu, which threaten millions of people across the globe, were the focus of the address.

"There is an increased need for collaboration between countries," Inboriboon said. "We've seen this with AIDS and influenza. These diseases can spread much more rapidly due to increased travel."

In order to combat the spread of these diseases, Inboriboon suggested that college students help by volunteering in foreign countries.

"We need to provide help that is sustainable," he said.

Speaking from his experience, Inboriboon gave helpful tips to those seeking opportunities abroad. He warned about culture shock and the need to speak to the local residents to fully grasp the nuances of the culture.

Inboriboon, when recounting the everyday tragedies of poor health-care systems in undeveloped countries, asked listeners to be thankful to live in a country with readily available medicine.

"In Nicaragua, there is universal health care, but in the clinics there is no medicine," he said.

Not all in attendance, however, agreed with Inboriboon's positions.

"In order to help people, we should start with those in our own country," said freshman Nicole Loiacano. "So many people are suffering here in the U.S. that our aid money should go to them first."

Freshman Elizabeth Holdsworth suggested there was a lack of balance in the lecture.

"It was a good presentation, but it focused too much on his personal volunteering experiences and not enough on the actual world health issues," she said.