York students promote health as bridge to peace in Middle East

Two York University graduate students who believe dialogue about health issues can promote peace have organized a video conferencing event that will highlight the experiences of Palestinian, Israeli, Jordanian, Canadian and American doctors working together.

Lavina Sadhwani and Inbal Marcovitch, co-presidents of the student group Health as a Bridge to Peace @ YorkU, will host the international video conference on Thursday, March 3 along with Peace by Peace @ YaleU, based at Yale University.

Case studies involving two networks of doctors and health professionals in the Middle East and North America will be presented during the video conference, which will be attended by students at both York and Yale universities, with discussion following.

Dr. Arnold Noyek (right), founder of the Canada International Scientific Exchange Program (CISEPO), will speak at York about the non-governmental organization’s 17-year history of improving the health and well-being of children, parents and families in communities across the Arab and Israeli frontier.

CISEPO, which is based at Mount Sinai Hospital in the Peter A. Silverman Centre for International Health, in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto and at York University’s Faculty of Health, is a network of academics, researchers, educators, doctors, students, medical and public health specialists and allied health professionals who work together under a Canadian umbrella to promote cooperation in the Middle East.

They deliver services to people marginalized by disability or disease, especially in maternal and child health, build capacity and promote relationships and professional development partnerships.

Noyek is professor of otolaryngology – head and neck surgery, as well as professor of public health and medical imaging at the University of Toronto.

Dr. James F. Leckman (left), the Nelson Harris Professor of Child Psychiatry, Psychiatry, Psychology and Pediatrics at Yale University, will speak at Yale about Empowerment and Resilience in Children Everywhere (ERICE).

Leckman and his colleague Dr. Ernesto Caffo convened a group of child mental health professionals from Israel, the West Bank and Gaza to discuss how to work together to improve the lives of children in this region of conflict. ERICE works to promote human rights, joint action, capacity building and interventional projects focused on enhancing the well-being of children and families affected by the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Supported by the Fondazione Child, Italian Government, the International Association for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Allied Professions, the organization provides mental health support to children and families living in conflict areas, recognizing this as fundamental to future peace.

The “Networks of Cooperation: Case Studies from the Middle East” video conference, part of an international Week of Dialogue, will take place this Thursday, from 5 to 7pm, in Stedman Lecture Hall 120E. This event is free and open to the public.