Navy Doctors Participate in International Summit

Story Number: NNS140221-07Release Date: 2/21/2014 11:37:00 AM
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By Lt. Sonny Lorrius, U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet Public Affairs

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (NNS) -- Navy doctors from U.S 4th Fleet and Naval Hospital Jacksonville participated in the 2014 Florida International Summit - Global Health and Medical Diplomacy: Haiti and Florida, Feb. 12.

Navy Capt. Christine E. Dorr, fleet surgeon of U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet and Navy Capt. William E. Todd, director of Surgical Services Naval Hospital Jacksonville, were invited by the Florida Network for Global Studies to speak at this year's event.

Haiti was ravaged by a 7.0 magnitude earthquake Jan. 10, 2010, leaving most of the country's infrastructure, hospitals and facilities diminished or inoperable. The earthquake displaced more than 1.3 million people and more than 147,000 Haitians still remain living in tents in scattered camps.

"As a surgeon, being called upon to assist those in need is a great and rewarding opportunity," said Todd, who was an orthopedic surgeon on the USNS Comfort during the Haiti disaster response mission.

This year's Florida International Summit is an event produced by the Florida Network for Global Studies established in 2003. This combined effort of Florida Universities is dedicated to fostering activities that strengthen expertise and interest in global issues.

The keynote speaker was the U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Haiti Pamela A. White, who was appointed July 2012 and had previously served in Haiti from 1985 to 1990.

"How can we begin to help the people of Haiti unless we know what they have been through, not just from the time they received their initial care, but from the time the walls came down," said Todd.

He opened the 'Health Challenges Facing Haiti and Florida' panel by sharing a touching story of one of his patients who had to have her hand amputated.

"I knew my patient would no longer have a hand to clap with at her first birthday party but I also knew that, due to our efforts, she would still be able to have a smile from the joy of living. What we do as individuals matters," said Todd.

In the afternoon Dorr spoke as an Oobstetrician-gynecologist on the 'Women's Health Post-disaster' panel, capitalizing on her experiences while deployed on USNS Mercy for Operation Unified Assistance in 2005.

"Here in the United States, the average mother receives 14-16 prenatal visits during her pregnancy. However, in Haiti that number is only one to two for 75 percent of the women," said Dorr. "Four visits of care will help mitigate perinatal risks and reduce the maternal mortality rate."

As the fleet surgeon she discussed the current state of maternal health challenges in Haiti along with some possible interventions to be taken now in preparation for the future.

The Florida Network for Global Studies is a statewide consortium sponsored by Florida International University, Florida State University, the University of Central Florida, the University of Florida, the University of North Florida and the University of South Florida. The schools have continued for over ten years to advance the exchange of information exchange and analyses of economic, political, social, and technological exchanges.

The Florida International Summit rotates locations annually and the 2015 summit is currently scheduled to be held in Orlando, Fla., at the University of Central Florida.

U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command and U.S. 4th Fleet employ maritime forces in cooperative maritime security operations in order to maintain access, enhance interoperability, and build enduring partnerships that foster regional security in the U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility.

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