International Studies & Programs

President Stanley Presents at 2021 IVLP Virtual Exchange Program

VIPP hosted a virtual exchange program on the subject of combating infectious diseases for public health officials from 14 African countries

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Published: Wednesday, 31 Mar 2021 Author: Teresa Svec, Visiting International Professional Program

As a community-based member of the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP), MSU’s Visiting International Professional Program (VIPP) had the honor of hosting the 2021 IVLP Virtual Exchange Program. The IVLP is the premier professional exchange program of the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Through this program, leaders from around the globe have the opportunity to connect with their American counterparts.

VIPP hosted 25 public health officials from 14 African countries for the virtual professional development and exchange program on March 24 and 26, 2021. This year’s program, “Combating Infectious Diseases” covered a range of topics including federal and state infectious disease policy and programs, media campaigns to raise awareness about infectious diseases, community partnership, and youth health and well-being. As one of the nation’s top biomedical researchers well known for his work on defense against emerging infectious diseases, MSU President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D. kindly accepted VIPP’s invitation to speak at the virtual exchange program.

Photo of MSU President Stanley
MSU President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D.

After welcoming the visitors to MSU, Dr. Stanley shared information on the current status of the pandemic in Michigan and MSU, 15 months after the outbreak. He highlighted MSU’s response to the pandemic since March 11, 2020. “Our priority is to ensure the university is a safe, respectful and welcoming place for all our students, faculty and staff. MSU shifted the 2020 spring semester to remote learning after a virtual fall semester, and we are able to continue our education mission online. Essential lab-based research also continued on campus, which follows strict public health guidelines with daily health screen, mask and social distancing as compulsory requirements.”

Dr. Stanley talked about vaccine research and Michigan’s effort on mass vaccination as key to combating the pandemic. Dr. Stanley also addressed questions on the challenges of vaccine acceptance by the general public in the U.S., especially among some marginalized groups in our society. The participants showed great interest, asking questions about relevant future research, MSU policy, and programs to support the community.  

The session was facilitated by Dr. Xinyu Wu, Director of VIPP. “It’s our great honor to have President Stanley to work with our international visitors. As a leading epidemiologist on emerging infectious diseases and a university leader, Dr. Stanley’s expertise and leadership is invaluable for this program.”

VIPP was pleased to welcome a team of experts and practitioners from MSU, state and local government agencies, and community-based health educators to contribute to the program by sharing their knowledge and experience in various aspects of public health and combating infectious diseases. Key speakers and panelists included Dana Watson, Healthy Start Health Educator from the Ingham County Health Department; Raj M. Wiener, former Director of the Michigan Department of Public Health; Christopher Jackson, State Assistant Administrator from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services; Darline El Reda, Assistant Professor in the MSU College of Human Medicine; Mieka Smart, Assistant Professor in the MSU College of Human Medicine; Pamela Hackert, Medical Health Officer from Genesee County Health Department; Laura Carravallah, Director of MSU Medical Partners in Public Health Certificate Program; and Breaunte Brown, Founding Member of the Flint Millennial Movement.

Photo of Dr. Xinyu Wu and presenters
VIPP Director Dr. Xinyu Wu facilitates the virtual exchange.

VIPP serves as the Michigan Council for Citizen Diplomacy and is designated as a community-based member for IVLP implementation. VIPP works with seven National Program Agencies to secure incoming projects. VIPP is dedicated to seeking out partners at Michigan State University, in the Greater Lansing Area, and throughout the entire state to implement worthwhile program experiences for IVLP participants. Today, VIPP offers a diverse portfolio of programs to more than 500 visiting professionals every year, from more than 30 countries.