Austin College’s Saritha Bangara to Offer Keynote Address
Austin College students and faculty have the opportunity to interact with medical students and health professionals in Mexico during the Fifth International Conference on Health Sciences Research, “COVID-19 Research: Challenges and Progress,” presented virtually October 28-30, 2020.
Saritha Bangara, Ph.D., Austin College assistant professor of public health and co-director of the College’s Public Health Program, will deliver the keynote address of the conference. A member of the Austin College faculty since 2015, Bangara is a much-sought-out resource on campus and beyond in the face of COVID-19 due to her public health expertise. Students in the Austin College Spanish course “Discussions on Health Professions” will translate and subtitle Bangara’s presentation so that conference participants in Mexico may access it.
The conference will cover topics of Health Administration; Biomedical Sciences; Non-Communicable Diseases; Nursing and Professional Practices; Dentistry; Psychology, Society, and Education; Public Health; and Health and Comprehensive Care.
Any Spanish-speaking faculty or students in the health sciences are welcome to attend the virtual sessions online.
This international conference is an exciting way for Austin College students to engage with medical students at the Universidad Juárez Autónoma de Tabasco, said Julie Hempel, Ph.D., professor of Spanish at Austin College and director of the Center for Southwestern and Mexican Studies at Austin College. A direct exchange between Austin College and the UJAT was established in January 2020 when Austin College students traveled to the university as part of Hempel’s “Medicine in Mexico” course. Throughout the course, Austin College students visited the medical school, interacting with medical students and shadowing Dr. Leticia Guerrero in her clinic.
“This conference will allow pre-medical, public health, and psychology students from Austin College and the UJAT to share findings from research projects related to COVID 19,” Hempel said. Students who have done research related to COVID 19 are encouraged to participate in the conference’s poster or paper sessions, in English or Spanish. See details and information regarding these sessions. All papers and posters submissions are due for consideration by September 30.
These opportunities for Austin College students and faculty, including the JanTerm course in Tabasco are possible because of the Center for Southwestern and Mexican Studies and the “Infusing Languages and Global Competency Across the Disciplines” grant received by Austin College in 2018. The U.S. Dept. of Education’s Undergraduate International Studies and Foreign Language Program awarded the grant, which provides opportunities for students to engage in Spanish language and Hispanic culture in various academic and professional settings. The grant program includes opportunities such as international internships, new JanTerm programs, new interdisciplinary courses in Spanish and in Latin American & Iberian Studies, faculty workshops, and outreach programming for North Texas high schools.
Austin College, a private national liberal arts college located north of Dallas in Sherman, Texas, has earned a reputation for excellence in academic preparation, international study, pre-professional foundations, leadership development, committed faculty, and hands-on, adventurous learning opportunities. One of 40 schools profiled in Loren Pope’s influential book Colleges That Change Lives, Austin College boasts a welcoming community that embraces diversity and individuality, with more than 50 percent of students identifying as persons of color. The residential student body of approximately 1,300 students and more than 100 expert faculty members allow a 13:1 student-faculty ratio and personalized attention. Related by covenant to the Presbyterian Church (USA), Austin College cultivates an inclusive atmosphere that supports students’ faith journeys regardless of religious tradition. The College, founded in 1849, is the oldest institution of higher education in Texas operating under original name and charter.