Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Hosts Roundtable with Leading Local, National, International Experts Engaged in Dengue and Zika Research, Readiness, Response

February 18, 2016
Press Release

Honolulu, HI—This morning at the University of Hawaiʻi John A. Burns School of Medicine(JABSOM), Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) hosted a roundtable with leading local, national, and international experts engaged in dengue and Zika virus research, readiness, and response.  They talked about the most accurate, up-to-date information on the diseases, the current situation of the dengue outbreak on Hawaiʻi Island, and discussed the critical steps that need to be taken to achieve immediate and long-term solutions to protect Hawaii’s people and our economy.  The congresswoman also toured the JABSOM Tropical Medicine Research Laboratory where dengue fever is studied.

“The level of experience and expertise that gathered this morning was great, as we discussed the current situation and next steps in the fight against mosquito-borne illnesses such as dengue fever and the Zika virus,” said Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, who representsHawaiʻi Island as part of her district.  “The meeting was productive, and the information presented was candid and constructive.  As we move forward, it's important that these experts and their resources are tapped into as Hawaiʻi builds and executes its strategy to deal with the outbreak of dengue and the prevention of Zika.  We don’t have time to sit around and wait—too much time has already been lost.  A coordinated, aggressive response to eradicate these disease-laden mosquitoes and their breeding areas must occur now.”

The roundtable included experts who work with the John A. Burns School of Medicine, Department of Tropical Medicine; Center for Excellence in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance; Global Strategies International Medical Corps; Department of Emergency Medicine; Kona Community Hospital; and the Dengue Vaccine Initiative (Seoul, South Korea).  The complete roster of roundtable participants is below.

Yesterday at the Hawaiʻi State Capitol, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard joined the Legislature's Big Island Caucus members who represent Hawaiʻi County.  They shared the challenges and frustrations expressed by their constituents, shared ideas on how to better serve residents affected by the island's dengue fever outbreak, discussed how to ensure resources are getting to where they are needed most, and explored solutions to improve vector response, access to dengue fever testing, and the timeliness of receiving results.  Rep. Tulsi Gabbard brought up these ideas and concerns at today’s roundtable meeting.

 

Photos from today’s roundtable meeting, the JABSOM Tropical Medicine Research Laboratory tour, and yesterday's meeting with Big Island State Legislators are available here for download.   

 

Roundtable participants:
 

 

 Name

Degree

Title

Affiliation

Call in

1

Nerurkar, Vivek

DMLT, MSc, PhD

Professor and Chair

Dept. of Tropical Medicine/JABSOM

 

2

Yanagihara, Richard

MD, MPH

Professor

Dept. of Pediatrics/JABSOM

 

3

Wang, Wei-Kung

MD, ScD

Professor

Dept. of Tropical Medicine/JABSOM

 

4

Marian, Melish

MD

Professor

Dept. of Pediatrics/JABSOM

 

5

Lehrer, Axel

MS, PhD

Assistant Professor

Dept. of Tropical Medicine/JABSOM

 

6

Verma, Saguna

MS, PhD

Associate Professor

Dept. of Tropical Medicine/JABSOM

 

7

Ndhlovu, Lishomwa

MD, PhD

Associate Professor

Dept. of Tropical Medicine/JABSOM

Call in

8

Kumar, Mukesh

BVSc & AH, MS, PhD

Assistant Professor

Dept. of Tropical Medicine/JABSOM

 

9

Kaufusi, Pakieli

MS, PhD

Assistant Professor

Dept. of Tropical Medicine/JABSOM

 

10

Captain Campbell, James USN (Ret)

MPH, PhD

Associate Professor

Senior Fellow

Dept. of Tropical Medicine/JABSOM

Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies

 

11

Tsai, Wen-Yang

MS, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow

Tropical Medicine/JABSOM

 

12

Hedges, Jerris

MD, MS, MMM

Professor & Dean, JABSOM; Interim Director, UH Cancer Center

JABSOM/UHM

 

13

Bruno, Michael

MS, PhD

Vice Chancellor for Research, UH-Manoa

UH Manoa

 

14

 

Jacques, Craig

 

Global Health Security Advisor

Center for Excellence in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance

 

15

Schafer, Jacob

 

Advisor for Medical Planning and Preparedness

Global Strategies International Medical Corps

 

16

McDowell, Richard

MD

Chair, physician

Department of Emergency Medicine, Kona Community Hospital

Call in

17

Halstead, Scott

MD

Senior Advisor

Dengue Vaccine Initiative, Seoul Korea, (former Research Director, Pediatric Vaccine Initiative)

Call in

18

Parks, Eliot

PhD

Chief Executive Officer

Hawaii Biotech

Call in

19

Clements, David

PhD

Director

Hawaii Biotech

 

20

Green, Josh

MD

Senator, ER Physician

Big Island, Senate District 3

 

21

Creagan, Richard

MD

State Representative

Big Island House District 5

 

22

San Buenaventura, JoyRussel, Richard

JD

State Representative

Big Island, House District 4

Tentative

23

Kahele, Kai

 

State Senator

Big Island, Senate District 1

Tentative

24

Davis, Joe

 

 

Mosquito Vector Control Program, Queensland

Call in

25

Whelan, Peter

 

 

Mosquito Vector Control Program, Queensland

Call in

 


Last week, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard spoke on the House floor to urge support for and passage of President Obama’s emergency request for $1.8 billion to prepare and respond to the Zika virus.  The congresswoman also called for federal funding to fight dengue fever in Hawaiʻi, carried by the same Aedes aegypti mosquitoes as the Zika virus. At the end of January, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard called on Hawaiʻi Governor David Ige to declare this outbreak a state of emergency and to deploy State resources, including the National Guard, to assist with mosquito abatement, public information, clearing of mosquito breeding areas, and providing completely free and accessible testing for those with suspected symptoms.  She has been meeting with state leaders, Hawaiʻi County officials and Civil Defense, military personnel, experts in the private sector and at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and listening to concerned citizens of the Big Island, working to protect the people of Hawaiʻi from dengue fever, a debilitating disease that has no vaccine, treatment, or cure.

 

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