Dr. Shannon Márquez


Dean of Global Engagement at Columbia University

Dr. Shannon Márquez is the Dean of Global Engagement at Columbia University where she supports the collaborative development, implementation, and assessment of new and existing global programs and opportunities for global engagement across Columbia, leveraging the Columbia Global Center networks in Europe, Latin America, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East and with partners around the world. In addition to her role as a senior leader at Columbia, she is on the faculty in the Mailman School of Public Health and the Columbia Climate School and teaches courses on water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) and global health.

An experienced senior international officer, global health scholar, “public health engineer” and environmental scientist who has promoted the intersection of addressing global challenges, diversity, equity, and inclusion in the her teaching and scholarship, Dr. Márquez has garnered international recognition for her work on pathways to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in low- and middle-income countries with a particular focus on the global water crisis, climate change and impacts on global health in Sub-Saharan Africa; gender equality and social inclusion; and environmental disparities and environmental justice in underserved communities.

She holds a BS in mechanical engineering from Prairie View A&M University; a master’s in civil engineering from Texas A&M University; and a PhD in environmental sciences and engineering from the UNC-Chapel Hill Gillings School of Global Public Health, and serves as an NGO Representative to the United Nations on behalf of NAFSA: Association of International Educators.

Keynote Abstract
Water, Climate Action, and Sustainable Development for the Health of All People and the Planet
Sustainable development calls for concerted efforts towards building an inclusive, sustainable and resilient future for all people and the planet. Eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions is an indispensable requirement for sustainable development. Water, sustainable development and climate action are linked, and all three are vital to the present and future of public health, global health, one health, and planetary health, and especially for the well-being of humanity and for sustainable development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Water flows through all major global issues in rural and urban communities; from health to hunger, gender equality to jobs, education to livelihoods, disasters to peace. Promoting intersectoral collaboration and strengthening policy and global frameworks to address the global water crisis is key to climate action and sustainable development, including promoting inclusive and equitable economic growth, creating greater opportunities for all, reducing inequalities, raising basic standards of living, fostering gender equality and social inclusion, and promoting integrated and sustainable management of natural resources, food systems, and ecosystems for the health of all people and the planet.

Dr. Malin Fors


Associate Professor at the Arctic University of Norway

Malin Fors is a psychologist and psychoanalyst residing in Hammerfest, Norway – the world’s northernmost town. Her 2018 paper on “geographical narcissism” has been cited by readers in many countries and disciplines.  She is Associate Professor at UiT, the Arctic University of Norway, where she teaches medical students about issues of power and cultural safety. Dr Fors has been a guest lecturer in psychology for numerous universities in Scandinavia and has run clinical workshops in several US conferences. For 16 years, Dr. Fors has served at the local psychiatric outpatient clinic and in private practice in Hammerfest. Dr. Fors is the author of A Grammar of Power in Psychotherapy (APA Press, 2018), recently translated into Swedish, for which she won the Johanna Tabin Award from the Society for Psychoanalysis and Psychoanalytic Psychology. She has appeared in a Master Clinician DVD in the APA Psychotherapy Series and was an Erikson Scholar at the Austen Riggs Center in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, in 2020. She received the Research Award from Finnmark Hospital Trust, Norway, in 2021, and was awarded the Psychotherapy Literature Stipend by the Stockholm Academy for Psychotherapy Education (SAPU) in 2022.

Keynote Abstract

Geographical Narcissism

Geographical narcissism is a subtle, often unconscious, devaluation of rural knowledge, conventions, and subjectivity. Dr. Fors delineates how urban-identified populations may defensively disown the realities of our vulnerability to nature, distance, and weather, and tend to deny our social interdependence and non-anonymity. In positing an urban “omphalos syndrome” and the geographical narcissism that goes with it, she countermaps rural medicine and celebrates rural strengths. These include acting with clinical courage and observing “potato ethics” – a metaphor that she has suggested for the strong ethical values underlying the reality that often, in rural healthcare, one’s own services are the patient’s only option. She explores some psychological effects of rural microtraumas and construes urbanity as a seldom-addressed privilege, showing how rurality can be incorporated into an intersectional argument about power and social justice. 

Prof. Shenuka Singh

Full Professor at the University of KwaZulu-Natal

Shenuka Singh is a Full Professor in the Discipline of Dentistry at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), South Africa. She has two doctoral degrees: Ph.D. (Clinical and Research Ethics) (Stell); and Ph.D. (UWC) in the field of dental public health. She is an appointed member of the National Health Research Ethics Council (NHREC) in South Africa (2020-2023) and she chairs the Norms and Standards Committee within NHREC. Prof Singh was a Deputy Chair for the Biomedical Research Ethics Committee at UKZN (2020-2022) and a member of the Human Sciences Research Council’s Research Ethics Committee (2019-to date). From an international perspective, she was invited to be part of a World Health Organization joint working group (Regulation and Safety Unit and Health Ethics & Governance Unit) to develop a tool for the benchmarking of research ethics oversight in 2021. She is also a member of the Ethics in Dental Research Committee at the International Association of Dental Research. She is actively involved in research and postgraduate supervision and has presented papers at local and international conferences (including invitations as a keynote speaker). Prof Singh was a recipient of the 2018 College of Health Sciences Teaching Excellence Award, UKZN (in the category: Outstanding Contribution to Teaching) and was also awarded the UKZN Certificate of Excellence in Teaching (2018). 

Keynote Abstract

Promoting an interprofessional and collaborative approach to health service delivery: the need for continuing educational support for the health care provider

Access to quality health care services that are appropriate and responsive to unmet individual and community needs is a fundamental human right, yet the current delivery of health services remains somewhat disjointed, despite efforts to ensure an integrated approach to health care. This calls for more cohesion within the health system, which could be achieved through an interprofessional and collaborative approach. The need for such an approach to health care provision becomes more critical in the face of resource-constrained health settings. given its potential to address issues such as staff and skills shortages, sharing of resources, and optimizing streamlined service delivery, yet the implementation of an interprofessional and collaborative approach is riddled with challenges. Part of these challenges includes health care providers’ competence, level of training, preparedness, and willingness to work within these teams. Additionally, the siloed approach to undergraduate training means that the health care provider entering the health system is largely ill-equipped and under-prepared for such a paradigm shift in health care delivery. This collectively calls for more investments in continuing education and training within an interprofessional and collaborative environment. Such training efforts could include role clarification, communication, problem-solving, decision-making, and leadership skills, hence creating opportunities for health care providers to learn and work together within an interprofessional and collaborative environment. However, the nuances in training needs must be taken into account, given that health care providers based in rural and urban settings would have different systemic challenges and that training programmes must be tailored to meet these diverse needs. 

Prof. Tefera Lema

Full Professor at the Jimma University

Tefera Belachew is a Full Professor in human Nutrition at Jimma University, Ethiopia. He is qualified as Medical Doctor from Jimma University and MSc in Human Nutrition (University of London) and PhD in human Nutrition (Ghent University). He is member of the National Nutrition Coordination Body (NNCB) of Ethiopia and Fellow of the Ethiopian Academy of Science (EAS). He is actively involved in research, consultancy, and supervision several masters and doctoral students and has published extensively in the rea of nutrition and health. He has also taught various methodological courses including nutritional assessment nutritional epidemiology, biostatistics, Scientific communication, and research methods to postgraduate students. He has presented several papers at local and international conferences (including invitations as a keynote speaker). Prof Tefera was a recipient of the 2022 Jimma University’s outstanding scientist of the year Award (Gold Medal and certificate and Smart Phone), young researcher’s award of the Ethiopian Public health association in 2009 (Gold Medal and certificate) and Jhon River’s prize of Nutrition for promising performance during MSc study. 

Keynote Abstract

Community Engagement for Local and Global Health

Community engagement is a powerful tool for improving both local and global health outcomes.
It involves the active participation of community members in health initiatives, fostering a sense of ownership and empowerment. This approach can lead to sustainable health interventions that are tailored to the unique needs and circumstances of each community. The World Health Organization (WHO) has defined community engagement as a process that enables changes in behavior, environments, policies, programs, and practices within communities. It is a process of developing relationships that enable stakeholders to work together to address health-related issues and promote well-being to achieve positive health impact and outcomes.
In the local context, community engagement in public health plays a significant role in reducing inequalities, improving social justice, enhancing benefits, and sharing responsibility. It is a pragmatic way of integrating the social determinants of health into the design and delivery of health services. There are different levels, depths, and breadths of community engagement which determine the type and degree of involvement of the people. By involving community members in decision-making processes, health interventions can be designed to meet the specific needs of the community, leading to improved health outcomes.
On a global scale, community engagement can facilitate the sharing of knowledge and resources between communities. Effective community engagement in global health research is shaped by local conditions and culture.  This can lead to the development of innovative solutions to health challenges that are scalable and adaptable to different contexts.
In conclusion, community engagement is a critical component of effective health interventions. It fosters local ownership, ensures interventions are contextually appropriate, and promotes the sharing of knowledge and resources on a global scale. This approach has the potential to significantly improve health outcomes both locally and globally.