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Cyprus - Harvard Institute for Public Health to start work in September
2005-07-05 10:19:20

Nicosia, Jul 5 -- The Cyprus International Institute (CII) for the Environment and Public Health which is established by the Harvard School of Public Health and the government of Cyprus, will launch next September.

On Tuesday, the Director of the CII Filippos Democritou presented the Institute's research priorities, which are environmental pollution, passive smoking and its impact on public health, as well as on diabetes and obesity, and its interaction with genetic material and environmental exposure.

Dean of the Harvard University's School for Public Health, Barry Bloom, welcomed the initiative and said that ''through this unique partnership between the Harvard School of Public Health and the Republic of Cyprus, we have established an international research, education and technology initiative for the environment and public health to address key issues facing the Eastern Mediterranean, North Africa and the Middle East''.

Mr. Bloom also said that ''the School's faculty will collaborate with regional governments and internationally renowned research and academic organizations to advance our common scientific interests''.

Mr. Bloom also referred to the ministerial summit that will be held this October in Nicosia where Ministers of Health, Environment and Technology from neighboring countries will participate to promote regional cooperation adding that ''This visionary summit will represent an important first step in developing a comprehensive scientific agenda for the region to address its environmental and public health concerns''.

A year ago Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos and Dean Barry Bloom signed in the US the Agreement for the establishment of an international initiative for the Environment and Public Health that provides for the establishment of the CII with the cooperation of the University of Harvard.

The CII was established last December and is based in Nicosia. There are currently five Professors working there, four Cypriots who have in the past worked in Universities abroad, and one American Professor.

Based on this agreement, Harvard University has established in Boston the Harvard School of Public Health - Cyprus Program (HSPH-Cyprus Program) that aims to bring qualified students from Cyprus and the region to study, train, and earn a degree at the Harvard School of Public Health, and will collaborate with CII to develop and execute in-depth research.

Until now five Cypriot students, including a Turkish Cypriot, have earned scholarships for post graduate and doctoral studies in Harvard starting this September. The students will finish their studies by doing research in Cyprus.

The CII aims to absorb research funds from the US, EU and other sources of funding in matters concerning public health in areas such as air and water quality, smoking, exposure and risk assessment, industrial hygiene, ergonomics, epidemiology, biostatistics, environmental law, toxicology, management, health in working places and other.

The Institute will enhance the skills and overall capacity of researchers in Cyprus to address present and future societal needs of Cyprus and the region.

In addition, the Institute will attract thousands of scientists from Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and US who will come to Cyprus for training, research, and conferences.

The initiative will bring many Harvard faculty and students to the region to teach and conduct research, providing a rich exchange of ideas with the regionís cadre of scientists, professionals, and government officials, as well as with the general public.

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