Developing collaborations across the globe
During a recent trip to South Korea, Joon Lee, PhD, who has led efforts in North Texas to control West Nile virus, met with high-ranking government officials to explore opportunities for collaborative research and projects in the future.
Dr. Lee, Associate Professor of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences in the School of Public Health (SPH), also has been called upon recently to advise local communities about concerns surrounding the Zika virus.
“Following last year’s outbreak of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in South Korea – the largest virus spread outside the Arabian Peninsula, with potential death tolls for the disease of about 3-4 of every 10 patients diagnosed – the South Korean government is very interested in developing a vigilant system to detect and prevent future virus threats like Zika,” Dr. Lee said. “I am hoping to get involved with these governmental institutions over the next few months, so we can work together on solutions for this current global public health concern.”
During his trip, he also presented two of his research studies to scholarly and governmental audiences.
He spoke on “An Application of Entomology in Urban Social Environment” at Andong National University and also presented “An Integrative West Nile virus Vector Management-Case of Fort Worth, Texas, USA” to both Chungbuk National University and the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
While there, he was also hosted at the Seoul Metropolitan Government Research Institute of Public Health and Environment, where he learned about the government’s management system for food, air and water quality monitoring and response, along with its public risk communications system.
“Students at the two universities I visited were interested in learning about graduate study in the U.S. and the types of opportunities we offer through the UNTHSC MPH programs,” Dr. Lee said.