Originally published Dec. 12, 2011
Five health professionals from Russia met with Department of Public Health (DPH) and Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD) leadership on Tuesday, December 6 to share their experiences with and knowledge of child and maternal health initiatives, emergency preparedness and emergency response. Delegates met with J. Patrick O’Neal, M.D., Director, Health Protection, DPH; Betsy Kagey, PhD, Deputy Director, Division of Emergency Preparedness and Response, DPH; Brian C. Castrucci, Director, Maternal and Child Health and WIC, DPH; Ryan Deal, Director, Communications, DPH; and Jeanette David, Disaster Mental Health Services Coordinator, DBHDD.
The Russian delegates are taking part in the congressionally-sponsored Open World Program, which brings young political and civic leaders from nine post-Soviet states to the United States for short-term professional trips. Open World’s goals are to build mutual understanding between the United States and participating countries, to create a network of emerging Eurasian leaders dedicated to effecting positive change in their home countries, and to connect these leaders with their American professional colleagues.
The group’s visit to Georgia focused on social issues and healthcare in the United States. The program’s short but high-intensity exchanges emphasize hands-on practical activities—such as workshops, job shadowing and site visits—related to the delegates’ professional or community work. The group visited DPH with the goal to gain new ideas for programs and inspiration for change back home.
The delegation learned about the various maternal and child health programs and discussed how DPH and DBHDD’s initiatives connect to their work in Russia. The delegates also learned about emergency preparedness and response and how DPH coordinates communication before and during disasters or crises.
The group started their trip to the United States with a stop in Washington D.C. to visit Senator Saxby Chambliss’s office. Once in Georgia, highlights of the delegates’ trip included a meet and greet with several Atlanta City Council members, a visit to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and a cultural excursion to Savannah. The delegates stayed in the homes of Georgia residents in order to experience American family and community life.
The delegation members were: Mr. Dmitriy Veniaminovich Artobolevskiy, Education Program Manager, Doctors to Children; Ms. Yelena Bronislavovna Korovina, Social Worker, Head of the Adoptive Parents Training Center, Tomsk; Ms. Marina Anatolyevna Patrina, Coordinator, Adoptive Parent Training Center, Doctors to Children; Ms. Svetlana Valeryevna Shuvayeva, Psychology Coordinator, City Children’s Hospital, St. Petersburg; Ms. Mariya Yuryevna Solodunova, Educational Psychologist, Neuropsychiatric Orphanage, St. Petersburg; and Ms. Olga Vasilyevna Pastushenko, the program facilitator. They were accompanied by a translator.