Scientific Conference


The West Africa-Michigan CHARTER II in Global Environmental and Occupational Health (West Africa GEOHealth) is one of the seven research and training hubs which are jointly funded by the US National Institutes of Health/Fogarty International Center (NIH/FIC) and Canada's International Development Research Center (IDRC). Initially conceived by the US NIH/FIC, the GEOHealth program supports the development of institutions in low- or middle-income countries (LMICs) serving as regional hubs for collaborative research, data management, research training, curriculum and outreach material development, and policy support around high-priority local, national and regional environmental and occupational health threats. Specifically, the West Africa GEOHealth project seeks to build upon the longstanding, extensive occupational and environmental health research and training collaborations between academic and government partner institutions in West and Central Africa region. The expected key impact is to sustainably enhance capacity for worldclass scientific research and research training which would address and inform key national and regional occupational and environmental health priorities and policies relating to electronic waste recycling. Ultimately, the project is to further strengthen the capacity of Ghanaian and regional academic and governmental institutions to conduct environmental and occupational health scientific research and educational training, and inform key national occupational and environmental health priorities and policies. Over the last 9 years commencing the planning grant stage, the West Africa GEOHealth project effort and activities have resulted in the training of 6 postdoctoral fellows, 14 PhDs (making up of 8 males and 6 females) and over 92 M.Scs (comprising over 46 females and 46 males) across the participating institutions in West and Central Africa region. Other notable impacts of the project include over 30 refereed publications in high impact journals, published abstract and participation as well presentation in over a dozen regional and international conferences. At this conference, which will be a hybrid of virtual and in-person event, we anticipate 100-150 participants from across academia, government, industry and civil society as well as nongovernmental organizations representing 16 institutions from 12 countries in Africa, North America and other regions of the globe where there are sister GEOHealth hubs. The scientific conference component will showcase student presentations, which highlight the key findings from their doctoral research works while the policy dialogue component will offer policy-makers, government officials, decision-makers, local authorities, etc., a platform to engage in exchange of ideas on key policy ramifications of the research findings as well as the impact of GEOHealth Project on LMIC institutions.

Prof. Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng graduated from the University of Ghana Medical School in 1975 with MB, ChB degrees. He won the Easmon Prize in Surgery. After housemanship at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital he served as aMedical Officer at Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, where he was also a demonstrator in Gross Anatomy at the School of Medical Sciences from 1977-1978. He had his post-graduate studies at the Hannover Medical University, Hannover, Germany and qualified as general, cardiothoracic and vascular surgeon. He subsequently worked as a consultant cardiothoracic surgeon and was one of the pioneers of the heart transplantation programme in Hannover, where he also taught both undergraduate and postgraduate Thorax, Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery.

He performed the first of scores of heart transplantations in 1985. At the time he was recognized worldwide as the first black person to have performed a heart transplant. He performed the first Heart-Lung Transplant in Hannover in November 1988.

Prof. Frimpong-Boateng returned home in 1989 to establish the National Cardiothoracic Centre and the Ghana Heart Foundation. He joined the University of Ghana Medical School

in the year 2000 and was promoted Associate Professor of Surgery the same year and a Full Professor in 2002. Prof Frimpong-Boateng is past CEO of the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, past President of the Ghana Red Cross Society and past Chairman of the Public Utility Regulatory Commission (PURC). He established the National Cardiothoracic Centre at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital and was its founding Director. Currently he is the President of the Ghana Heart Foundation. Professor Frimpong- Boateng was also the Head of Surgery at the University of Ghana Medical School. He is a patron of SMIDO (Suame Magazine Industrial Development Organization) and patron of the Ghana Old Footballers Association

Prof. Frimpong-Boateng has received several local and international awards in recognition of his medical work and service to humanity. In 1999 he was the Ghana Chartered Institute of Marketing's Marketing Man of the year and, a recipient of the Millennium Excellence Award. In 2005 the Millennium Excellence Foundation awarded him as Personality of the Decade. He is the Secretary of the Centre for Technology - Driven Economic Development (CTED), which received the 2003 special award from the Ghana Chartered Institute of Marketing.

On 10th September 2004 he was a recipient of an honorary Doctor of Science (DSc.) Degree from the University of Education, Winneba. He also received an honorary Doctor of Laws (DLL) degree from the University of

Ghana Legon, on 23rd March 2016. Prof. Frimpong-Boateng was made honorary member of the German Surgical Society in May 2011. He is a Fellow of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences since 2002; also, a fellow of the Ghana Medical association. Prof. Frimpong-Boateng was given a national award: COMPANION OF THE ORDER OF THE VOLTA in 2006

Prof. Frimpong-Boateng was the winner of the 2012 edition of the prestigious African Heroes Award, presented by Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, USA, on February 12, 2012. He was the Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation of Ghana from Feb. 2017 to Feb. 2021.

Prof. Frimpong-Boateng has authored two books entitled, DEEP DOWN MY HEART: A history of Cardiothoracic Surgery in Ghana and TAMING A MONSTER: Managing KorleBu Teaching Hospital and has contributed chapters to two other books. He has several scientific publications and conference abstracts to his credit. Prof. Frimpong-Boateng is married to Agnes and the couple has five children. A hobby pianist his other hobbies are farming and engineering.

Thomas G. Robins, (A.B., Harvard, 1972; M.D., Tufts 1979; MPH, Univ. of Michigan 1983) has served on the faculty the Department of Environmental Health Sciences since 1984. He is an occupational and environmental physician and epidemiologist. He is the Director of two major training grants: 1) an Education and Research Center funded by the National Institutes of Health to train U.S. occupational health professionals at University of Michigan; 2) a National Institutes of Health Fogarty International Center grant to develop human resource capacity in environmental and occupational health in the 14-nation Southern Africa Development Community. His research addresses global issues in environmental and occupational health with particular emphasis on respiratory morbidity associated with workplace exposures (coal dust, aerosolized protein, metalworking fluids) and ambient air pollution. Areas of focus include: 1) improvements in the available epidemiologic tools, methods of exposure assessment and measurement of disease outcomes to enhance the reliability of research findings; 2) the application of these research methods to the areas of most critical public health concern; and, 3) effective dissemination of knowledge regarding the causes and methods of prevention of occupational illnesses and injuries to employers and employees who may then modify health-related work practices and working conditions




Professor Nil Basu holds a Canada Research Chair (CRC) in Environmental Health Sciences at McGill University where he is jointly appointed in the Department of Natural Resource Sciences and the School of Human Nutrition. Professor Basu also holds appointments in McGill's School of the Environment and the Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Occupational Health, as well as an adjunct professorship at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. The goal of Professor Basu's research is to design, validate, and apply innovative and sustainable approaches to address the most pressing societal concerns over toxic chemicals in our environment. Professor Basu's research is multidisciplinary (bridges environmental quality and human health), inter-sectoral(most projects driven by stakeholder needs, notably government and communities), and driven by environmental justice concerns. Professor Basu has assumed national and international leadership positions to bring together diverse teams to tackle grand challenges in the field (e.g., chemicals management, mercury pollution, electronic waste). Professor Basu's research activities are situated at the interface of science and policy with notable involvements with the UN Minamata Convention, Canada's Chemicals Management Plan, and the Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health. His team's work has been supported by more than $40M in research funding, resulted in >200 peer-reviewed papers, and afforded training opportunities to over 100 students including 18 postdoctoral fellows and 12 PhD students.


Professor Stuart Batterman

Stuart Batterman is a Professor of Environmental Health Sciences and Global Public Health at the UM School of Public Health, and Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering in the College of Engineering. He has been at UM since 1989 after work and study in Texas, Boston, New Jersey and overseas. At UM, he directs the Center for Occupational Health and Safety Engineering, the Exposure Assessment Core of the Michigan Center on Life stage Exposures and Disease, the Environmental Toxicology and Epidemiology Program, and

the Michigan-Ohio Occupational Research and Education Program. His teaching addresses environmental impact assessment, human exposure and health risk assessment, and environmental management, and his research focuses on outdoor and indoor air pollutants, exposure assessment, environmental epidemiology, effects of pollution on vulnerable and sensitive populations, and occupational and environmental exposures. He is the public health representative on Michigan's Statewide Drinking Water Advisory Council.

Currently, he is on sabbatical learning about remote sensing applications at the International Atlantic International Research (AIR) Centre in Lisbon and the Azores, Portugal.

Dr Francis Chisaka Kasolo is the current World Organization Representative for Ghana. He is an infectious disease physician/public health expert with specialization in clinical virology. He has worked with WHO in various capacities for the past 18 years. Prior to his appointment, Dr Kasolo was the Director in the office of the WHO Regional Director for Africa, responsible for advising the Regional Director on policy and strategic issues pertaining to the work of WHO. Dr Kasolo also previously served as Director for Ebola Preparedness with the United Nations Mission on Emergency Ebola Response (UNMEER) in Accra, Ghana in 2014 and Director for Disease Prevention and Control at the WHO Regional Office for Africa from 2011 to 2014. He has had over 30 years of experience in public health and program management at both national and international level having worked in areas such as immunization, HIV/AIDs, emergencies and outbreaks and clinical virology. He has committed much of his professional life to addressing the health challenges faced by mothers and children in Africa and has authored over 60 publications in peer reviewed journals. Dr Kasolo holds the following qualifications: MBChB Medicine/Surgery from the University of Zambia, Master’s Degree-Public Health and, PhD Clinical Virology from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and a Diploma in Tropical Medicine from the Royal College of Physician-England. He is also a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians- Edinburgh and Fellow College of Physicians for East, Central and Southern Africa.

Marie-Noël Bruné Drisse works at the WHO Department of Environment, Climate Change and Health, in Geneva, Switzerland. A biologist by training, with field experience on assisted reproduction and training programmes, she joined the WHO to work on children ' s environmental health and reproductive environmental health issues. She has a master’s in science with Commendations and Honors in Reproduction and Fertility from the University of Aberdeen.

She has co-authored the book and CD "Introduction to Gynecological Endoscopic Surgery", that obtained the National Award of the Medicine Academy for publications in Uruguay in 2001. She worked as an embryologist at Montevideo's Sterility Clinic, trained on the in vitro fertilization laboratory of the Institut Dexeus in Barcelona and has postgraduate studies in public health and epidemiology. She is currently the focal point for children's environmental health at WHO, working on publications and public health initiatives related to training, research and interventions on protecting the health of children and vulnerable populations from environmental exposures.

 She has worked on a variety of topics, including endocrine disruptors, longitudinal cohort studies on children's environmental health, and early environmental origins of disease, among others. She has led many of WHO publications, including “Inheriting a Sustainable World?: Atlas on child health and the environment”, “Don't pollute my future: An estimate of the burden of disease on child health and the environment”, “Air pollution and child health: prescribing clean air” and `Children in Digital dumpsites: e-waste exposure and child health. She is currently working on several projects, such as to protecting children from e-waste exposures, training for health professionals on children's environmental health and protecting children's rights from environmental risks.

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