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GEHS Seminar: “Front line Rural Public Health Challenges : Vaccination Coverage of Populations Living in Suriname's Amazonian Rain Forest”

Downtown Campus
Room 2414

Featuring Dr. Edward Van Eer, Director Emeritus of the Medical Mission Suriname

Dr. Edward Van Eer Photo

Edward van Eer, MD, MPH received his medical degree from the Anton de Kom University of Suriname. Even before he graduated as a physician, his career interests involved public health and research. He serves as the Public Health lecturer at the School of Nursing of the Academic Hospital Paramaribo and at the Faculty of Medical Sciences of the Anton de Kom University of Suriname. Based on his interests in public health and health disparities, he deliberately joined the Medical Mission as a medical doctor in Suriname’s Amazonian rainforest. The Medical Mission is the only institute that provides healthcare to people living in the far remote interior of Suriname; the Tribal and Indigenous Peoples. Doctor van Eer became the first director of this primary health care system. To further his knowledge and skills in public health he pursued a Master’s in Public Health at the John Hopkins School of Public Health, Baltimore, USA (2008), with a special interest in Health Systems. Dr. van Eer has decades of experience, both as frontline healthcare provider as well as a public health professional working in health disparate communities. Under his leadership, many health programs (such as MCH programs, malaria programs and vaccination programs) have been culturally tailored and implemented in Suriname’s interior. Currently, Dr. van Eer is conducting research on the medical history of the interior of Suriname.

He was the coordinator of the National AIDS Program in that country for several years. During his Masters in Public Health he was introduced to environmental health. His interest in this particular field of public health motivated him to pursue a PhD in environmental health sciences at Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine (SPHTM), which he successfully completed. His research interests entail the chronic exposure to pesticides through consumption of produce cultivated in Suriname. The focus of his research is the association of this exposure with adverse health effects in the Surinamese population, especially pregnant women and children. His future research goals include examining the association of exposure to household pesticides and adverse health effects in the aforementioned vulnerable groups. Dr. Abdoel Wahid is currently a member of the Caribbean Consortium for Research in Environmental and Occupational Health designed to address high-priority environmental and occupational health risks in Suriname. In that regard he is also involved in designing a roadmap for climate change and health for the Caribbean region. Dr. Abdoel Wahid is committed to strengthening the public health workforce in his country of descent and is currently the local coordinator of the MSPH program 2017-2019, a collaboration between Tulane University SPHTM and ADEKUS. He also works at the department of planning of the Ministry of Health in Suriname as a research and development policy advisor.

During his study in medicine at the Anton de Kom University of Suriname, E. van Eer his interest in Public health was already aroused as a student-assistant of the famous Professor Dr. Edwin van der Kuyp. Under his inspiration the first publications as a co-author appear in 1985 namely "Weights and Heights in Surinam Red Cross male candidate blood donors" and "Hemoglobin contents in Surinam Red Cross male candidate blood donors", both published in the Surinam Medical Bulletin. In this period E. van Eer was also active as a teacher in Public Health in the nursing school of the Academic Hospital in Paramaribo, in the "Central Training Institute for Nurses and Related Professions" (COVAB), Paramaribo and as a part time lecturer Hygiene at the Anton de Kom University of Suriname.

This interest also determine his choice to develop further as a medical doctor within the Medical Mission, where there are numerous possibilities to get into Public Health such as the malaria control. Since 2002 E. van Eer works as the General Director of this organization, which practices the integrated Primary Health Care model in its full extent in the Interior of Suriname. During this period, E. van Eer accomplished the MPH degree at the John Hopkins School of Public Health, Baltimore, USA (2008), with special interest in Health Systems. Currently, E. van Eer is active in studying the Medical History of mainly the Interior of Suriname.

Environmental Health Sciences