194422 Roma of Dallas and Pata Rat: Using experiential learning programs to address environmental health disparities for the Roma population in Cluj Napoca, Romania

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Catherine Zeman, PhD , Health Division, University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, IA
Ioan Bocsan, MD, PhD , Infectious Diseases/ Epidemiology, Iuliu Haigatian University of Medicine and Pharmacy and Iuliu Moldovan Institute of Public Health, Cluj Napoca, Romania
Jennifer Hall, MA , Health Division, University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, IA
The Roma of Romania are descendents of ancient, Eastern Indian nomadic clans. These peoples have travelled the world and are dispersed throughout the globe although they are joined by a common ancestry. Their greatest concentrations are throughout the Balkans, particularly Romania. Known as Gypsy peoples to most of the Western world (a term that they would prefer not to be called) these Nomadic people have a fascinating past wrought with struggle and conflict. This has contributed to their outsider status and has left them with many serious challenges from an environmental public health perspective. This is particularly true in regard to water quality issues and health. This presentation will share the story of the people of Dallas; an isolated community of Roma living and working off the “Pata Rat” landfill outside of Cluj Napoca, Romania. The concerns of the community from an environmental health disparities perspective will be discussed with special emphasis on water quality and health challenges, as will a unique educational, research, and outreach program being conducted in partnership with the regional Romanian Institutes of Public Health which seeks to address the environmental health needs of the Dallas community through outreach programs conducted by Romanian and American medical, public health, and education students. This project which has been conducted since, 2005 its outreach and experiential learning activities will be detailed as will challenges to providing services and conducting research in the Roma communities.

Learning Objectives:
1. Familiarize the audience with the Roma peoples. 2. Discuss environmental health disparities with emphasis on the Roma of Dallas and the water based, related, and borne health challenges they face. 3. Describe a unique educational, research, and outreach partnership designed to educate future health workers and to provide health education to the Roma of Dallas. 4. Provide illustrative examples of experiential learning and outreach activities.

Keywords: International Health, Environmental Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the professor who works directly on this project and originated the collaboration that led to this outreach project.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.