Dr. O. Trush, from Ukraine, a member of "A CONSTELLATION OF PUBLIC HEALTH GROUPS WORKING AT HOME AND ABROAD HAS PUT ATLANTA AT THE CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE"
By M. A. J. McKenna
Reprinted from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution / Wednesday, June 5, 2002, Page E1-E2.
At Emory University one recent warm morning, Ukrainian doctor Olena Trush was working on a formula to fortify flour. In Decatur, the Task Force for Child Survival and Development was organizing drug shipments to victims of river blindness in Africa.
|Olena Trush came to Atlanta from Ukraine to plan a campaign to attack that country's high rate of birth defects. "I could see that the problem was something wrong with our nutrition," she said.|
Trush, a 38-year-old pediatrician from Lviv in western Ukraine, came to
Rollins as an Edmund Muskie Fellow, planning a joint campaign with the CDC that will attack Ukraine's high rate of birth defects.
"In the clinic where I worked, I was always treating birth defects," she said. "I could see that the problem was something wrong with our nutrition: The diet in the whole Ukraine is deficient. We needed something that would work earlier than the drugs and medicines we were applying to the problem."
A widow with two teenage sons, Trush has lived in Atlanta for two years while she designed a pilot project to enrich the flour made in two Ukrainian mills with iron and folic acid. She estimates it will prevent 500 cases of spina bifida each year. If the program proves successful, she will apply for U.S. foreign-aid funding to expand it.
"I am eager to go back now," she said. "In the Ukraine, no one talks about public health. Working with the CDC has given me a vision of how powerful the system of public health can be." ...
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