An interdisciplinary conference sponsored by King's College and convened by Ashley Moffett (Professor of Reproductive Immunology) and Megan Vaughan (Professor of Commonwealth History) with the support of the Centre for African Studies, Department of Pathology and the Centre for Trophoblast Research, all at the University of Cambridge.
Monday 2 - Tuesday 3 July 2012
Location: CRASSH, Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road, Cambridge
Millennium Development Goal 5 (MDG5) aims to improve maternal health. Unlike other MDGs, few countries are on track to achieve even the first goal of MDG 5, namely, to reduce maternal mortality by 75%. Sub-Saharan Africa suffers from the highest regional maternal mortality rate (MMR) at 640 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births and the annual decline has only been 0.1%. In stark contrast, average MMR in developed countries is 14.
The focus for discussion and action to reduce maternal mortality rates is of necessity largely restricted to the fields of medicine and public health. At the same time, however, there is a spectrum of challenging biological, social and cultural issues that constitute the context within which maternal mortality occurs. In our workshop we plan to break new ground by bringing together those with expertise in current initiatives to reduce MMR with leading researchers in genetics, immunology, obstetric epidemiology, and social and biological anthropology.
The aim of the conference is to provide a forum within which people with very different expertise and experience can explore the latest research findings and see how these could influence understanding and ideas for action to reduce maternal mortality in Africa.
The following two areas, taken together, will form the focus of the conference:
- Biological mechanisms determining birth outcomes
- The social and historical context for maternal mortality in Africa
We see this as a unique opportunity to bring together those with experience of implementing initiatives aimed at reducing MMR with researchers from different but highly relevant academic disciplines. Our focus on this important issue will enable us to bring together the latest research in fields that all too often do not ‘talk’ to each other. An additional question to be posed in the course of this conversation concerns the very nature of interdisciplinary enquiry. Do we have a language with which to talk meaningfully of the interactions between biology and history? To what extent can basic scientific research inform policy-making?
The conference will be opened by Sir Leszek Borysiewicz (Vice-Chancellor, Cambridge) and participants include:
Caroline Bledsoe (Social Anthropology, Northwestern)
Vincent De Brouwere (Comparative Epidemiology, Antwerp)
Rachel Chapman (Social Anthropology, Washington)
Wendy Graham (Obstetric Epidemiology, Aberdeen/ DfID)
Grace Kyomuhendo (Social Anthropology, Makerere)
Melissa Lane (Politics, Princeton)
Jean Michel Massing (History of Art, Cambridge)
Tessa Mattholie (DfID)
Godfrey Mbaruku (African Health, Tanzania)
Henrietta Moore (Social Anthropology, Cambridge)
Annettee Nakimuli (Obstetrics, Makerere)
Karen Rosenberg (Biological Anthropology, Delaware)
Philip Steer (Obstetrics)
Claire Wendland (Medical Anthropology, Wisconsin)
For more information and online registration please click here. Do let me know if you would like any further information.
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Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH)
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