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World Leaders in HIV/AIDS to Convene in Vancouver During 2010 Olympic Games

February 23, 2010 - VANCOUVER, BC - LifeSciences British Columbia, the BC Centre of Excellence in HIV/AIDS, and the University of British Columbia (UBC) will host a global summit on HIV/AIDS on Feb. 26th, 2010, against the backdrop of the 2010 Olympic Games. Endorsed by the International AIDS Society, the event entitled "The Impact of Science & Innovation in the Evolving Global Health Paradigm: HIV and AIDS - A Challenge of Olympic Proportion" will bring together world leaders in HIV research, health, innovation and policy to share new and compelling perspectives on the challenges we face under a shifting global health paradigm. We are pleased to welcome the following speakers:

  • Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS and Under Secretary-General of the United Nations

  • Dr. Daria Hazuda, Vice President, Worldwide Discovery Franchise Head, Infectious Diseases, Merck Research Laboratories

  • Dr. Stefano Bertozzi, HIV Director-Global Health Program, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

  • Dr. Nora Volkow, Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health

  • Dr. Mark Dybul, Co-Director of the O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law, Georgetown University

  • Tommy Sithole, Director of International Cooperation & Development, International Olympic Committee

  • Patrick Schamasch, Director of Medical and Scientific Department, International Olympic Committee

  • Dr. Julio Montaner, President of the International AIDS Society, Director of the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS.
  • We will be joined by The Honourable Kevin Falcon, Minister of Health Services, The Honourable Moira Stilwell, Minister of Advanced Education and Labour Market Development, and The Honourable Ida Chong, Minister of Healthy Living and Sport for the Province of British Columbia.

    Dr. Julio Montaner, Director of the BC Centre of Excellence in HIV/AIDS, remarked: "The 2010 Olympic Games provide an exceptional platform to highlight the importance of collaborative efforts and the great strides possible in the arena of global health, when nations participate together to halt the progression of HIV and AIDS. HIV is a truly global health challenge, and effective implementation and adoption of science, innovation and policy is required to overcome it."

    "UBC researchers make key contributions in the life sciences and global health arenas, and we are honored to host this important event," added Dr. John Hepburn, Vice President Research & International at UBC. "Though continued dialogue and collaboration among academia, industry, government and community-based organizations, we are increasingly able to advance solutions to the global health challenges of HIV/AIDS."

    Karimah Es Sabar, President of LifeSciences British Columbia commented: "The broader objective of this unprecedented event is to share perspectives on the effective translation of research and adoption of innovation. British Columbia has truly shown itself to be a world leader in doing this - in not only HIV/AIDS, but across our world-class research platforms. This is a chance to show the world the magnitude of the work being done here in BC."

    Like the challenges faced by Olympic athletes, the challenges of global health are real and daunting. Success is dependent on our ability to come together, learn from one another, collaborate and move towards a common goal. The government of BC, under the leadership of Premier Gordon Campbell and Health Services Minister Kevin Falcon, has picked up the torch through its recently announced $48-million pilot project to seek out and treat marginalized people such as injection drug users, sex trade workers and the mentally ill with Highly Active Anti-retroviral Therapy (HAART). This is a perfect example of the kind of collaborative work being done in BC that will be shared among the global scientific community with the goal of defeating HIV/AIDS.

    "The Impact of Science & Innovation in the Evolving Global Health Paradigm: HIV and AIDS - A Challenge of Olympic Proportion" will be held from 8:00am - 4:00pm at the Life Sciences Centre, 2350 Health Sciences Mall, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC. It will be followed by a Gala Reception from 5:00pm - 8:00pm at the Terminal City Club, 837 Hastings Street, Vancouver, BC.

    For additional information or to register for this event, please visit www.lifesciencesbc.ca

    We would like to thank the following Supporting Partners on this event: MERCK, Rx&D - Canada's Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies, the BC Innovation Council, and the National Research Council - Industrial Research Assistance Program.

    - 30 -

    For additional information such as speaker bios, or for requests on attending the event or specific presentations, media are asked to contact:

    Ian Noble

    Karyo Edelman (on behalf of the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS)

    604-623-3007

    Ian.noble@karyo-edelman.com


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