Press Release

Global Health Challenges for the 21st Century

August 22, 2017 – by Cole Hatcher

Anton Gunn

Ohio Wesleyan’s 2017-2018 Sagan National Colloquium Kicks Off Sept. 12 

DELAWARE, Ohio – Anton Gunn, a former state legislator and one of President Barack Obama’s top spokesmen for the Affordable Care Act, will kick off Ohio Wesleyan University’s 2017-2018 Sagan National Colloquium, a semester-long exploration of “Global Health Challenges for the 21st Century.” 

Gunn will speak at 7 p.m. Sept. 12 in the Benes Rooms of Hamilton-Williams Campus Center, 40 Rowland Ave., Delaware. 

Gunn served in the South Carolina House of Representatives from 2009 to 2011 and with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services from 2010 to 2014. At the Health Department, “Mr. Health Care” helped to share information about the Affordable Care Act and to develop strategy for building and maintaining relationships with health care providers, private-sector companies, business and labor groups, and other constituents. Learn more at

Ohio Wesleyan faculty member Randolph Quaye, a trained medical sociologist, is the director of this year’s Sagan National Colloquium, which annually explores an issue of national or international significance from multiple academic perspectives. 

“Is health care a fundamental right for all citizens, or is it a privilege for a few?” asks Quaye, an associate professor of black world studies. “Should market forces determine access to health care? What role, if any, can governments play in health care? What can the USA teach the world about how not to reform health care? What policy implications are envisaged in health systems driven by the public sector? What are the major global health challenges facing the world? Are we prepared for the next pandemic? 

“The Sagan National Colloquium will explore these varied topics through lectures, video presentations, and communitywide activities,” said Quaye, whose most recent book is “Balancing Public and Private Health Care Systems: The Sub-Saharan African Experience.” 

Additional presentations scheduled for the 2017-2018 Sagan National Colloquium are as follows. Unless otherwise noted, all events will be held in the Benes Rooms. For more information, including any schedule changes, visit 

  • 7 p.m. Sept. 18 – Heather Lane and Adam Howard, Delaware General Health District. Lane, an epidemiologist, is a veterinarian with a focus in veterinary public health. Howard, an environmental health program manager, focuses on protecting the water supply and reducing the potential for zoonotic disease transmission.
  • 7 p.m. Sept. 19 Mike Abrams, president and CEO of the Ohio Hospital Association. During his time with the OHA, Abrams has helped to develop a strategic plan focused on advocacy, economic sustainability, and patient safety and quality for Ohio hospitals.
  • 7 p.m. Sept. 21 – Daniel Derksen, the Walter H. Pearce Endowed Chair and Director of the Arizona Center for Rural Health (AzCRH), and professor and chair of the Community, Environmental, and Policy Department at The University of Arizona’s Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health. Derksen oversees AzCRH programs including the State Office of Rural Health, Rural Hospital Flexibility Program, and AzCRH Navigator Consortium. He works to improve insurance coverage and access to high-quality health care, emphasizing community-based, service-learning models in rural areas.
  • 7 p.m. Sept. 26 – Katherine von Stackelberg, research scientist at the Harvard Center for Global Health and the Environment, and an affiliate at the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis. She has nearly 30 years’ experience designing and implementing human health and ecological risk assessments to support sustainable environmental decision-making.
  • 7 p.m. Sept. 28 – Lise Van Susteren, practicing general and forensic psychiatrist, and clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown University. In 2011, Van Susteren co-authored “The Psychological Effects of Climate Warming on the U.S. – Why the U.S. Mental Health System Is Not Prepared.” She will speak in Room 301 of Merrick Hall, 65 S. Sandusky St., Delaware.
  • 7 p.m. Oct. 5 – Laxmi Mehta, director of the Women’s Cardiovascular Health Program and associate professor of internal medicine at The Ohio State University Medical Center. Mehta is the first female president/governor of the Ohio Chapter of the American College of Cardiology (ACC). She specializes in women’s cardiovascular health/prevention and cardiac imaging.
  • 7 p.m. Oct. 16 – David Williams, the Florence and Laura Norman Professor of Public Health at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and professor of African and African American studies and sociology at Harvard University. The author of more than 400 scientific papers, Williams’ research has enhanced our understanding of the complex ways in which socioeconomic status, race, stress, racism, health behavior, and religious involvement can affect health.
  • 7 p.m. Oct. 17 – Menen Hailu, writer, director, and producer for Young Voices, New Dreams. A sociology/anthropology and black world studies graduate from Ohio Wesleyan University, Hailu also holds a master’s degree in human rights from Columbia University, concentrating on child rights and women’s rights. She has taught human rights in combination with the creative arts to at-risk youth in New York. She will speak in the Phillips Hall auditorium, 50 S. Henry St., Delaware.
  • 7 p.m. Oct. 24 – Deborah McFarland, professor in the Department of Global Health and the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Rollins School of Public Health of Emory University. McFarland has been involved in health policy and health financing issues for 30 years with particular interest in the interface of disease-control programs and health systems, and the ethics and economics of resource allocation for public health priorities.
  • 7 p.m. Oct. 26 – Joseph White, Luxenberg Family Professor of Public Policy and director of the Center for Policy Studies at Case Western Reserve University. His work focuses on U.S. budget politics and policy; comparisons of health care policies across rich democracies, politics of U.S. health care “reform,” controlling health care costs, and politics and policy for Social Security and Medicare.
  • 7 p.m. Nov. 2 – Christopher Fink, associate professor of health and human kinetics at Ohio Wesleyan University. Fink focuses on the areas of health behavior and health promotion, food studies, and qualitative inquiry. He currently directs “Cooking Matters,” a cooking, food, and nutrition-education program focused on reducing food insecurity. The program is a collaboration with Columbus-based Local Matters, the United Way of Delaware County, the Delaware County Hunger Alliance, and Share Our Strength.
  • 7 p.m. Nov. 7 – Tasiana Njau, psychologist and faculty member at Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, and a clinician at Muhimbili National Hospital in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Njau is trained in mental health assessment, diagnosis and treatment, and has received additional and more focused trainings in life coaching, addiction, research, and teaching methodology.
  • 7 p.m. Nov. 9 – Cecilia Makafu, technical director of ICAP Global, Health, Action, under the management of Columbia University in Tanzania. A medical doctor, Makafu has worked for 10 years on tuberculosis/HIV projects, nutrition, child survival, and malaria.
  • 7 - Dec. 14 – Art Exhibit, “Together: Superheroes.” This exhibit features artists with developmental disabilities from Ohio-based Creative Foundations and examines how artists collaborate or conceptualize relationships in their work. The exhibit will be located in the front hallway gallery of the Richard M. Ross Museum, 60 S. Sandusky St., Delaware. During the academic year, the museum is open Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. The museum is handicap-accessible and admission is always free. Call (740) 368-3606 or visit for more information.

About the Sagan National Colloquium

Founded in 1984, the Sagan National Colloquium seeks annually to address in-depth an issue of national or global importance. The colloquium is funded by an endowment from 1948 OWU alumni Margaret (Pickett) Sagan and John Sagan, both deceased. Past colloquium speakers have included social activist Gloria Steinem, authors Barbara Ehrenreich and Kurt Vonnegut, Nobel Peace Prize winner Jody Williams, and former President Gerald Ford. Learn more at

About Ohio Wesleyan University

Founded in 1842, Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier liberal arts universities. Located in Delaware, Ohio, the private university offers nearly 90 undergraduate majors and competes in 23 NCAA Division III varsity sports. Through Ohio Wesleyan’s signature OWU Connection program, students integrate knowledge across disciplines, build a diverse and global perspective, and apply their knowledge in real-world settings. Ohio Wesleyan is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives,” listed on the latest President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction, and included in the U.S. News & World Report and Princeton Review “best colleges” lists. Learn more at