World Chagas Day is celebrated on April 14th among the worldwide community. Dr. Norman Beatty will be hosting an exciting livestreaming event at the University of Florida Digital Worlds Institute to promote awareness of this neglected tropical disease here in Florida and beyond. Drs. Welson Trumera and Randy Lee from the College of Arts will be performing throughout the evening, bringing music and medicine together for a cultural event. We will have several special guests that evening, including Dr. Colin Forsyth, (pictured) from the non-profit organization, Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative (DNDi). Dr. Forsyth is a Chagas disease expert who will be joining Dr. Beatty live during the event to share his experiences with Chagas and promote awareness. Dr. Forsyth has been at the forefront of Chagas disease research and advocacy here in the United states and throughout Latin America.
Dr. Beatty recently interviewed Dr. Forsyth in anticipation for this monumental day.
Colin, why do you think Chagas disease is such an overlooked illness in the United States?
“Some of it has to do with the silent nature of the disease, but the primary reason is that the disease predominantly affects people and communities who are socially vulnerable, and who often lack the political voice to advocate for better access to healthcare and improved detection and treatment of neglected diseases such as Chagas.”
What has driven you to bringing awareness of this disease to our community?
“My wife is from Bolivia, where Chagas disease has a high prevalence, and our family has experienced personal tragedy from the disease: we lost my brother-in-law, who was only 44 at the time. So, I know how important it is for people to identify the disease at an early stage so that they can obtain the care they need in time.”
How can we improve screening practices for those at-risk for Chagas disease in Florida and the rest of the country?
“The first thing we have to work on is raising awareness, both among the communities most affected by the disease, and among healthcare providers, that Chagas disease is an important public health concern here in Florida and elsewhere. We need to help providers identify the risk factors so they can offer testing, while also making it easy for people to find out where they can get tested and, if necessary, treated.”
Please join us on April 14th at 7pm EST (23:00 UCT) to celebrate World Chagas Day!
Follow the link below:
World Chagas Disease Day Concert (English)