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Opening remark for International Child Health Forum

Dean Wei J. Chen, MD, ScD
November 22, 2013
Venue: Room 101, National Taiwan University College of Public Health

Dear Co-organizer Vice Chair Tiffany Huang, special guest Deputy Director-General Li-Hui Yu, Our Keynote speakers, Dr. Mark Wahlqvist, Dr. Tommaso Cavalli-Sforza, Dr. Chien-Jen Chen, and Dr. Kyi Minn, and many distinguished moderators and speakers, ladies and gentlemen:

Welcome to this very unique International Child Health Forum!

Last year, my college signed a MOU with World Vision Taiwan to provide chance for students to participate in international humanitarian affairs to promote human health. The reason that we had the chance to work with World Vision Taiwan is an inspiring story itself. One key person of this story is Ms. Jodie Peng. Ms. Peng herself chose to do her internship at South India Tibetan settlement when she was an undergraduate student of the Department of Public Health in my college in 2006. At that time, I was the Chair of the Department. Through this internship, it must have opened her vision in international humanitarian affairs. The reason I knew it is because I asked her to write an article for a book that I served as editor called “My Vision, My Actions, My Inspirations: Taiwan Renewed Vitality Worldwide”, with a subtitle “Touching Stories of International Health from Taiwan”. The book was published by the Department of Health of Executive Yuan in 2007. Ms. Peng applied to Tulane University at New Orleans for a Master Degree program and then came back to Taiwan to join the World Vision Taiwan. The moral of her story is that education and chance to be exposed to international humanitarian affairs are very important to open young people’s mind to do good things for the society. 

Today, the World Vision Taiwan and my college choose to host this forum on child health, with a focus on maternal and child nutrition. As Taiwan is experiencing extremely low fertility rate and several episodes of food insecurity, including the ongoing event of olive oil adulteration, it is critical that the society can construct a comprehensive nutrition program that covers the whole life cycle, that is, from pregnant mothers to new born babies, to children and adolescents. 

Today we have researchers from the academics, experienced consultants from international NGOs, and local practitioners in nutritional field. I expect that all participants will share and discuss the most up-to-date challenges in this maternal and child nutrition field. Hope you enjoy much during the forum.