The symposium was held May 11 ahead of SMU’s commencement exercises on May 14, where Dr. Parham will receive an honorary degree for his innovative work to combat women’s cancers.
Dr. Groesbeck Parham, a professor of gynecologic oncology at UNC OBGYN based in Zambia, presented at a symposium May 11 held in his honor at the George W. Bush Presidential Center on the campus of Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas, Texas.
Dr. Parham, who will also receive the degree of Doctor of Science, honoris causa, at SMU’s commencement exercises May 14 for his extraordinary global efforts to improve the health of underserved women, was joined at the symposium – “Creating Impact in Women’s Global Health” – by fellow featured speakers President George W. Bush; Celina Schocken, CEO of Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon; and Cheryl Jereczek, VP of Development at World Vision. Discussions centered around the partnership between UNC, the Bush Institute, Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon and World Vision to expand access to cervical and breast cancer screening and treatment in Zambia.
Dr. Parham founded the Cervical Cancer Prevention Program in Zambia, where he has lived and worked since. He developed an innovative system for cervical cancer screening using simple household vinegar and a digital camera. This program has served more than 350,000 Zambian women and has been adopted by health care providers from South Africa to China.
His innovative work in combating women’s cancers has been supported by Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon, a public-private partnership to prevent cervical and breast cancer in Africa and Latin America, co-founded by the Bush Institute. President Bush has supported Dr. Parham’s work in Africa by leveraging PEPFAR for programmatic funds for cervical cancer screening of HIV-infected women, and by working together with him in Zambia to refurnish several public health clinics so they could be used for cervical and breast cancer screening. SMU faculty and students have participated in numerous global health research, training and service activities in Zambia related to Dr. Parham’s work.
His many honors include awards from the Society of Gynecologic Oncology and the United Nations.
During the week leading up to commencement, Dr. Parham was the keynote speaker and participant at several panels and workshops on the SMU campus, organized by the SMU Center for Global Health Impact. Dr. Parham is also collaborating with investigators at SMU’s Bobby B. Lyle School of Engineering, Cox Carruth School of Social Entrepreneurship and Center for Global Health Impact to develop innovative approaches to cervical and breast cancer screening, surgical training and program sustainability.