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National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences

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Suk Mentors Students and Makes Connections in Thailand through Fulbright Award

By Sara Amolegbe

Group photo of students and faculty at CRI

Suk, front center, with students and faculty at CRI after presenting a seminar on environmental pollution, noncommunicable diseases, and their effect on children’s health.
(Photo courtesy of Bill Suk)

NIEHS Hazardous Substances Branch Chief Bill Suk, Ph.D., took his expertise and enthusiasm for children’s environmental health (CEH) to Thailand, where he spent six months building capacity in South and Southeast Asia. Suk received a Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program award to serve as a lecturer in international and public health in collaboration with Mahidol University and Chulabhorn Research Institute (CRI) in Bangkok.

During his six-month stay in Southeast Asia, Suk had an ambitious schedule of visits, talks, and conferences. He gave various presentations around Thailand, including at a liver and lung cancer symposium at CRI, at the International Conference on One Medicine One Science in Chang Mai, and to medical students at Khon Kaen University. He also traveled to South Korea where he presented at a UNICEF-sponsored CEH workshop in Seoul, interacted with several faculty and students at Seoul National University, and spoke at the Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology.

Building on Previous Partnerships

At NIEHS, Suk works with the network of World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centres for Children’s Environmental Health to share research findings and inform decision-makers about the importance of preventing children’s exposures, and to help reduce children’s health risks. Suk’s children’s health work in Thailand dates back to 2002, when he helped organize the first international conference on CEH at CRI.

Through his Fulbright, he helped organize the Asia-Pacific Regional Meeting on Children’s Environmental Health (CEH) held in Bangkok on May 27 – 28. Participants discussed ongoing research and CEH issues in the Asia-Pacific region. The meeting also included country profiles, where participants from 13 different countries in the region discussed environmental health or environmental risk factors related to CEH.

Group photo of students and faculty at CRI

“I visited many faculty, students, and health professionals, including physicians and nurses in the field, as I traveled around Thailand,” said Suk. “It was all a rewarding and wonderful experience.” Here, Suk poses with medical students and faculty at Khon Kaen University in Thailand.
(Photo courtesy of Bill Suk)

“This was an outstanding workshop that will be part of long-range planning for CEH in the region, including Thailand,” said Suk. “It brought together over 50 experts in the field from various parts of the globe. Discussions from the regional meeting will help us plan the agenda for a large international CEH conference to be held in Bangkok in 2020.”