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Olympian Billy Mills and UA’s Dr. John N. Galgiani Named Keynote Speakers for Association of American Indian Physicians Conference

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

John N. Galgiani, MD, director of the UA Valley Fever Center for Excellence, has been named a keynote speaker of the Association of American Indian Physicians (AAIP) 47th Annual Meeting and Health Conference to be held in Scottsdale, July 26-29.

Dr. Galgiani, who also is director of the Banner – University Medicine Valley Fever Program and professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases at the UA College of Medicine in Tucson and Phoenix, will provide the keynote address along with Olympic Gold Medalist Billy Mills, a member of the Oglala Lakota, one of seven subtribes in the Great Sioux Nation.

Mills won the 10,000-meter race at the 1964 Olympics and now dedicates his life to visiting American Indian communities throughout the United States and speaking to youth about healthful lifestyles and taking pride in their heritage. In 2014, he started Dreamstarter™, a community-based mentorship grant program that works to create stronger communities, overcome poverty and build better futures for Native American youth.

Mills also is a Valley fever survivor. He contracted the disease in the early 1970s while competing in the U.S. Southwest, according to a 2004 article posted on ESPN’s website. “Although usually not serious, the disease … forced Mills to all but give up running because of excruciating pain” in his joints at the time, the article notes.

“Some Native American tribes have lived with Valley fever for thousands of years. An interesting question is whether they are more resistant to infection. This is one of the topics I will address in my presentation,” Dr. Galgiani said.

He will present “Valley Fever (Coccidioidomycosis): In Arizona and Beyond” on July 26.

This year’s AAIP conference theme is “Interweaving Strands of Our Past, Present & Future in Medicine.” For more than 40 years, the conference has been held to discuss the pressing health concerns of American Indians and Alaska Native populations and to honor native traditions.

About the Association of American Indian Physicians

Founded in 1971, the Association of American Indian Physicians provides educational programs, health initiatives, capacity building assistance and services to American Indian and Alaska Native communities and students. The association is a resource for Native-serving physicians, tribal and other health-care providers, public health leaders, public policy makers, community developers, researchers and students. Learn more at aaip.org

About the UA Valley Fever Center for Excellence

In 1996, the Arizona Board of Regents established the University of Arizona Valley Fever Center of Excellence to address problems created by the fungus, Coccidioides—the cause of Valley fever or coccidioidomycosis (cocci)—which is native to soils of the U.S. Southwest. Some infections are mild, others so severe that cocci spread past the lungs and can be life threatening. The disease also affects animals, including pets and livestock. The Valley fever center works to spread public awareness and education about the respiratory illness, promote high-quality care for the disease and pursues research to improve treatment therapies and develop a vaccine. To learn more, please visit vfce.arizona.edu

About the University of Arizona Health Sciences

The University of Arizona Health Sciences is the statewide leader in biomedical research and health professions training. The UA Health Sciences includes the UA Colleges of Medicine (Phoenix and Tucson), Nursing, Pharmacy and Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, with main campus locations in Tucson and the growing Phoenix Biomedical Campus in downtown Phoenix. From these vantage points, the UA Health Sciences reaches across the state of Arizona and the greater Southwest to provide cutting-edge health education, research, patient care and community outreach services. A major economic engine, the UA Health Sciences employs approximately 4,000 people, has approximately 800 faculty members and garners more than $140 million in research grants and contracts annually. For more information: uahs.arizona.edu (Follow us: Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | LinkedIn | Instagram)

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