Jaff selected for honorary Rotary membership to acknowledge contributions to global health

August 25, 2015

Dilshad Jaff, MD, MPH, 2015 alumnus of the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, has been inducted as an honorary member of the Cary-Kildaire Rotary Club. Jaff now serves as adviser on conflict prevention and disaster preparedness in the Gillings Global Gateway™ at the Gillings School.

The Cary club has had a longstanding relationship with Jaff and his family.

Dr. Dilshad Jaff

Dr. Dilshad Jaff

A physician who treated patients during the 2003 U.S. war in Iraq, Jaff was discouraged to see how health-care workers were placed in danger in conflict zones because of insufficient communication and infrastructure. To become better educated, he sought and was selected for the Rotary Peace Fellowship at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand, where he studied conflict management and peace.

In 2013, with additional Rotary Club support, he became a fellow at the Duke-UNC Rotary Peace Center and enrolled at the Gillings School to focus upon women’s and children’s health. The specialization was important, he said, since violence now so often catches civilians in the crossfire.

That year, he also was named a Paul Harris Fellow by Rotary International, in appreciation of “tangible and significant assistance given for the furtherance of better understanding and friendly relations between peoples of the world.” His goal, he says, is to unite the objectives of public health and conflict resolution through education.

Scott Rossi, who has served in many leadership positions in the Cary-Kildaire Rotary Club, including as president and international service chair, said he was introduced to Jaff in spring 2004 through an email from Maj. James McCann, a physician’s assistant stationed in Iraq with the N.C. National Guard.

“Maj. McCann expressed a need,” Rossi said, “and our Rotary members stepped up to the challenge. We were able to send more than 2,200 pounds of medical supplies and equipment for use in the rural clinics led by Dr. Jaff. We came to admire this courageous man for the great work he was doing, and we wanted to continue to support him. This honorary membership is a way of saying that we appreciate his contributions and want to maintain our connection with him.”

“I don’t know how to put into words how grateful I am to the Cary-Kildaire Rotary Club,” Jaff said. “They have allowed me many important opportunities, and their support is the foundation of much of what I’ve been able to achieve. I’m honored to maintain my relationship with the N.C. Rotarians.”

When he learned of Jaff’s most recent Rotary honor, Jim Herrington, PhD, executive director of the Gillings Global Gateway™ and Professor of the Practice of health behavior at the Gillings School, described how much he values Jaff’s advice about conflict prevention and disaster preparedness in conflict zones.

“Dr. Jaff has unique expertise and insight into complex emergency settings from his time providing curative and preventive health care services in Iraq during the war,” Herrington said. “We are delighted that, on behalf of the Gillings Global Gateway™, he is organizing a “Learning Symposium on Conflict Prevention and Disaster Preparedness,” scheduled for Oct. 6 at the School, which will introduce students and faculty members to the public health challenges and the need for research, teaching and service in complex emergency settings.”

Herrington said everyone at the Gillings School enjoys their interactions with Jaff because of his gentle spirit and wealth of knowledge.

“We are so fortunate to have him with us during the coming year,” Herrington said.

Read more about Jaff’s life and work in Carolina Public Health magazine.

Gillings School of Global Public Health contact: David Pesci, director of communications, (919) 962-2600 or dpesci@unc.edu

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