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Teaching Risk Assessment in Cairo, Egypt

by Abdel Kadry, John Vandenberg, and Ila Cote

My colleagues and I were delighted to respond to an invitation from Professor Dr. Osama El-Tawil, the Chairman of Toxicology & Forensic Medicine Department, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Cairo University, to provide an international training course on risk assessment. We arrived in Cairo on May 16, 2012.

Over the next three days, we offered comprehensive training on current, state-of-the-art risk assessment practices as used and implemented by EPA and various international organizations. The course is titled “Risk Assessment as a Critical Tool for Everyday Challenges.”

More than 300 men and women from throughout the Middle East attended the training. The course offered hands on training in the primary areas of risk assessment (i.e., hazard identification, dose-response assessment, exposure assessment, risk characterization). Additionally, we covered risk communication, because outreach to the public and other stakeholders is essential to the successful implementation of risk assessment.

Throughout the course, there were discussions of real environmental and public health problems experienced in the country. Students had the opportunity to apply skills learned in class to these problems in several small breakout sessions. In addition to learning about risk assessment, the participants formed new friendships and extended their professional networks.

The course also attracted a large number of newspapers and TV stations. This training represents a culmination of knowledge sharing among science experts in the field of risk assessment. (For more information about the course go to: EPA Risk Assessment Class at Cairo University.)

It was such great opportunity to meet the leadership team of Cairo University, especially: Professor Dr. Prof Hossam Kamel, President of Cairo University; Professor Dr. Azz Eldin Abostat, Vice President of Students Affairs, Cairo University and Professor of Agriculture Science; Professor Dr. Gamal El-Din Essmat, Vice President for higher studies, Cairo University; Professor Dr. Heba Nassar, Vice President for Environmental and Society Services, Cairo University; and Professor Dr. Fathy Farouk, the Dean of  the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Cairo University.

On Sunday, we were invited by the Dean of the Veterinary School to tour Cairo University (home to 250,000 students), meet the faculty and discuss their research. We visited the famous library of Cairo University, the veterinary clinic, microbiology laboratories, and the latest incineration facility in Cairo University, which is charged with sanitary disposal of infectious biologic materials.

About the Authors:  John Vandenberg, Division Director; Ila Cote, Senior Science Advisor; and Abdel Kadry, Senior Advisor for Scientific Organizational Development and International Activities in EPA’s National Center for Environmental Assessment.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action.

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Sharing EPA Knowledge 7,000 Miles Away

By Abdel Kadry and Ila Cote

With an invitation from the U.S. embassy in Riyadh, two of my colleagues and I traveled to Saudi Arabia last month to provide risk assessment training to Saudi and other scientists in Riyadh and to participate in a scientific dialogue with Saudi government officials and others on the Global Methane Initiative.

Dr. John Vandenberg

For three days, we represented the United States in the Saudi International Environmental Technology Conference 2012, which was organized under the patronage of King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz, the King of the Saudi Arabia. The conference was at King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST), an independent scientific organization that encompasses both the Saudi Arabian National Science Agency and its National Laboratories.

KACST plays a pivotal role in the development of the National Science, Technology and Innovation policy and leads 62 government agencies and over 190 national programs and related projects for the development of the Kingdom’s strategic technologies. KACST also funds more than 400 independent research projects annually and acts as the Kingdom’s patent office.

The conference we attended hosted a large gathering of researchers, investors, decision makers and those interested in developing environmental technology. One goal was to facilitate achieving the priorities of the Saudi National Strategy for Environmental Technology.

The conference was organized around three main tracks:

  1. Air pollution and air quality.
  2. Waste & soil contamination & remediation.
  3. Climate change impacts and solutions.

My colleague, John Vandenberg, provided the plenary talk, and our team of three EPA scientists offered risk assessment training for the entire third day of the three day conference. Our training focused on the principles and application of risk assessment.

Dr. Ila Coate

We structured the training to include lectures combined with case studies, with a lot of time allotted to discussing the case studies.

We had excellent attendance and the participants were very engaged in the course material.  We also had the pleasure of meeting Saudi officials such as His Highness Dr. Turki AL Saud, the KACST vice president, who expressed considerable appreciation for the important international role that EPA plays in protecting human health and the environment. The team was also very proud that Dr. Ila Cote, who, as the only female speaker in the conference, provided much inspiration for the Saudi female scientists.

About the Authors:

Abdel Kadry is the Senior Advisor for Scientific Organizational Development and International Activities in EPA’s National Center for Environmental Assessment (NCEA).  Abdel has organized a series of international risk assessment training activities for NCEA, with a focus on developing countries.  Ila Cote, Senior Science Advisor in NCEA, and John Vandenberg, Director of the Research Triangle Park Division of NCEA, accompanied Abdel to Saudi Arabia to provide risk assessment training last month.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.