Conference: The U.S. and Mexico — Addressing a Shared Legacy of Neglected Tropical Diseases and Poverty

Conference: The U.S. and Mexico — Addressing a Shared Legacy of Neglected Tropical Diseases and Poverty

Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) are a group of parasitic, viral and bacterial infections that afflict mainly those living in extreme poverty. An estimated 1.6 million households in the U.S. and 5 million people in Mexico live in extreme poverty, less than $2 per person per day. NTDs tend to be chronic, debilitating infections that leave their victims malnourished, disabled and disfigured, often resulting in social stigma and a limited capacity to work or attend school. Despite the fact that NTDs impact public health and local economies in both the U.S. and Mexico, only a few initiatives are working to prevent these diseases. 

“The United States and Mexico: Addressing a Shared Legacy of Neglected Tropical Diseases and Poverty” brought together scientists and policy experts to discuss how NTDs are affecting both countries. The conference examined the social and political barriers to the control and prevention of NTDs and determined ways that the U.S. and Mexico can work together to address these diseases.

Dr. Mercedes Juan López, Mexico's minister of health, delivered an address during the morning session.

These events are organized by the Baker Institute's Center for Health and Biosciences and the Mexico Center; the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine; and the END Fund, in partnership with the Sabin Vaccine Institute and Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development. They are supported by a grant from the AbbVie Foundation and Burt and Deedee McMurtry.


To view the entire conference, please click below:

Welcome and Introductions

Tackling Disease and Poverty in Mexico

Panel 1


Disease and Poverty in Mexico/Resource Mobilization

Panel 2

Panel 3





8:00 am




9:00 am



Welcome Remarks and Introductions

Vivian Ho, Ph.D.
James A. Baker III Chair in Health Economics and Director, Center for Health and Biosciences,
Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy

Verónica Arroyave, Ph.D., MPH
Director of Corporate Responsibility and the AbbVie Foundation

Introduction to student outreach competition winners
Jennifer Nguyen and Emmy Sun
University of Western Ontario

9:15 am



Blue Marble Health

Peter Hotez, M.D., Ph.D.
Fellow in Disease and Poverty, Baker Institute 
Dean, National School of Tropical Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine 

10:00 am    

Tackling Disease and Poverty in Mexico

Mercedes Juan López, M.D. 
Secretary of Health, Mexico

11:00 am    

Panel I: NTDs in the Gulf Coast

Moderator: Peter Hotez, M.D., Ph.D.

Zoonotic and Viral Infections 
Kristy O. Murray, D.V.M., Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine

Parasitic Infections 
Rojelio Mejia, M.D.
Assistant Professor of Infectious Diseases and Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine


Luncheon Keynote: Addressing NTDs with Public Policy at the State Level

Sarah Davis, J.D.
Texas State Representative, District 134

1:00 pm    

Disease and Poverty in Mexico 

Roberto Tapia-Conyer, M.D., Ph.D., MPH
Director General, The Carlos Slim Foundation

1:45 pm    

Resource Mobilization 

Sarah Marchal Murray
Chief Operating Officer, the END Fund

2:30 pm    

Panel II: Social and Environmental Determinants of NTDs and Technologies for Treatment and Prevention

Moderator: Tony Payan, Ph.D., Françoise and Edward Djerejian Fellow for Mexico Studies and Director, Mexico Center, Baker Institute

Bruce Lee, M.D., MBA
Director of Operations Research, International Vaccine Access Center, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Sahotra Sarkar, Ph.D.
Professor, Philosophy and Integrative Biology, The University of Texas at Austin

Lester Martínez-López, M.D.
President, Martinez Medical Consulting LLC

Carolina Batista, M.D.
Regional Medical Manager, Drugs for Neglected Tropical Diseases Initiative, Latin America

3:30 pm    


3:45 pm    

Panel III: Shaping Policy for NTD Control and Prevention

Moderator: Anna C. Dragsbaek, J.D., President and Chief Executive Officer, The Immunization Partnership

Carina Perotti Fux, M.D.
Medical Coordinator, Doctors Without Border, Mexico

Andrew Natsios
Director, Scrowcroft Institute of International Affairs and Executive Professor, Buch School of Government and Public Service, Texas A&M University

Eva M. Moya, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Department of Social Work, College of Health Sciences, The University of Texas at El Paso

Blanca Lomeli, M.D.
Country Director, Mexico, Project Concern International

4:45 pm    

Closing Remarks

Peter Hotez, M.D., Ph.D.



Wed, Sept. 30, 2015
8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
(GMT-0500) US/Central

Event has ended


James A. Baker III Hall, Rice University
6100 Main St.
Houston, Texas 77005
United States