The 1-year M.S. in Biomedical Science Policy and Advocacy (BSPA) program at Georgetown University’s Biomedical Graduate Education equips students with an extensive knowledge base of policy and advocacy principles. Experience in policy and advocacy is also gained through internships in the Washington, D.C. area with government and non-government organizations. This juxtaposition enables students to apply their advanced critical thinking skills to making educated and effective decisions to the field of science policy. With the global health and security agenda at the forefront of today’s world, scientific areas such as stem cell research and bioterrorism will govern policy decisions that will affect our society for years to come.

Rebecca Holliman, Bradley Schroeder, and Michael DeLuca, current students in the M.S. in Biomedical Science Policy and Advocacy and M.S. in Biohazardous Threat Agents and Emerging Infectious Diseases programs, attended the “7th International Conference on Health Issues in Arab Communities.” The Conference was held in the Al Bustan Palace in Muscat, Oman, March 1-5, 2015, and was hosted by the National Institutes of Health (USA) and by various medical professionals in Oman. Topics included health challenges facing Arabic populations, such as obesity, breast cancer, and tobacco use. The conference served as a workshop for government officials to establish or improve national initiatives against diseases mentioned above. During the conference, Michael led the bioterrorism/biowarfare student group and helped the diverse group of students to get a better understanding of the challenges in the field of bioterrorism today. He also gave all the participants a lecture on the health security implications of MERS-CoV. Rebecca, Brad, and Michael also served as team leaders for a Health Security Futures Fellowship activity. For this activity, American, Kurd, and Pakistani students worked together to develop plans for combating global health issues of chronic and infectious disease, dual use projects, and bioterrorism. From the student groups, grants are to be submitted, evaluated, and funded. Rebecca will be part of the evaluation team.

Rebecca, Brad, and Michael were recipients of a US State Department travel grant awarded to Dr. Jason Rao, an Adjunct Associate Professor in the MS Policy and Advocacy program. All three students were accompanied to Oman by Dr. Rao.