Long Wharf Theatre Hosts Symposium on Global Health and the Arts

The arts have the ability to heal the soul. Medicine has the ability to heal the body. In what promises to be a remarkable event, the two disciplines will unite at Long Wharf Theatre for an in-depth exploration of Global Health and the Arts Thursday Jan. 22, 2009.

Leaders from the field of global health across the country have been invited to participate in this exclusive gathering of academic leaders from the Yale University School of Medicine, as well as representatives from Harvard, and senior research and development management from pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. The event is sponsored by Sanofi-Aventis, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Tibotec Division of Johnson & Johnson, Karen Pritzker & Michael Vlock, Achillion Pharmaceuticals, Novartis, Purdue Pharma, Quercegen, and Yale University.

“This event uses the arts as a venue to bring together an assemblage of people in the area of global health to address problems of local and international importance,” said David Scheer, president of Scheer & Company, Inc., and a vice-chair of Long Wharf Theatre’s Board of Trustees. Scheer has been organizing the event in conjunction with Long Wharf Theatre, Dr. Michael Cappello of the Yale School of Medicine, and Paul Pescatello, the CEO of CURE, the Connecticut Union for Research Excellence.

The symposium will take place on Thursday, Jan. 22, 2009 beginning at 3:30 p.m. with hors d’oeuvres and drinks. At 4 p.m. guests will be invited to Stage II to continue the program. Long Wharf Theatre Artistic Director Gordon Edelstein will give a brief talk on the impact of the AIDS epidemic in the theatre world. There will also be several topical academic and industrial panel discussions during dinner.

Dr. Gerald Friedland, director of the AIDS program at Yale New Haven Hospital and professor of medicine and epidemiology at the Yale School of Medicine, will be the keynote speaker for the event. He has been directly involved in the development of comprehensive HIV care programs since the beginning of the HIV epidemic in 1981, and his career has continued to tackle the problems of AIDS and drug resistant tuberculosis in the developing world.

“Yale University is honored to participate in this unique convergence of arts and the science of medicine,” said Dr. Cappello. “We hope this groundbreaking event will draw attention to the devastating global health impact of infectious diseases, while highlighting the cutting edge research of Yale faculty who are dedicated to improving the lives of people in poor countries through scientific discovery.”

Participants will then see a performance of the world premiere of Coming Home by Athol Fugard at 8 p.m. on the Mainstage. The play begins with the return of Veronica Jonkers to her grandfather’s farm after pursuing her dreams of a singing career in Cape Town. Carrying the painful secret that she has been infected with HIV and a heart filled with disappointment, she returns to plant the seeds of a new life for her young son. Fugard finds hope in human relationships and in the power of the imagination.

South Africa has the sixth highest prevalence of HIV in the world with 18.8 percent of the population estimated to be infected, according to the AIDS Foundation of South Africa. The total number of South Africans living with the virus at the end of 2005 was in the region of 5.5 million. “Efforts to stem the tide of new infections have only had limited success, as behavior change and social change are long-term processes, and the factors that predispose people to infection – such as poverty, illiteracy, and gender inequalities – cannot be addressed in the short term,” said an AIDS Foundation report. South Africa is regarded as the epicenter of research and public health efforts to tackle HIV/AIDS and TB, and thus, provided an important springboard for this event.

After the performance there will be an audience talkback moderated by Michael Fuchs, one of the producers of the AIDS documentary “And The Band Played On…” and the former Chairman of HBO. “This gives us an opportunity to engage the audience and panel in a discussion of what the arts can do to not only enrich our lives, but stimulate, inspire, and recognize actions by those who are seeking solutions to important unmet societal needs,” Scheer said.

Tickets to the event are $150 and include the conference, dinner and the performance. For more information call Christina Montanari, director of development, at 203-772-8233 or visit www.longwharf.org.

ABOUT THE KEYNOTE SPEAKER

GERALD H. FRIEDLAND, M.D.
Professor, Medicine
Professor, Epidemiology & Public Health
Director, Yale AIDS Program
Member, Clinical and Health Services Research (CHSR) Core

Dr. Friedland is the Director of the AIDS Program at Yale New Haven Hospital and Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology and Public Health at Yale School of Medicine. He is a former member of the Governing Council of the International AIDS Society, National Advisory Council, National Institute on Drug Abuse and Advisory Council, Office of AIDS Research, and currently serves on the WHO HIV/TB Working Group and as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center in New York City.

Dr Friedland has been directly involved in the development of comprehensive HIV care programs since the beginning of the HIV epidemic in 1981. His work was initially in the Bronx, New York and since 1991, in New Haven, Connecticut. He has developed and directed large-scale clinical and epidemiologic studies among vulnerable populations with and at risk for HIV disease. His group presented the first convincing evidence of lack of transmission of HIV by close personal contact, defined the predictors of HIV transmission and natural history of HIV disease among injection drug users and the risk of reactivation of tuberculosis among those co-infected with M.Tb and HIV. More recently, Dr. Friedland has worked on clinical trials of antiretroviral therapies. He is currently the Principal Investigator of New England ProACT, a regional AIDS clinical trials network affiliated with the CPCRA/INSIGHT, an NIH supported multisite program specializing in large-scale antiretroviral therapy strategy trials. In this work he has focused on the recruitment, enrollment, retention and special issues of HIV therapeutics among injection drug users and other marginalized populations, including pioneering work in defining phamacokinetic drug interactions between HIV and substance abuse therapies.

Dr. Friedland’s research also has focused on studies at the interface of biology, clinical care and behavior, including adherence to HIV therapies and the integration of prevention strategies and clinical care, notably in the development and testing of interventions to reduce HIV transmission risk among HIV+ persons in clinical care.

Dr. Friedland is also actively involved in HIV/AIDS international research aimed at providing access to antiretroviral therapy in resource limited settings. The major focus of this work is the integration of HIV and TB care and treatment in co-infected patients with the aim of improving diagnosis, treatment and outcome of both diseases. This work has led to the discovery of extensively resistant tuberculosis (XDR TB) as a major cause of death among HIV/TB co-infected patients in South Africa and now focuses on the diagnosis, treatment and reduction of transmission of multiple drug resistant (MDR) and XDR TB in HIV co-infected patients. Dr. Friedland directs and participates in several research projects addressing these issues in rural and urban South Africa, supported by charitable research foundations and the NIH. He is a Visiting Professor at the Nelson. R Mandela School of Medicine of the University of KwaZulu Natal in Durban, South Africa and the Mailman School of Public Health of Columbia University.

Dr. Friedland has lectured in several courses and participated in seminars in the Department of Epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health. In addition, he has advised colleagues on research and program projects and collaborated on presentations and publications. His work in South Africa has intersected with that of CAPRISA in Durban and Columbia colleagues there. He has developed research protocols and advised colleagues and trainees at CAPRISA on issues related to TB, TB and HIV integration, medication adherence and antiretroviral therapy. He will continue all of these activities as an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health.

ABOUT THE DIRECTOR

GORDON EDELSTEIN
Long Wharf Theatre Artistic Director

Gordon Edelstein is in his seventh season as Long Wharf Theatre’s Artistic Director. In addition to his work on the world premiere of Athol Fugard’s Coming Home, Mr. Edelstein will also direct Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie later in Long Wharf Theatre’s 2008-09 season. His recent productions of Arthur Miller’s The Price and Anton Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya (which he also adapted) were on numerous best of 2007 lists including the Wall Street Journal. As a director, he has garnered three Connecticut Critics Circle Awards and during his tenure at Long Wharf Theatre, the theatre has produced world premieres by Craig Lucas, Julia Cho, Noah Haidle, Dael Orlandersmith, and Anna Deavere Smith. Over the course of his career, he has also directed and/or produced premieres by Philip Glass, Arthur Miller, Paula Vogel, Donald Margulies, James Lapine, Charles Mee, Mac Wellman, and Martin McDonagh, among many others, and has directed an extremely diverse body of work from Sophocles to Pinter, and from Shakespeare to Beckett. Under his artistic leadership, Long Wharf Theatre has received 14 additional Connecticut Critics Circle Awards, including six best actor or actress awards in plays that he directed. He was also given the organization’s Tom Killian Award, given annually to an individual who has made an indelible impact on the Connecticut theatrical landscape. Mr. Edelstein has directed countless plays and workshops for Long Wharf Theatre including the world premieres of BFE (transfer to Playwrights Horizons), The Day the Bronx Died (transfer to NY and London), A Dance Lesson, and The Times, as well as We Won’t Pay! We Won’t Pay!, A New War, A Moon for the Misbegotten, Anna Christie, The Front Page, and Mourning Becomes Electra, starring Jane Alexander. Prior to assuming artistic leadership of Long Wharf Theatre, Mr. Edelstein helmed Seattle’s ACT Theatre for five years. In addition, this past summer Mr. Edelstein directed Some Americans Abroad at Second Stage in New York City. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree with honors in History and Religious Studies from Grinnell College in 1976 and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from Grinnell College in 2003.

ABOUT THE 2008-09 SEASON

The rest of the 2008-2009 Season includes Bad Dates by Theresa Rebeck and directed by Eric Ting, running February 18- March 22, 2009; The Old Man and the Sea, a world premiere based on the novel by Ernest Hemingway and adapted by Eric Ting and Craig Siebels, and directed by Eric Ting. Running April 1-26, 2009; The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams, directed by Gordon Edelstein, and running May 13-June 7, 2009.

ABOUT THE THEATRE

LONG WHARF THEATRE (Gordon Edelstein, Artistic Director), in its 44th season, is recognized as a leader in American theatre, producing fresh and imaginative revivals of classics and modern plays, rediscoveries of neglected works and a variety of world and American premieres. More than 30 Long Wharf Theatre productions have transferred virtually intact to Broadway or Off-Broadway, some of which include Durango by Julia Cho, the Pulitzer Prize-winning plays Wit by Margaret Edson, The Shadow Box by Michael Cristofer and The Gin Game by D.L. Coburn. The theatre is an incubator of new works, including last season’s Let Me Down Easy by Anna Deavere Smith and Prayer For My Enemy by Craig Lucas. Long Wharf Theatre has received New York Drama Critics Awards, Obie Awards, the Margo Jefferson Award for Production of New Works, a Special Citation from the Outer Critics Circle and the Tony® Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre.

FAST FACTS

Global Health and the Arts Symposium
Thursday, Jan. 22
Stage II
Tickets: $150

Schedule:
3:30 p.m. – Hors d’oeuvres and drinks
4:15 p.m. – Introductions and keynotes address by Dr. Gerald Friedland,
5 p.m. – Dinner and speakers
8 p.m. – Performance of Coming Home

Website: www.longwharf.org

Contacts:
Christina Montanari, Director of Development, 203-772-8233
Steven Scarpa, Director of Communications, 203-772-8255

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Media Contact

Helen Dodson: helen.dodson@yale.edu, 203-436-3984