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Okinawan longevity key to International Congress

Date Posted: 2007-11-09

An Okinawan medical doctor renowned for his efforts in studying longevity will share the stage this weekend with the President of the Republic of the Philippines to promote an international plan for enhancing healthy aging and longevity built on public health policies.

Her Excellency Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, President of the Philippines, is to be Saturday’s keynote speaker at the Joint International Biomedical Congress in Manila, where she’s expected to ask leaders and members of three international organizations to “lay the foundation of healthy aging and longevity, which includes a health care system driven by the right public health policies.” The Congress is being sponsored by the Okinawa Gerontology Institute, The Philippine Society of Geriatric Medicine, and the Asian Institute of Management Policy Center.

Doctor David Itokazu, Chairman of the Okinawa Gerontology Institute, is a featured speaker at the Congress and it’s “Longevity, Public Health and Policy” theme. Itokazu says historic themes have set the stage and are “an inspiration for this and previous conferences.” He earlier led the 3rd Okinawa International Conference on Longevity, where discussion focuses on “the traditional lifestyles or mores of the people of Okinawa and the Filipinos customs related to longevity.”

Shelley F. de la Vega, the President of the Philippine Society of Geriatric Medicine, says her organization’s goals at the Congress are “to provide continuing medical education for health promotion and disease prevention.” A medical doctor, de la Vega says it’s time “to help build political will among public policy makers to devise and support efforts for the study and improvement of health care of the elderly.”

Itokazu will use the Joint International Biomedical Congress to present, for the first time, his research paper linking Okinawa longevity to the public health system introduced by the American administration during the 1945~1972 period when the Okinawa was under U.S. control. More than 350 are to attend the Congress, including scientists, clinicians, academicians, policy makers and others involved with healthy aging and population longevity.

Both Dr. de la Vega and Dr. Itokazu bring decades of professional accomplishments to the Congress. Dr. de la Vega has been a formidable advocate for elderly care in the Philippines, leveraging her scientific talents, personal charm and political savvy. Dr. Itokazu is well respected around the world for his efforts to articulate the healthy longevity phenomenon among Okinawa’s 1.3 million people, successfully forming strategic alliances with international organizations and individuals.

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