Big Ideas, Grand Challenges - Health

Stylized globe with text reading Big Ideas, Grand Challenges. An Honors College Speakers Series


Wednesday, October 21, 2020

6:00pm - 7:30pm

Discussion will be 6:00 - 7:00pm, followed by 30 minutes of Q&A

Topics to be discussed may include:

  • What effect has social distancing had on individual and public health?
  • What is health? Is health a basic human right?
  • What role do vaccines play in our global community?
  • Where can the average person go to get accurate information to make informed health care decisions? Why is that so hard these days?
  • What are the biggest obstacles to health in the world these days? What are the best opportunities to promote health?

Space is limited.

Health Discussion - Recorded October 21, 2020


Moderator Carla Paonessa

Moderator: Carla Paonessa

Carla Paonessa got her English degrees from University of Oklahoma (BA) and Kansas University (MA). She spent 12 years in government service retraining air traffic controllers for the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) and running a 10-state training center for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). For 25 years, Carla was with Accenture, the $150b global technology consulting company. She led the Change Management client practice for one of Accenture’s industry groupings, covering 1/4 of the global business.  She lives in Scottsdale, AZ, where she and her husband are active with the Mayo Clinic Leadership Council. She Chairs the Mayo Clinic Leadership Council in Chicago.  She said she has always been fascinated with medicine since childhood.  Her Dad was a poultry doctor in Oklahoma.


Dr. Anton Decker Headshot

Anton Decker, MBBCh

Dr. G. Anton Decker is president of International at Mayo Clinic, a not-for-profit, academic health system. With a workforce of 70,000, Mayo Clinic earns $14 billion in annual revenue while caring for more than 1.2 million patients each year from all 50 states and more than 140 countries. Prior to returning to Mayo Clinic in 2019, Dr. Decker was president of Health Innovation for Bon Secours Mercy Health, an $8 billion net revenue international health system with 48 hospitals and 60,000 staff. He also served as chief clinical officer for Mercy Health, president of Mercy Health Physicians, chief medical officer and board chair for Banner Medical Group, and board chair for Banner Health Network. Dr. Decker, a gastroenterologist, has authored more than 60 peer-reviewed papers and has been an invited speaker at numerous institutions and meetings, most with a focus on health care economics. He is the chair of the American Gastroenterological Association Practice Management and Economics Committee. Born in South Africa, Dr. Decker completed medical school at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, and trained at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science as a resident and fellow. He also earned a master’s degree in health administration. Having worked in four countries, Dr. Decker brings a global perspective to collaboration with people from all backgrounds and experiences.

Dr. Iman Hakim headshot

Iman Hakim, MBBCh, PhD, MPH

Dr. Iman Hakim is a professor of public health and the Dean of the University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health (MEZCOPH). Dr. Hakim is the Mel & Enid Zuckerman Endowed Chair in Public Health and the founding director of the Global Health Institute. She is internationally known for her translational research and work on the role of bioactive food compounds such as green tea and limonene in modulation of oxidative damage and prevention of chronic diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular diseases. Her research focuses on health promotion, dietary interventions, and the role of gene-environment and gene-nutrition interactions in chronic disease prevention. She has been the Principal Investigator of several large-scale, behavior change interventions and clinical trials focused on nutrition and cancer prevention, tea consumption and coronary heart disease, chemoprevention of lung carcinogenesis using green tea; dietary interventions to study the effects of tea consumption on smoking-related oxidative stress and role of citrus-cancer association in Mediterranean diet. Dr. Hakim earned her medical degree from Cairo University in Egypt where she completed her pediatric residency. She received her PhD in in child health and nutrition from Ain-Shams University in Cairo, Egypt, and her Master of Public Health degree from the University of Arizona.

Dr. Alok Patel headshot

Alok Patel, M.D.

Dr. Alok Patel is a physician, journalist, and producer who firmly believes humor and relatability should drive science communication. "Scientists," he'll tell you, "need a much louder megaphone." He is a special correspondent for ABC News and regularly appears as an on-camera expert for several news outlets. Additionally, he is co-host of "Parentalogic,” a digital series from NOVA and PBS Digital Studios on the science of parenting, and hosts a popular web series for Medscape. Previously, he worked as a medical producer for CNN/HLN and as a host/contributor for both ABC and NBC News in New York. He is involved with several advocacy projects including a media-based sex trafficking education campaign, a 501(c)(3) dedicated to improving healthcare's presence on social media, and on initiatives to improve access to mental health care. Dr. Patel is originally from Arizona, earning his bachelors degree with Honors from the University of Arizona, completing his pediatric residency at Seattle Children's Hospital and is currently faculty as a pediatric hospitalist, at Columbia University, Stanford University, and the University of California, San Francisco. In his rare downtime, you can catch him practicing martial arts, creating cocktails, discovering new music (ask him about this), or spending time with his wife, a renowned wedding/event planner, who is more creative, talented, and far better-looking, than he is.