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RIVERSIDE, Calif. (Feb. 12, 2015) -- California Baptist University's College of Allied Health hosted speaker Dr. G. Richard Olds on Feb. 10 for its Distinguished Lecture Series. Olds, the founding dean of University of California, Riverside's School of Medicine, spoke to an audience of CBU students on the topic "Revenge of the Rainforest."                             

Olds is a graduate of Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. He has worked as the head of Brown University's International Health Institute and is an expert in tropical rainforest diseases.

The lecture covered infectious diseases hidden within rainforests and the role that health professionals play in combating them.

"I think health professionals need more background in public health," Olds said. "All health professionals need a better understanding of what is a cost-effective way to care for patients."

Olds referred to recent outbreaks of Ebola.

"No one appreciated the potential health risk until it got into a densely populated environment where the transition from person to person could proceed faster than the virus could kill off infectious hosts," he said.

Olds believes the current Ebola epidemic could not be stopped even if there was a cure tomorrow.

 "We have to identify the cases, quarantine them and treat them without letting our own health care professionals get sick themselves," he said. "That is exactly how the Ebola epidemic will be controlled."

He concluded his talk by saying the priorities for health spending needed to change.

"We put too much money in this country into curing people after they get sick," Olds said. "We should put far more resources into public health. The patient would actually prefer not to get sick in the first place. I would prefer to stay healthy."