Global Health Day at Dartmouth, April 3

On May 20, 2014 by Grad Forum

global_health_day_thumbnail_finalOn April 3, the Dickey Center for International Understanding’s Global Health Initiative hosted the first Global Health Day at Dartmouth. The afternoon was filled with discussion about different world health problems and included breakout sessions on topics ranging from ethics to technology.

The event began with a global health info booth session at which attendees could speak with representatives from global health groups such as Dartmouth Coalition for Global Health, MedLife, GlobeMed, Nicaragua CCECP, Global Health Scholars, Cover the Globe, Physicians for Human Rights, and others. Following this, a panel of experts in the field led a networking session for those interested in future careers in global health. Panelists provided advice about what fellowships to apply for and which organizations to volunteer with. During the panel session, a student asked, “What skills are important for this type of work?” Peter Wright, a doctor who has done work in Haiti, replied that essential soft skills include being able to relate with people, wanting to help them, and having the time to do so.

The next part of the afternoon consisted of four breakout sessions:

  • The Ethics of Global Health Experiences
  • Understanding Barriers to Accessing Care, ReThink Health Initiative
  • Technology and Global Health
  • Partnerships: The Essential Ingredient for Success in Global Health

During “Understanding Barriers to Accessing Care, ReThink Health Initiative,” facilitator, Margaret Brown, senior project coordinator for ReThink Health at The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice (TDI), led an activity that promoted discussion about social class, opportunity, wealth, and health. She asked students to explore issues such as implementing universal health care or developing public parks in a community.

Samson Njolomole, the external relations manager of Partners In Health in Malawi, and Dr. Jean Luc Nkurikiyimfura, the director of the HIV Clinic at Kigali University Teaching Hospital in Rwanda, gave the keynote address entitled “HIV Prevention and Treatment in Malawi and Rwanda: From Public Health Policy to Community-Based Interventions.” Their message was one of hope, and they each showed how their countries were benefiting from the help of different organizations.

Both keynote speakers described the hardships that people in their countries face, including lack of electricity, lack of hospital access, and general loss of dignity in the communities they work in. However, the situation is improving. Njolomole and Nkurikiyimfura explained that they attempt to go beyond simply providing medication to people in need—they visit patients in their homes and seek to educate them as well. Nkurikiyimfura stressed the crucial role of education in preventing future HIV infections.

The keynote speakers offered a moving and thought-provoking end to an educational and fun afternoon. They stressed the importance of a community approach when helping those in need. As Nkurikiyimfura observed, “If you want to go quickly, go alone, if you want to go far, go together.”

by Britney Tappen

photo by Samantha Oh ’14

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