Last week, on February 7, the McMaster Student Chapter of the Canadian Coalition for Global Health Research (CCGHR) hosted the second annual Undergraduate Global Health Forum.
Specifically tailored to undergraduate students, the forum aims to attract representatives from various departments to engage in a dialogue about equity and sustainability in “glocal” health programs.
It is designed to fuel students' interest in global health through interactive workshops, expert panel discussions, an engaging keynote speaker, and the opportunity to submit abstracts in the form of poster presentations and photos for a contest exhibition.
Janet Zanin, a student in the MSc in Global Health program, provides this summary of the forum:
This year's forum featured interactive workshops that explored several topics including health and development, poverty and equity, community engagement, and environmental health.
Most popular workshops proved to be health and development and poverty and equity, which informed students with excellent research, but also intrigued attendees with personal stories of work in the field. Keynote speaker Dr. Richard Heinzl further expanded on these topics as he highlighted ways students can address health issues both locally and globally.
The McMaster tickets for this event sold out early, and the MSc. Global Health Program was represented in both the poster and photo contests that occurred over lunch hour. The lunch hour provided a great opportunity to network with global health legends such as Dr. Vic Neufield of the CCGHR, and representatives from the United Nations World Food Programme, Leaders in Global Health Transformation, the Brock Environmental Sustainability Research Centre and McMaster’s own Master of Science in Global Health program.
Following the awards ceremony, the most interesting part of the day commenced with the Panel Discussion. Lynn Rempel, Craig Janes, and Lisa Schwartz provided their insights on advocacy and research, health equity and capacity building, and governance and partnerships. Key messages from this section were the importance of good public and primary health care systems for the greatest positive impacts on health, as well as the need to overcome strategic agendas.
The most innovative message of the day was an excellent reminder to all in the room: to allow ourselves room to fail as we seek to innovate and work in an increasingly interconnected world.