MSc Global Health program students have spent an intense two weeks in Manipal for the 6th Global Health Symposium, aptly named ‘Bridging Different Worlds’. And, although the symposium has come to an end, the experience represents a taste of what’s to come in graduates’ future careers.
The final week had students completing their system mapping projects and gearing up for their final presentations, which, as one student put it, “put team bonding to the test,” as teams navigated the delegation of tasks, different cultural perspectives, and sometimes challenging group work.
Field visits continued, with student groups exploring their assigned topics, including diabetes, mental health, and non-communicable diseases, conducting interviews with primary-care health professionals and patients. After every visit, students participated in faculty-led debriefing sessions that allowed everyone to speak freely and openly about their positive and negative experiences in the field.
This busy five days followed last weekend’s conference, which featured inspirational presentations from experts in the global health field: Gayatri Ganesh (director of development at the Christian Hospital Mungeli), Vikram Patel (co-founder of the Centre for Global Mental Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine; co-director of the Centre for Control of Chronic Conditions for the Public Health Foundation of India; co-founder of Sangath), Dr. G Arunkumar (professor and head of the Virus Research department at Manipal University) and Dr. GVS Murthy (community physician and faculty in Public Health Disability with the International Centre for Eye Health at the London School for Hygiene and Tropical Medicine).
The Global Health Symposium is the culmination of a program designed to provide meaningful exchanges and real-world simulations, create a strong alumni network, and prepare future global health leaders. The coming together of all students from McMaster, Maastricht and Manipal cements the idea that tackling global health issues necessitates a strategy that is collaborative.
“I’ve felt so lucky to be able to spend these two weeks among such a bright, intelligent and inspiring crowd,” says Manipal student Sowmya Sundar, who, like her peers, will leave the symposium equipped with hands-on experiences that mirror the complex international work situations she will face in the real world.