Climate change has a web of impact. And when it comes to the health of people living in the Arctic, it is a serious issue. This was the subject of the first online lecture of the MSc Global Health program's innovative new course: Global transition within local communities. Small places, big changes.
The course, which launched this month, is the result of McMaster's partnership with University College of Southeast Norway (HSN). With funding from the High North Program, administered by the Norwegian Centre for International Cooperation in Education (SIU), McMaster and the HSN developed the course to address health policy issues specific to Arctic regions – Canada's and Norway's – and to create opportunities for student exchange and collaborative research.
The first lecture last week invited Taha Tabish, a health technology innovations researcher from the Qaujigiartiit Health Research Centre in Iqaluit in Nunavut, to discuss climate change and its potentially devastating impacts – from food security and loss of culture to mental health – on individuals living in the Arctic.
The lecture, delivered via WebEx, and was accessed by students and faculty from Hamilton to Tromsø, Norway. One student even logged on from a train while traveling to a High North conference.
"One of the key goals of the course is to give voice to issues facing marginalized populations," said Andrea Baumann, McMaster's associate vice-president, global health. "Students explore how communities can meet the challenges associated with migration, environmental degradation and other key issues specific to Arctic regions in order to promote population health."
The exchange opportunity offered by the course means that students benefit from a learning experience that is culturally immersive. Currently, four McMaster global health students are spending their winter term in Tonsberg, Norway.