Friday, September 19, 2008

For a Global Generation, Public Health Is a Hot Field (But we already knew that)

Check out this awesome article in the Washington Post about the growth of global health programs at universities across the US.

What an exciting article to read while being deeply involved in building a student-led movement for global health equity! It is really incredible to see how GlobeMed truly does embodies so much of what was talked about in the article. In an email exchange, here's what my friend Victor Roy, GlobeMed's executive director took from the article:
"- the comparison between our generation and our parent's: "While the causes of their parents' generation were fueled by protest and relied heavily on symbolic victories, the interest in public health reflects this generation's more communitarian and practical outlook." Very true.

- global health engagement of the past: "Kelly Gebo, an infectious-diseases physician who directs the public health major at Johns Hopkins, said that in the past, college students who wanted to do something about global health were limited to collecting money, sending it to UNICEF and hoping for the best." GlobeMed's chapters work directly with partner organizations to turn into a direct reality!

- being responsible: "A fifth-year senior at William and Mary, Stephens, 21, spent two spring vacations helping deliver medicines to a charity in Ghana. The team of 16 students -- she led one of the trips -- raised money during the year to pay for the drugs. The receiving clinic was run by Ghanaian health workers. "We were not dropping out of the sky with American doctors," she said. Totally our approach with GlobeMed as well - work with local staff to complement and strengthen their efforts.

only 16% of universities (even higher than I thought to be honest) have global health majors/minors.

What's cool is that we bring all of this TOGETHER in a network, whereas most interest for global health is contained within their campus radius or student club - by being part of a larger network, it's easier to understand and mobilize this energy."
I believe that this generation has a tremendous opportunity to fix some of the really glaring problems in the world. We have unprecedented access to resources. We have web-based tools allowing us to work together and collaborate with peers across the globe. And, as documented in this article, there really is a growing desire to critically tackle issues of health inequity.

I think this is a watershed moment in global health. GlobeMed will play a major role in engaging this growing interest and passion and chanelling the energy through training the next generation of leaders in global health. Lets get it done!

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