Global Health Through My Eyes: 2014 Photo Contest

Post 2 in our series celebrating global health leadership at Dalhousie

As part of our celebrations on April 1, 2014 we also celebrated and recognized the photographic achievements of our students. Photographs evoke feelings, positive or negative, and shape our perceptions of people, places or events. Our students, faculty, residents, and staff often take photos during their global health experiences. Each photo, although representing just one moment in time, also speaks to a compelling story, a narrative of lessons learned, hope, inspiration and a continued struggle for equity at home and abroad.

The Global Health Office (with support from Dr. Lee Kirby and the Department of Bioethics as well as the many student reps from the Medical Humanities program) has been running a global health photo contest for a few years with the focus on promoting ethical imagery and creating awareness for how a single photo can impact both the subject and the viewer. Our photo contest is open to everyone; students, faculty, residents and staff and we are proud to showcase all the entries we receive. You will see these images, and may already recognize a few, in our promotional pieces such as posters, our website or even our social media such as this blog or our facebook page. As part of the global health photo contest, each submission is evaluated on the clarity of that relationship between the image and its intended global health message.   It is clear that the Dalhousie community puts a lot of thought into the image composition and its message and we want to  thank all our entrants who have given us both beautiful images and thoughtful stories!

We are also pleased to announce our 1st and 2nd prize winners for 2014!

2nd place goes to Kerry McInnes for the image entitled “My heart lies in Ireland”.

My Heart Lies in Ireland by Kerry McInnes

My Heart Lies in Ireland by Kerry McInnes

Here’s an excerpt from Kerry’s submission: “ I think this photo is appropriate for a global health theme because it challenges the societal image and connotations we have surrounding the elderly. Rather than eliciting sympathy and pity, this photo invites you to share in this beautiful woman’s joy as she explores a country she has dreamed of visiting her entire life. Rather than portraying old-age, illness, and disability, this photo captures her youth, her health, and her ability.”

1st place goes to Suzanne Clarke for her image “Now that I have seen”.

Now That I Have Seen by Suzanne Clarke

Now That I Have Seen by Suzanne Clarke

Here’s an excerpt from Suzanne’s submission: “If however, a health problem or general societal inequality is known and allowed to continue unaddressed  ~ We do indeed become responsible. Improvements in global health can be made and I believe, are very achievable. First however, we must acknowledge them and accept responsibility for that knowledge.”

To see all 2014 submissions please visit the Global Health Office Facebook page.

No Comments »

Recognizing student achievement in global health: the advocates certificate program

The Global Health Office held a very special awards ceremony on April 1st, 2014, to recognize a group of extremely dedicated and hard working individuals, our Global Health Advocates!

Class of 2014 Advocates in Global Health L-R Dr. Dan Boudreau, Brie Rehbein, Amanda Carey, Alex Hosein, Erika Lemon, Spencer Holowachuck

Class of 2014 Advocates in Global Health L-R Dr. Dan Boudreau, Brie Rehbein, Amanda Carey, Alex Hosein, Erika Lemon, Spencer Holowachuck

In 2012, the Global Health Office, with the support of our faculty mentors Dr. Dan Boudreau and Erika Burger, developed the Advocates in Global Health Certificate. Dalhousie students were already doing amazing work in global health, but something was missing. There was a need to tie together this hard work into something recognizable, and from this need, the Advocates in Global Health Certificate was born.  This certificate was designed to recognize students’ achievements in global health within the Faculties of Medicine, Health Professions, and Dentistry; in order to promote the development of a global health curriculum, and to provide students with a holistic understanding of the issues related to global health. Students meet these achievements through faculty mentorship, education, skills development and public engagement. And by doing so, they become part of a network of students and professionals at Dalhousie committed to working within global health settings.

Students are given two years to complete the required modules which were developed based on the global health competencies presented through socio-economic, cultural, political, and ethical lenses.

This certificate has three overarching objectives:

1. To provide students with an educational framework to develop a robust understanding of global health. Students become familiar with the major forces affecting the health of populations transnationally, and understand the complexity of global health issues in diverse contexts.

2. To foster skill development in advocacy

3. To increase inter-professional learning opportunities in global health at Dalhousie University

Our 2014 graduates, met these requirements through a variety of initiatives: International electives in Tanzania, Ghana and the Gambia; language training (Swahili, Wolof and French); skills building sessions in housing, advocacy, gender, global health systems and African Nova Scotian health; and volunteering at the methadone clinic, participation on student global health committees, and the STI (sexually transmitted infections) Research Network.

We are proud to honour our third round of Advocates in Global Health. Five students graduated this year and each was presented, not only with a certificate, but with a global health related book to symbolize continued learning. The Advocates in Global Health Certificate is certainly not an end to the global health path of these students, but another well earned accomplishment along the way.

Congratulations to Amanda Carey (Nursing), Spencer Holowachuck (Medicine), Alex Hosein (Pharmacy), Erika Lemon (Social Work), Luke Wiseman (Pharmacy)

To find out more about this exciting program please visit our Advocates in Global Health page.

To read more about the global health competencies please visit the Canadian Federation of Medical Students website and their section on global health.

Due to the many great stories from our event on April 1st we plan to create a blog series for you.  More to come shortly!

No Comments »

Dalhousie’s Global Health Voice: Annual Symposium

2014 promises to be an exciting year for global health. The Millennium Development Goal’s (MDGs) target date is only a year away and  strong leadership, accountability, and collaboration are needed to continue to build on the momentum they have started. Dalhousie’s Global Health Office is also in the midst of reflecting on the year’s past accomplishments and successes, while looking forward to new adventures in global health.

This is why we are more than pleased to invite you to our annual symposium on April 1st, 2014. This year’s theme, Dalhousie’s Global Health Voice, recognizes some of the unique opportunities the year  2014 will provide us. We are offering 3 main events to encourage global health expansion, as well as collaboration in this field, and a chance to celebrate and honour Dalhousie’s leadership in global health.

First, our workshop (2:30-4:30pm, Tupper Room 14B2) will explore Dalhousie’s global health voice in a post-2015 agenda. Please join this discussion with key faculty so that we can identify common themes moving forward, areas for additional collaborations, and opportunities for funding in global health.

Following the workshop, a reception and poster presentation (4:30-5:30pm, Tupper Link) will be held to satisfy your afternoon coffee craving and highlight some of the exciting programs at the Global Health Office.

Last, but not least, we will celebrate the recent achievements of Dalhousie’s students and faculty in global health with an award and graduation ceremony (5:30-7:30pm, Tupper Theater A). This will include:

  • Global Health Advocate’s Graduation: We will honour this year’s graduating class of Global Health Advocate’s. These students have worked extremely hard to accomplish knowledge, professional development, and public engagement criteria in order to be graduating the program.
  • Certificate in Health Systems Graduation: In addition, we are also pleased to recognize our first graduating class form the new Certificate in Health Systems!
  • Global Health Awards: The opportunity will also be taken to announce our global health award winners!  The Dr. Ronald Stewart Student Award recognizes a student who has demonstrated leadership in global health and commitment to the health of marginalized communities during their time at Dalhousie. The Dr. John Savage Memorial Faculty Award recognizes an outstanding humanitarian contribution to global health by a Dalhousie Medical School Faculty member.
  • Photo Contest Winner: You will also have the chance to find out who will take home 1st and 2nd prize from our photo contest; where candidates’ submissions reflected the theme Global Health through my eyes.

Please be sure to join us with an eagerness to learn, willingness to participate, and of course, the spirit to celebrate! We look forward to seeing you there!  Join the discussion on twitter with #DalGHImpact.

No Comments »

Moving forward: The African Nova Scotian Health Sciences Advisory Committee

The Dalhousie community has been hard at work! While our last few posts in this series have focused on our new program coordinator, Michelle Patrick, and her role in addressing the underrepresentation of African Nova Scotians within the health professions, her role is only the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. Behind her is the support and groundwork of a hard working group of individuals here at Dalhousie, the African Nova Scotian Health Sciences Advisory Committee.

The committee was established in 2011. Under the faculty of medicine, its members looked to address the underrepresentation of African Nova Scotians in the profession of medicine and on a larger scale, improve health outcomes within the African Nova Scotian community. Over the years, their mandate has expanded to include all health faculties, in order to improve health outcomes for all Nova Scotians.

The committee, through an advisory role to the Dean of medicine, was intended to assist the Faculty of Medicine in fulfilling its social accountability mandate to the African Nova Scotian community. This involved promoting and supporting equity in admissions, student resident support, faculty recruitment and retention, curriculum development and research relevant to the community. However, they have accomplished so much more.

In addition to these formal expectations, the committee has managed to organize visits from speakers, Dr. Chad Williams, Dr. David Haase, and Dr. Will Ross in their “Doctors from African Nova Scotian Communities: Making it Happen” event.  They have also managed to award bursaries to first year medical students, get into the “Medical School community event”, and have seen an increase in the representation of students of African descent in Dalhousie’s medical school.

The committee realized it needed a full-time coordinator to dedicate much needed time to the coordination and consultation around the development, implementation and monitoring of programs to enhance African Nova Scotian engagement. And this is where Michelle Patrick comes in. She is an extension of the wonderful work the committee is doing. Through encouraging engagement of local community based organizations with the committee, her role will enable strategic development in order to attract African Nova Scotian students. She will also assist the committee’s activities through the development and implementation of a pipeline program (including elementary, junior, and senior high schools) for careers in health, dentistry and medicine, and through culturally specific training for staff and faculty in health professions, dentistry and medicine, among many other activities.

Stay tuned for the official program launch, however the African Nova Scotian Health Sciences Advisory Committee and their new addition to the team, Michelle Patrick are, as always, hard at work. And we can be sure to expect more stimulating lectures and events, such as the most recent “Is Racism a Determinant of Health?”, with Dr. Williams, and the upcoming summer program for African Nova Scotian youth.

No Comments »

Is Racism a Determinant of Health?

Part 2 in our series on our new program

In December 1995, the House of Commons officially recognized February as Black History Month and by 2008, thanks to, now retired Nova Scotia Senator Donald Oliver, Q.C. the Senate officially declared February as Black History Month. We now refer to it as African Heritage Month across the country.

On February 10 and 11, in honour of African Heritage Month, the Global Health Office at Dalhousie University with the Health Association of African Canadians (HAAC), Cancer Care Nova Scotia, Capital Health and Dalhousie University’s African Nova Scotian Advisory Committee, welcomed Dr. David R. Williams, an expert on racism and health from Harvard University to Halifax.


Dr Williams Speaking to DHW

Dr. Williams speaking to the Department of Health and Wellness
Photo Courtesy or Meg McCallum, Cancer Care Nova Scotia


Dr. Williams is internationally recognized for his research on understanding how race, racial discrimination, socioeconomic status and religion affect physical and mental health. He is the Florence and Laura Norman Professor of Public Health at the Harvard School of Public Health and a professor of Sociology and African and African-American Studies and professor of Sociology at Harvard University.

It is significant that the global health office and Dalhousie were part of this initiative as it is important for all students, staff a faculty to gain a better understanding of the determinants of health and in particular how they relate to marginalized members of our community.  This event also highlighted the need to ensure that Dalhousie students are prepared to work in a diverse world by providing opportunities to enhance cultural competence and humility.


Dr. Williams speaking with the Dalhousie community

Dr. Williams speaking with the Dalhousie community
Photo courtesy of the global health office


During his Dr. Williams met with the African Nova Scotian Advisory Committee and presented current research on how race, racial discrimination, and socioeconomics affect physical and mental health.  This information was shared with front-line healthcare professionals, the academic community and policy makers.  The focus of these discussions examined the gaps and opportunities for research as well as the roles of provincial and district health authorities to decrease health inequities and increasing quality of care.  Dr. Williams also presented to the community offering the hard facts about racism and health that resonated with the audience as they nodded in agreement and began to understand their role in advocating for their own health and that of the community.


Dr Williams Speaks to Community Members Feb 10

Dr. Williams speaking to community members
Photo courtesy of Meg McCallum, Cancer Care Nova Scotia


The partners were supported with funding from Diversity and Social Inclusion, Primary Health Care, Department of Health and Wellness.

Dr. Williams’ presentations are available at


No Comments »

Local Global Health: Addressing inequities for African Nova Scotians

Part 1 in a Series on our new program


Disparities in health and education are closer to home than you might think. African Nova Scotians are underrepresented within the health professions and within the health professional schools at Dalhousie. This is largely due to the inequities African Nova Scotians face in accessing these education opportunities and in navigating the complex university system.

Ideally, the diversity among health care professionals would reflect the diversity of the communities they serve. This is important in mitigating existing health disparities, as health care professionals from minority or marginalized groups tend to go back into the community and provide much needed care to these populations.



Dalhousie Dentistry student

The African Nova Scotian Health Sciences Initiative is a new program that attempts to address these disparities by promoting equitable access to health professional education here at Dalhousie. The program will accomplish this through one-on-one support and by serving as a link to other resources. However, Michelle Patrick, the new program coordinator of the initiative, described how the program cannot work alone to increase African Nova Scotian representation in the health professions,

Choosing a career as a health professional starts well before university, it starts in the community, in high school and even elementary school.

A simple example of this is how pre-requisite courses are often needed to apply to health professional schools. If a student is unaware of this early on in their high school career, he or she may feel that is too late to pursue a career in the health professions during his or her graduating year. Forming partnerships to help create an educational pipeline that can promote aspiring health professionals early on is key to increasing the application pool of African Nova Scotians to health professional schools at Dalhousie.


Image courtesy of Dalhousie University

Image courtesy of Dalhousie University


The African Nova Scotian Health Sciences Initiative falls under the umbrella of the Global Health Office. Why? When most people hear Global Health, they think of International Health, which has historically only considered countries and populations outside national borders. Global Health provides a more inclusive and holistic view; it’s about looking at all people around the entire world and the health disparities that exist not only between countries, but between individuals within them. Global health issues can be found right at home, which is why this new program’s home is with Dalhousie’s Global Health Office.

Michelle Patrick is busy in her new role, but is always looking for opportunities to connect and provide support for African Nova Scotian students. She is available for one-on-one chats. You can reach her by email at or stop by the Global Health Office and be sure to say hi.

No Comments »

The Dalhousie School of Nursing Global Health Committee – FRESH START Campaign

by Andrew Watson, Co-Chair Dalhousie School of Nursing Global Health Committee

We are thrilled to present this blog post from Andrew Watson, Dalhousie School of Nursing.

Since its establishment, the Dalhousie School of Nursing Global Health Committee took up the charge of providing Nursing students with more awareness and increased accessibility of global health opportunities at three different levels – local, national, and international. As a committee, we believe that global health starts local, which led us to one of our first community partnerships on the local-global level, the Halifax Refugee Clinic (HRC). Committee members have been involved with the HRC in a variety of capacities over the years including advocacy on the issue of refugees’ right to health care, volunteering and fundraising.

Through our conversations with those at the HRC that work directly with the refugee claimant population, a need was uncovered that was not being met by other fundraising/charitable organizations. The need was for essential items that most of us take for granted every morning – toiletry items, such as shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste and tooth brushes. Although these items are mainstays in vanities of people everywhere, we often don’t realize the cost associated with these hygiene basics can be overwhelming for a refugee family caught up in the search for housing, work and food. That’s where we went to work to help meet this need, giving rise to the FRESH START Campaign.

Each year, around this time, the Dalhousie School of Nursing Global Health Committee posters the halls of the Tupper, student residences, and the School of Nursing with a list of items we are collecting from people like you to help support individuals and families as they go through the lengthy process of applying for refugee status here in Canada. Items include, but are not limited to NEW:

·     Toothbrushes, toothpaste & floss

·      Deodorant

·      Feminine hygiene products (pads, NO tampons)

·      Shampoo & conditioner

·      Razors & shaving cream

·      Gift cards to grocery stores or drug stores

·      International calling cards

This year, these items will be collected in various locations including the Nursing Student Lounge, Global Health Office, and School of Nursing Office until February 16th, 2014.

To finish off the FRESH START Campaign with a bang, we will be hosting our second annual Trivia Night at Rock Bottom Brewpub featuring 3 brain-tickling rounds of trivia, great prizes and more. Trivia is free to play, however, the Global Health Committee will be collecting toiletry donations at the door. A portion of proceeds from food and beverage sales that night will also be donated to the Halifax Refugee Clinic. Come out, test your knowledge of random facts, donate a NEW toiletry item and support a great cause!
Sunday February 16th 2014 at the ROCKBOTTOM Brewpub. 730pm to 11pm

Global Health starts local, and here’s your opportunity to be involved in an initiative to give someone a FRESH START at life here in Canada.

To find out more about the Dalhousie School of Nursing Global Health Committee please visit their facebook page.

No Comments »

Happy Holidays from the Global Health Office

Happy Holidays from the Global Health Office

Happy Holidays from the Global Health Office

No Comments »

Ottawa in October: An Important Month for Global Health in Canada

by Shawna O’Hearn, Director of Dalhousie’s Global Health Office

October is an exciting month for the Global Health Office.  It is the time for us to meet with colleagues from across the globe to learn about new initiatives and start planning for the next year.  This year, Brie Rehbein and I were in Ottawa where we attended the annual global health conference as well as some additional events that heightened the intensity of the trip to our nation’s capital.  Aside from the successful annual global health conference, there were multiple meetings and training workshops organized throughout the visit that took place before and after the conference.

One of these workshops was a five day intensive certificate course offered through the Centre for Global Health (Unvieristy of Ottawa), Carleton and the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute of Basel.  Participants came from all over the world and gained practical foundational skills in health systems strengthening.  For more information on the course please visit:


Gathering Perspectives Dialogue, Image courtesy of CCGHR

Gathering Perspectives Dialogue, Image courtesy of CCGHR


As a member of the Canadian Coalition for Global Health Research (CCGHR), I participated in the University Advisory Council as well as one of the fall dialogues for the Gathering Perspectives project.  In May 2013 CCGHR launched a study to gather perspectives from the global health research community about the role of research in the pan-Canadian vision for global health.  Adopting an appreciative inquiry approach, four distinct dialogue processes have been used to engage perspectives from students, faculty, university administrators, partner countries, funding agencies, government agencies, non-government organizations and private sector stakeholders.  More detail, including the research framework, can be found in the Call for Dialogue available on the CCGHR website.  The discussions and findings were diverse with recommendations to have an annual event on global health research and to develop an ethical code of conduct.  A report is being drafted and will be posted through this blog and the CCGHR website.

There are 23 universities who are members of CCGHR’s University Advisory Council.  We had an intensive one day meeting in Ottawa and identified three key areas for future collaboration.  First, there is a recognized need to influence university internationalization strategies by identifying opportunities to align with global health research principles.  Second, a working group will be established to explore best practices of trans-disciplinary global health research to address the challenge of discipline specific silos that take place within and among universities.  Finally, the University of Calgary conducted a self-assessment on global health research within their institution.  The self-assessment tool was reviewed and considered as a potential tool to guide the work of other universities wanting to strengthen the visibility of global health research.

All of these sessions left us feeling energized and inspired to return to Dalhousie where we will apply our new knowledge to our programs and partners.

No Comments »

Healthy Water, Healthy People in the Gambia

Samantha Romkey teaching in the Gambia 2013

Samantha Romkey teaching in the Gambia 2013

Every summer Dalhousie medical, nursing and pharmacy students participate in the Global Health Office Summer Programs.  These programs are offered through our partners in Tanzania and the Gambia and allow Dalhousie students to practice health care delivery in diverse settings.  In July 2013 Dalhousie student, Samantha Romkey participated in the Global Health Office Summer Program in the Gambia.  This program allows Dalhousie Nursing and Medical students the opportunities to immerse themsleves in a peer to peer learning model with the Nova Scotia Gambia Association (NSGA).  Samantha was one of 4 Dalhousie students who lead education sessions as part of the Healthy Water, Healthy People program to children aged 14-21.  We invite you to read Samantha’s blog about her experiences.

For more information about these and other programs please visit the Global Health Office Summer Program in the Gambia or the Nova Scotia Gambia Association Healthy Water, Healthy People project.



No Comments »