The more familiar I become with Global Health, the more aware I am of this concept in my own community. I have started to look at gardens, child care, family resource centres, cooperatives, public transportation, and diverse community organizations through the lens of global health – and see their important role in reducing health inequities and building healthier societies.
While international work is one important aspect of Global Health, it is actually a discipline that is transnational in scope – that is, it transcends boundaries. Social determinants of health, health inequities, environmental health, and disproportionate burden of disease are present in all areas of the world, including here in Halifax.
At the Global Health Office we have the opportunity to work closely with students across the Health Professions, and particularly those studying Medicine. In order to facilitate experiential learning about Global Health, we offer a Local-Global Health Elective for first and second year Medicine students. The intention of the elective is to facilitate students’ exposure to community health care settings, and a greater understanding of social determinants of health in their local community. Throughout the elective, students also develop a clearer view of how marginalization from mainstream health-care happens.
This elective is available in Halifax, Spryfield, and Saint John, New Brunswick. In Halifax the students rotate through the North End Community Health Centre, Mobile Outreach Street Health and the Mi’kmaq Native Friendship Centre. We are particularly excited to be working with Debbie Eisan at the Friendship Centre, where our students are helping to organize an Aboriginal Health fair to be held this spring. Stay tuned for more details!
In Spryfield, most of the elective activities happen under one roof, at the exciting Community Wellness Centre. This centre is a hub of integrated health care: there is an addictions program; mental health services; the Chebucto Community Health Team; and Chebucto Connections, a multi-service organization, lives there too! It is also conveniently located in the middle of Spryfield, accessible by public transit.
In Saint John, students work with Saint Joseph’s Community Health Centre, the Methadone Clinic (which is in the basement of Saint Joseph’s) and AIDS Saint John, an excellent community organization that offers much-needed services in the areas of prevention; advocacy; education and support.
By creating this unique educational opportunity, we hope that students in the Local-Global Health Elective will be better equipped in their future professional practice to address health inequities, and be truly responsive to the needs of marginalized communities and individuals. Many thanks to all the community health centres and organizations we partner with, and to Stephen Middleton, Isaac Siemens, Kelly Fenn, and Iris Kim, who are this year’s Local-Global students.
For more information about this program please visit our Local Programs Page