The Consortium of Universities for Global Health’s (CUGH’s) Fourth Annual Meeting was held in Washington, DC from March 14 to 16, 2013. As a Canadian university representative, the conference had many highlights that will guide our current and future work.
The conference was attended by 1400 committed leaders, professionals, educators, and students from diverse fields of study including engineering, business, law, policy, chemistry, biology, communications, nursing, public health, medicine, oral health, and environmental studies to explore, discuss, and critically assess the global health landscape. Throughout the three days, participants were given an action plan to identify new partners, have one clear innovation to take home and to work with individuals from institutions and countries that you did not know. The cutting edge thematic areas throughout the conference included:
- Innovations and interventions to improve health conditions
- Global Health Justice: Human Rights, ethics, governance and policy
- Interactions and interconnectedness of government policy on health outcomes
- Partnerships and capacity-building for education and research in global health
- Role of the private sector: Embrace, engage, avoid conflicts of interest
- Determinants of culture change in education of practice
- Training the global health workforce
- Technology: Advancements, set-backs, implications and outcomes
Revolutions towards Health Equity
The opening plenary was led by Julio Frenk, Dean, Harvard School of Public Health and Minister of Health of Mexico from 2000-2006. Dr Frenk reminded us that “global” refers to the processes that affect the entire globe and in order to achieve health equity in our local and global communities, there must be revolutions from various disciplines. He highlighted these revolutions for us to consider in our future global health research and planning.
- Life Sciences with a special focus in genomics
- Telecommunications: particularly in m health
- Managerial which requires an improvement in performance through a systems approaches
- Governance must incorporate a global and local level in order to empower citizen participation
- Learning revolution is in the midst of dramatic change with an emphasis on changing the ways we disseminate and share knowledge
The conference was filled with global health leaders including Dr Agnes Binagwaho, Minister of Health in Rwanda. Dr Binagwaho reminded us that external visitors should be inclusive, ready to learn and share their knowledge.
Don’t plan for me, I am the expert of my needs.
Partnerships begin with mutual benefits but the challenge is to sustain the engagement, commitment and collaboration. An example that highlighted this success was the ambitious Human Resources for Health Program in Rwanda which was developed to strengthen health professional education infrastructure. This program was established through the principles of sustainable partnership and collaboration that engages local talent, knowledge and strengths. Rwanda has partnered with American universities and our Canadian anesthesia community through CASIEF (Canadian Anesthesiology Society International Education Fund). As this program grows, there will be mutual benefits to Rwanda, US and Canadian health care.
Our Canadian colleagues from Memorial, Western, UBC, Toronto and McMaster shared experiences, worked on new education and research ideas and explored funding opportunities that will allow us to expand our global health mandates. The growth of global health in US universities, even in the midst of difficult financial times, was a stark reminder of the need to address health inequities. The next CUGH conference will be held in March 2014 in Washington, DC. Before this conference, there will be lots of work to understand and execute the global health revolutions that strengthen and enhance global health with our Canadian university partners.
To learn more about CUGH 2014 and other events please visit the CUGH Website.
Jill Allison says
Excellent blog. This summarizes very nicely the dual climate of hopefulness and concern. You also capture the challenge issued to global health advocates in high income countries to be even more inclusive and collaborative when working with partners in LMICs. In fact, the economic challenges and funding cuts highlighted by American and Canadian researchers,practitioners and scholars points out all the more succinctly how important it is to learn from those who have faced economic hardhship as a matter of course in the delivery of health care around the world. Thanks for sharing this.
Thanks for such a comprehensive report on the meeting. It is heartening to see so many initiatives. Keep up the good work!