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: http://www.ccgh-csih.ca/csih2013/healthsystemscourse.php.
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.