From November 5-7, 2015 Montreal hosted the Canadian Conference on Global Health. A delegation from Dalhousie participated in the many opportunities and we will be publishing a series of blog posts from the students who attended. Kyle Warkentin is a Dalhousie Nursing student and a member of The Dalhousie School of Nursing Global Health Committee (DSON GHC).
Capacity Building for Global Health: Research and Practice was this year’s 22nd annual Canadian Conference on Global Health with four plenary themes including: human resource strengthening; building global health research capacity; addressing the needs and gaps in health systems through the example of Ebola; and exploring the future of global health.
The 22nd Canadian Conference on Global Health was an experience that enabled students, practitioners, researchers, and early participants into the field the opportunity to collaborate, grow, and ask questions. The conference was designed in such a way that enabled persons from all corners of the career dimension to feel included in all aspects of the conference’s main theme.
Overall the conference gave a refreshing international approach to global health, which is constantly related to not having a top down approach but work in the communities, work with the local NGO’s, and work with governments to truly make change in that country. The career of global health is local and international. Sometimes, people have global health careers and never leave their country. Damaging approaches to global health is the touristic concept of flying in, helping for 3 weeks and flying out, that just does not work.
With the relevance and proximity to the Ebola scare that shook the entire world, the way the researchers and leaders laid out their presentations revolving this issue was both interesting and informative in an immediate type of fashion. The effects of mass hysteria from the media, the importance of learning lessons from places like Haiti after the earthquake were also addressed broadly throughout the conferences many plenary and concurrent sessions.
The speakers were rich in knowledge and included big names such as the Director of International Emergency and Recovery Ops, Hossam Elsharkawi, Canadian Red Cross and Steve Cornish, Canadian Executive Director of Doctors Without Borders. The conference also included international speakers from places that are actively involved in global health research such as Mariana da Rosa Martins from Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul who spoke regarding issues of Global Health Governance.
There was indeed, something for everyone. Whether you were a young new grad eager to engage in new opportunities with potential employers/internships or learn about mistakes/ideas from current leaders embarking on the journey of a global health career, the sessions were there. There was opportunity to mingle, connect, and make lifelong friends. It is really about the connections that you make that shape your career.