By: Kalkidan Gebre, Fourth Year Student, School of Nursing , Dalhousie University
What is Crossroads?
The Annual Crossroads Interdisciplinary Health Research Conference is a national student-led health and wellness research conference held March 15th and 16th, 2019 in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Crossroads is an adjudicated, peer-reviewed event that provides students from all disciplines with the opportunity to present their health-related research in a supportive and interdisciplinary environment.
What my presentation was about?
At crossroads, I had the opportunity to give a presentation with my partner, Rachel Ollivier on my learnings as Dal Health’s 2018 Queen Elizabeth Scholar. Rachel and I were selected from Dalhousie’s health programs to spend 3 months (Summer 2018) in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania assisting with research and community-based health programming. I was placed at the Pastoral Activities and Services for people with Aids Dar es Salaam Archidocese (PASADA) as an intern. PASADA is a social service agency and community health centre operating under the Roman Catholic Archidocese of Dar es Salaam.
Two key reflections and learnings from my experience at PASADA:
- The differential rates and over-representation of infection based on social determinants of health signal that there is an underlying mechanism driving these relationships. Health and health disparities are embedded in larger historical, geographic, sociocultural, economic, and political contexts both in Tanzania and Canada. When addressing and responding to the health needs of people living with HIV/AIDS we must make justice the central principle of healthcare, in particular justice for communities who are dealing with barriers that limit access to equitable health services!
- The human experience is subjective, relative, and individualized, but also universal – It is what connects us all, in personal life and in our daily work. It is these shared experiences that help to foster the relationships we have with each other, and it is these same experiences that build our understanding of life in a context very different from our own. We must make it a mission to look not only at the differences between ourselves and others, but also at how the incorporation of these differences and the elements of shared experience can help to foster understanding and cohesion between us all.