By: Rachel Ollivier, BSN, RN PhD in Nursing Student (Year 1)
Once again, this year’s partnered global health conferences were a pleasure to attend. Both provided an opportunity to network, connect with new and familiar faces, and learn about ongoing research, education, and projects occurring both within Canada and internationally.
The GHSYPS saw a record attendance, with over 200 students and young professionals gathering in Toronto. What I enjoyed most about the annual event, hosted this year at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health (University of Toronto), was the overwhelming sense of support for one another- a sense of community I’ve seen grow year to year- as well as the authentic curiosity of each attendee. The GHSYPS is special in that it provides young innovators in global health the opportunity to seek out connections while exploring career opportunities, academic programs, international projects, research, or local initiatives. No matter the specific areas of interest, I found that each attendee shared a goal of expanding on their career. While it can be hugely inspiring to hear from well-known researchers, clinicians, academics, or advocates, it’s meaningful to know that other young people in global health are experiencing similar questions or uncertainties. As part of an all-female keynote panel at the event, I was impressed to hear the depth of critical questioning, insight, and understanding of current issues from the attendees. Questions that arose during the panel included topics such as being a woman in global health, defining global health, and what global health needs. Katrina Plamondon, a fellow nurse, responded with standout advice:
“We need to think more with our hearts. Inequities aren’t just numbers.”
The CCGH brought together many well-recognized, accomplished global health leaders and, excitingly, had a significant portion of international and student attendees. Refreshing perspectives were offered from oral presentation sessions such as that of
“Advancing Gender in the Context of a Feminist Agenda”.
While the theme of fragile environments in global health was well-explored, women in global health was also a topic of recognition, celebration, and discussion- though we still have a long way to go. I was thrilled to attend the launch of the 2018 Canadian Women in Global Health list, featuring several Dal faculty and staff: Dr. Gail Tomblin-Murphy, Shawna O’Hearn, Dr. Heather Scott, and Dr. Noni MacDonald. I carry pride in knowing many more names that could have been added to the list and I’m fortunate to work with women that continue to drive my passion for global health.
Overall, the smiles and friendly conversations that surround these sorts of events is something I love most about being a part of the global health community in Canada. Our partnerships are strong, as exemplified by programs such as Queen Elizabeth Scholars, and global health becomes a small world very quickly in these sorts of contexts. Thank you to the Global Health Office, the CCGHR Students & Young Professionals Network, and the Dalhousie School of Nursing New Ventures Fund for supporting my attendance.
Other blog posts in this series:
Keisha Jefferies: Student Reflections on the Canadian Conference on Global Health