Congratulations to Our 2015 Resident Award in Global Health Winner!

2015 Dr. Jock Murray Award for Resident Leadership in Global Health
Dr. Gregory Knapp
BHSC,MSC,MD
Department of Surgery

He has demonstrated a true and, quite frankly, contagious passion for global health work. His undeniable desire to support global health initiatives and his perseverance to find new opportunities is truly inspirational.

Dr. Knapp’s global health career began in high school and extended into his undergraduate education where he dedicated many hours to the local Red Cross Council. In 2006 while in India he was exposed to the Indian health care system and became aware of the connections between economics, culture and health.  This led to Dr. Knapp’s participation in the 60th Annual International Seminar in West Africa, a joint venture by CIDA and WUSC/CECI.  He was one of only 20 students from across Canada and examined barriers to women’s education in northern Ghana.  This sparked Dr. Knapp’s interest in interdisciplinary and cross-cultural group work and effective leadership in such circumstances.

Gregory Knapp’s undergraduate thesis examined the spread of HIV in post-conflict Angola and he went on to complete a Masters of Science in International Health Policy at the London School of Economics.  Upon returning to Canada, Dr. Knapp began medical school and coordinated the creation and implementation of the Bachelor of Health Science’s Global Health Specialization at McMaster University.  His hands on approach meant that he taught one of the undergraduate courses to incoming students.

Greg has been an integral part of the creation and on-going activities of the Dalhousie University Global Surgery Office.

In January 2014 Dr. Knapp participated in a trip to the University of Dodoma in Tanzania that resulted in the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding later that spring.  The focus of this partnership is to provide necessary surgical training to learners, instructors and researchers in Tanzania. This unique partnership will use tele-simulation capabilities and as the lead for this project, Dr. Knapp is exploring opportunities for electronic mentorship.

Dr. Gregory Knapp is a global health leader focused on research, teaching and mentorship.  He understands the importance of interdisciplinary and cross-cultural cooperation and is sensitive to the requirements of low-resource settings. We look forward to what the future holds for our 2015 Resident Award in Global Health winner!

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Dr. Gregory Kanpp receiving his award plaque

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Dr. Gregory Kanpp chatting with Shawna O’Hearn

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Dr. Gregory Knapp & Ms. Shawna O’Hearn

Congratulations to Our 2015 Faculty Award in Global Health Winner!

2015 Dr. John Savage Memorial Award for Faculty Leadership in Global Health
Dr. Ronald George
MD, FRCPC
Department of Anesthesia, Pain Management and Perioperative Medicine

Dr. Ron George demonstrates a strong commitment to global health across his career.  His work in anesthesia, obstetrical anaesthesia and systems change reflects his desire for social justice. As a leader in global health Dr. George has made sustainable partnerships, research, teaching/curriculum, and mentorship the focus of his work.

Ron’s involvement with global health began in 2006 when he became a volunteer with Kybele, an NGO focused on improving childbirth safety worldwide. Dr. George worked at the Tamale Teaching Hospital in northern Ghana where he initiated a partnership focused on training and quality improvement for obstetrics and obstetrical anesthesia. Dr. George continues to be involved with Kybele as a team member as well as serving on the board of directors.

In his nomination letter from Dr. Andre Bernard who worked in Ghana says;

I was struck by Ron’s passion for seeing health care transformation as a systems-level intervention, requiring local leadership as well as empowered participation by health care providers and administrators at all levels.

Locally Dr. George is involved with the well-established partnership between Canada and Rwanda focused on residency training in Anesthesia.  Ron also serves as Director and co-chair of the Anesthesia for Global Outreach (AGO) course, one of three courses globally, that happens annually in Halifax.  Begun in 2008 the course focuses on training and preparing anesthesiologists for work in resource limited contexts, particularly in low income countries.

Ron is seen in our Department as one of the go-to people on global health…Ron is a dynamic leader who has consistently demonstrated a passion for improving the lives of others.

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Dean of Medicine Dr. Tom Marrie, Ms. Shawna O’Hearn, Dr. Ron George, Dr. John LeBlanc

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Dr. Allen Finley, Dr. Patricia Livingston, Dr. Ron George, visiting Rwandan fellows

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Dr. Ron George receiving his award plaque

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Dr. Ron George with Ms. Shawna O’Hearn

Case Competitions: A capstone learning experience

By Sarah Boucaud, MHA(c)

You don’t often hear the words “health” and “competition” in the same sentence, but with Dalhousie hosting their first Health Care Team Challenge, the health professional programs are looking to competition as a fun, interdisciplinary way to learn.

In fact, it was a big year for Dalhousie in regards to health care related case competitions. At the end of February 2015, I participated with two of my colleagues in the University of Alabama at Birmingham Case Competition. It was a challenging and highly rewarding experience. We had three weeks to solve a health care case based in the United States and present it to a mock Board of Directors in Alabama. The case was comprehensive and involved building new service lines, strategic recruitment processes, and space allocation within new facilities. It was an unforgettable experience. We were the only Canadian team among 38 other teams from the United States.

The University of Alabama Case Competition was an opportunity to combine all of the knowledge and skills attained from the Master of Health Administration into a single academic endeavour. Drawing on more than just academic proficiencies, successful participation required teamwork, endurance, and unwavering determination. The chance to compete against schools from the U.S. was a rare opportunity to be immersed into another health care system—it was without question one of the most challenging and rewarding academic experiences of my degree. – Bennett Jovaisas, MHA(c)

A handful of times, other participants told us how “brave” we were to tackle a case based in a health system other than our own. In truth, we probably had a bigger learning curve during that three week case preparation period than most teams. However, throughout our experience, the commonalities of our two systems became apparent. We all want the same outcomes: happy and healthy populations. We also face similar challenges in achieving this goal, such as changing demographics and the need reduce costs.

The experience was invaluable. I learned a lot about a different health care system and a different way to perceive health. I also gained insight into my own strengths in working as a team and how to support one another in a demanding environment. We all come to the table with different experiences and ideas, but having those tough discussions around a common problem can truly generate new and innovative solutions.

Collaboration plays a valuable role in health care, but after this experience, I can’t help but think that a little competition is a useful learning tool in the health professions!

Alabama

A global health paid internship opportunity: Pack your bags for Tanzania!

Why do you want to study or work abroad? For a new experience? To challenge your perceptions? To explore and learn from new health systems?

gho_internships_tanzania_summer2015There are a multitude of reasons and reciprocal benefits to global health internships and community learning opportunities. What often lacks is the resources to undertake these experiences. That’s why you can’t let this opportunity pass you by! The Global Health Office is offering two paid internships this summer in Tanzania with an NGO focused on HIV and community based care. These internships are made possible by the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Scholarships Grant from the Government of Canada. Once again, not only do you have the support of GHO staff, but up to $6, 000 to cover airfare, living expenses, vaccinations, and visas. 

From May until August, you will work closely with Tanzanian staff at PASADA on projects related to HIV/AIDS. The internship positions are for two project assistants (Key Populations and Prevention with Positive Clubs).

There is still time to apply! The application deadline is March 27, 2015. Please contact brie.rehbein@dal.ca for more information or visit our website.

If you can’t get out of your current summer plans to make this opportunity a reality, stay tuned for the summer of 2016. There are more internship opportunities to come! You can also check out our other local and global health programs through dal.ca/globalhealth.

Have you heard about Rohit Ramchandani?

By: Sarah Boucaud, Global Health Office Outreach Assistant


Who is Rohit Ramchandani?

a) A “Rising Star in Global Health”
b) Public health adviser & principal investigator at ColaLife
c) A guest speaker at Dalhousie
d) All of the above

If you answered “d) All of the above”, you are correct!

Photo courtesy of linkedin

Dr. Ramchandani, Photo courtesy of linkedin

Whatever your answer choice, are you interested in hearing more?

Dr. Rohit Ramchandani is a public health adviser & principal investigator at ColaLife. This innovative charity asked the question: “Coca-Cola seems to get everywhere in developing countries, yet essential medicines don’t. Why?” Using the same principles and networks that Coca-Cola and other commodity producers use, ColaLife seeks to open up private sector supply chains for ‘social products’. These include oral rehydration salts and zinc supplements to treat diarrhea.

Dr. Ramchandani is also Founder & Executive Director, Antara Global Health Advisors; Doctor of Public Health Candidate, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health; and Adjunct Lecturer, University of Waterloo School of Public Health & Health Systems. He is recognized as a “Rising Star in Global Health”, and his work focuses on improving lives, increasing equity, and preventing needless loss of life by providing global health expertise, experience, partnerships, and evidence-based public health and management advice.

Still not satisfied in your quest for knowledge? – See Dr. Ramchandani in person

Come see him speak live at our Global Health Town Hall March 31 @ 5:30 pm! This event will also celebrate Global Health Awards, Photo Contest winners and student graduations.

Graduations: Advocates in Global Health and Health Systems Certificate

Awards:

  • Dr. Ron Stewart Student Award
  • Dr. Jock Murray Resident Award
  • Dr. John Savage Memorial Faculty Award

Please RSVP: gho@dal.ca
Looking for more event information? dal.ca/globalhealth

See you there!

Image Courtesy of ColaLife.org

Image Courtesy of ColaLife.org

The Emerging Themes of Ebola: One Health

By: Benjamin Capps, Department of Bioethics, Faculty of Medicine, Dalhousie University
December 2014

 

I was invited to give a talk for an event on ‘Ebola: Perspectives on the Epidemic ̴ Where to Begin’ taking place on 20th November 2014.[1] The immediate ethical concerns of the outbreak were raised: the dire conditions of the people the disease is affecting, and the consequent response from the international community. However, an additional point to reflect upon was that Ebola, just one of many zoonotic diseases, raises questions that can be rendered with the broadest brush – the makros kósmos – the idea of a global health response.

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Benjamin Capps Image courtesy of the Department of Bioethics

Zoonotic viruses, diseases that transmit between humans and non-human animals, are intimately linked to ecological niches; each virus can be stirred from its environment through different connections,  and each has a different potential for illness, endemic and pandemic. Questions like ‘Why now?’ and ‘What next?’ are significant, then, not only in the local devastation that these diseases cause, but also in respect to their effect on the global community. For Ebola, at this point we are dealing in the unknowns and knowns of the ‘ecology of the virus’. This is because until now it has been found only in remote areas of Africa (but nevertheless decimating those communities it comes into contact with), and little was known about its potential for, and behaviour during an epidemic. We know little about the natural history of the virus – we still don’t know the reservoirs,[2] or why so rarely it emerges in human populations. However, I suspect that many – those studying the nature of the virus in its natural environment – thought that not only an outbreak of this magnitude was possible, but also likely; and filling these gaps will affect our ability to formulate clinical and ethical responses.

The emergence of zoonotic diseases is becoming ever more common; and they are cropping up in far more diverse places and often not always those that are remote, wilderness fringed communities (recently: bird flu in Canada, Germany, Netherlands and the UK; this year in South Korea, Japan and Malaysia). New kinds of zoonotic virus, such as Marburg, Hanta, Hendra, Nipah, and MERS viruses, are threatening humanity, our closest relatives (the great apes), and other animals at unprecedented levels;[3] and their effects on the wider ecologies (including how we respond to them) is devastating.

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Ebola virus Image courtesy of the CDC

We therefore need to appreciate how and why the environment only spits them out when challenged or stressed; why the viruses spill over and emerge in human populations only sometimes; and thereby understand how we might better avoid them altogether?[4]

In this respect, an emerging area of study, called One Health, is demonstrating that not only will a healthy ecology be less likely to send these viruses our way, but it can also protect us by buffering and ‘soaking up’ zoonoses.[5] So, we need to look to other solutions of prevention, not just the ‘pandemic plans’ that tend to decimate local animal populations (culling of domestic animals and local wildlife), threaten ecological diversity and socio-economic sustainability (the impacts on agricultural and cultural ecological co-dependence), and then tend only to be useful after the event and once human-to-human transmission is sustained.

Event poster courtesy of Dal Med GHI

Event poster courtesy of Dal Med GHI

Overall, we ought to be looking to better ways to minimise the emergence of these diseases through an ecological perspective; understanding not only the human effects and solutions that presences (vaccines, public health measures), but also the reservoirs, connections and drivers of disease emergence. It is clear that land use (mining, oil refining), deforestation, and urbanisation are having an unprecedented effect on these ecological niches; so, we need to start accounting for local needs – including land management, like farming and husbandry; economic and political priorities in these countries that are most at risk; and the global interactions that are conditional on disease emergence.

These debates need to start off on better footing, by engaging with a much broader expert base and expanding traditional and often too narrow public health concerns.[6] This dialog must include veterinarians, biologists, ecologists and anthropologists; and as diverse as economists and historians. The risks are known, if not well understood, and we need to develop ideas about how human beings can better and more effectively live within the ecology that potentially harbours these diseases.

2015_ebolablog

[1] My thanks to the organiser of the event, Suzanne Clarke, a MED2 Student from the Faculty of Medicine, Dalhousie University. Suzanne also assisted with the drafting of this blog. The event was presented by Dal Med Global Health Initiative, Dalhousie University Global Health Office, Capital Health, Dalhousie Medical Students Society, Health Association of African Canadians & The Tropical Medicine Student Interest Group, and broadcast in multiple locations across The Maritimes, Canada. The opinions expressed here are my own.

[2] Probably bats; but we still don’t know how it gets into them, how it resides there, or how it then emerges in susceptible populations like human beings and other primates; Plowright, R. et al. 2015. Ecological Dynamics of Emerging Bat Virus Spillover. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 282: 20142124; Pignott, D. et al. 2014. Mapping the Zoonotic Niches of Ebola Virus Disease in Africa. eLife 3: e04395.

[3] See: Genton, C. et al. 2014. How Ebola Impacts Social Dynamics in Gorillas: A multistate Modeling Approach. Journal of Animal Ecology doi: 10.1111/1365-2656.12268; Walsh, P. et al. 2007. Natural History Miscellany: Potential for Ebola Transmission between Gorilla and Chimpanzee Social Groups. The American Naturalist 169: 684-689.

[4] Capps, B., Bailey, M., Bickford, D., Coker, R., Lederman, Z., Lover, A., Lysaght, T., and Tambyah, P. (In press; 2014). Introducing One Health to the Ethical Debate about Zoonotic Diseases in South East Asia. Bioethics.

[5] See: N. Harris & R. Dunn. Species Loss on Spatial Patterns and Composition of Zoonotic Parasites. Proc R Soc B 2013; 280: 20131847; F. Keesing, et al. Impacts of Biodiversity on the Emergence and Transmission of Infectious Diseases. Nature 2010; 468: 647–652.

[6] Capps, B. and Lederman, Z. 2014. One Health and Paradigms of Public Biobanking. Journal of Medical Ethics.Online first doi:10.1136/medethics-2013-101828.

Profound Learning @ Global Health Rounds

By Sarah Boucard, Outreach Assistant, Global Health Office

 

Some of my favorite learning experiences, whether inside or outside the classroom, have been those lead by passionate individuals. When someone loves their work, it reads in their face, in the way they lecture, and in their willingness to share their experiences and mentor others. This is why I would like to invite you to join me in attending Global Health Rounds, on the 3rd Wednesday of each month, held by your very own Global Health Office. Each of these sessions highlights a different global health activity at Dalhousie or a contemporary global health challenge through presentations and talks by leaders in the field. The rounds are a forum for discussion, questions, and interaction. Each has left me with more than just increased knowledge on the topic at hand.

gho_2014_rounds

The intimate setting has given me an opportunity to meet like-minded people, network, and pursue different opportunities. So far, two sessions have been held. The first, was on social accountability within medical schools and was led by Ms. Shawna O’Hearn, Director of the Global Health Office, and Dr. Jeff Kirby at the Department of Bioethics. The second, lead by Dr. Des Leddin at the Faculty of Medicine, was titled “Health Education; Can the Net Level the Playing Field?”. He spoke of international partnerships in the establishment of specialty care centres in other countries. The facets of global health explored by these leaders are relevant to health professionals, researchers, and the public alike. As an emerging health care administrator, my own values and understanding have been tested through these rounds when I learned the value of establishing specialty facilities in developing countries, even when some of the most basic health care needs still have to be met.

I have to say, I felt as though I was being exposed to “inside information” throughout these discussions, candid and unpublished truths from the mouths of the experts themselves.

Jeffkirby

Jeff Kirby, Courtesy of Dalhousie Faculty of Medicine

The next upcoming Global Health Round is with Bob Huish, Assistant Professor, Department of International Development Studies. He will explore the topic of “Why does Cuba care so much about Ebola? Understanding the Solidarity Approach to Global Health”. I hope to see you all there!  November 19, 2014 @ 5-6pm Tupper G-36, DMNB Saint John Rm 218.

For more information: Global Health Rounds

Youth PhotoVoice Exhibit: Healthy Communities

All were welcome last Thursday to browse a very important collection of photos at the North Memorial Public Library. This collection was the result of the dedication and hard work of youth from St George’s YouthNet and the Needham Community Centre. They came together to engage in a community based participatory action project, facilitated by a group of medical students at Dalhousie University. Although this team of 8 medical students reached out to initiate the project, George’s YouthNet and the Needham Community Centre were the key drivers and youth leaders were involved in each project session.

Community members who came to see the exhibit

Community members who came to see the exhibit

The project ran from Spring to Fall of 2014. The objective was to provide youth with a creative and safe means of self expression in order to explore what a healthy community meant to them. Dalhousie’s medical students were eager to take their education outside the classroom and engage with and learn from youth in the community. As the team put it, “We felt that the youth perspective is often unheard especially with regards to issues that affect them.”

We felt that the youth perspective is often unheard especially with regards to issues that affect them.

Dr. Ingrid Waldron speaking with an attendee

Dr. Ingrid Waldron speaking with an attendee

This is how the PhotoVoice team of medical students described their role in the project:

Our role as facilitators was to ask the youth important questions about their lived experiences within the context of the community they reside. After engaging youth with some critical questions, we then asked the youth to take pictures of elements in their community that affected their lived experience. The youth then explained why they took certain photos and what some of the issues they were trying to convey through the photos were. At this time, youth also discussed how the photos meant different things to them and how their perspectives about issues affecting their community paralleled or differed. It was an opportunity for some of the participants to also share aspects of the history and events that occurred in their community, linking past municipal and provincial choices to their current situation.   

Community members were invited to write their responses to the images

Community members were invited to write their responses to the images

The goal of photoVoice is to promote action. It is hoped that the youths’ ideas and thoughtful work, once made available for the community to see in this way, will spark interesting discussion among community members about what actions the community would like to take based on some of the narratives and photographs from the youth.

Dalhousie PhotoVoice team

Dalhousie PhotoVoice team

To learn more about PhotoVoice please visit their website.

Courtesy of Youth Photovoice Exhibit

Courtesy of Youth Photovoice Exhibit

Global Health Day 2014

By Sarah Boucaud, Outreach Assistant, Global Health Office

 

This past Tuesday the Tupper Link was lined with posters and busy with faculty, residents and students; September 23rd marked this year’s Global Health Day. The event, hosted by the Global Health Office, provided an opportunity for students, residents, faculty and the community to share their experiences in global health research and education, and engage with others who share their passion. Thank you to all those who attended and made this year’s event a success!

Welcome to Global Health Day 2014

Welcome to Global Health Day 2014

You could see and hear the enthusiasm in the room, with the excited chatter, eager gesturing, and cheerful smiles. Many of Dalhousie’s global health community and partners attended. Students from Occupational Therapy, Nursing, Medicine, Dentistry and Health Administration made their way around and in between the posters. Also in attendance was Dean of Medicine Dr. Tom Marrie and a special guest from Tanzania, Thecla Kohi.

Occupational Therapy students Dalhousie

Occupational Therapy students Dalhousie

 

Shawna O'Hearn, Global Health Office, Cher Smith and Dr. Lee Kirby, Wheelchair Skills Program, Division of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation.

Shawna O’Hearn, Global Health Office, Cher Smith and Dr. Lee Kirby, Wheelchair Skills Program, Division of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation.

 

Dr. Noni MacDonald, Dalhousie University/IWK Health Centre. MicroResearch in East Africa

Dr. Noni MacDonald, Dalhousie University/IWK Health Centre. MicroResearch in East Africa

The presented posters demonstrated the broad range of global health initiatives undertaken at Dalhousie. A group of Dalhousie students representing the Dalhousie Student-led Clinic Steering Committee presented their poster on Building a student-led, interprofessional community health initiative in Halifax, in which they highlighted their work on developing a student run clinic in our community. Research in Medicine students shared their work as well. For example, Emma Sumner’s poster was based on her work in the Evaluation of outcomes of a specialized seating program for children in a low resources setting.

Emma Sumner, Dalhousie Medicine New Brunswick (DMNB)

Emma Sumner, Dalhousie Medicine New Brunswick (DMNB)

When it comes to the international facet of global health, international surgery and international anesthesia also presented. And of course, Dalhousie’s Global Health Office offered posters detailing a variety of student programs, including the Local Global Health Elective and Summer Programs with partners in The Ghambia and Tanzania, to name name a few. In addition, there was a poster for the Global Health Advocates Certificate, with a reminder that the application deadline is October 3rd. 2014!

Allan Kember, Dalhousie Medical student

Allan Kember, Dalhousie Medical student

A steady stream of visitors wove in and out of posters, lingered to network, and participated in the Global Health Day draw. This year’s winners were Chad Klassen and Megha Vatsya, each taking home a global health book (When People Come First: Critical Studies in Global Health). Participants and visitors were so engrossed in coversation, individuals stayed until the last poster board was taken down at the end of the session.

 

 

Collaborating to improve health worldwide

Dalhousie departments, schools and faculties are involved with global health projects around the world. The reach of these initiatives and the network of partnerships formed along the way reflects the deep rooted passion for global health found at Dalhousie.  As the Global Health Office, we work at every level to enhance and promote these efforts.  One such collaboration is our work with the Department of Psychiatry and their Global Psychiatry group who foster partnerships for healthier minds across the globe. Two of these partnerships were recently featured in September’s issue of Headlines, the Department of Psychiatry’s newsletter. The first, is with Trinidad, and the second, while in Canada, is an example of a local global health initiative.

Training in Trinidad

Recently, Global Psychiatry began training in Prevention and Management of Aggression and Violence in Trinidad. Similar training was being provided in Tobago when the Ministry of Health Mental Health Planning Unit in Trinidad approached Global Psychiatry with the request. The project has grown since its inception and now includes training for staff in ministries outside the direct realm of mental health, including, Education, People and Social Development, Justice, Emergency Response, and Maintenance and Training Services. This growth was largely spurred from the drive of Ms. Trudy Rouse who saw a need for cross-government agency training. The next phase of the project will involve delivering a train-the trainer model to 10 of the participants, scheduled for September and November.

Update from NWT

Within Canadian borders, we find Global Psychiatry’s Dr. Arlene MacDougall, who was the 2013 recipient of our Dr. Jock Murray Global Health Award for Resident Leadership, and Dr. Bianca Horner who is well established in global health. With the support of a variety of stakeholders, they facilitated the development of an integrated collaborative step care model for mental health in primary care in the Northwest Territories. This collaboration included senior leaders, service providers, researchers and the Government. They are now working with these stakeholders to help oversee the establishment and evaluation of a pilot site in Yellowknife. The longer-term vision is to eventually adapt and expand the model to smaller communities across the territories.

Please see the September issue of Headlines for more details on these stories and more!

The network of reciprocal relationships, with the intent of benefitting our partners, truly enriches the learning experience of students and faculty members at Dalhousie. With the new academic year ahead, take the opportunity to get involved in global health. The Global Health Office is a great place to start. Check out our website at http://gho.medicine.dal.ca