Interprofessional Health Education – Living Library

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An Interprofessional Health Education Living Library event will be taking place on Dalhousie campus on March 2, 2016. A Living Library is like a normal library, but the books are people who share their experiences with attendees. Participants are able to rent out books and ask them questions related to their expertise. Each human book discusses a specific topic: HIV/AIDS, International LGBTQ Healthcare, Sex Industry and Healthcare, Culture, International Community Development, Person-First Language, Reproductive Justice and Global Health Internships/Electives in Tanzania are just a few of the books you will find at this event!

Living Library is based on the previously evaluated and successful European model, which began in Denmark in 2000 and has spread around the world. A group of 5 students taking a program planning class at Dalhousie, are responsible for planning, facilitating and evaluating this event. They meet twice weekly along with mentor Braden Kingdon, in order to ensure that the event will be successful.

Upon arrival, students and community members will be required to register by writing their name, program/profession and number of years studying/working. Students requiring an IPHE credit will be able to use this event to fulfill the requirement. These students can register through the Blackboard Learn portal. In order to fulfill the full 3-hour IPHE credit, students will be provided with background readings in order to prepare for the event, and will be required to complete a short assignment on what they have learned from the experience. Upon registration, students can choose the books they would like to rent out. Two students will rent out a book at a time – but they must be from different professions in order to encourage interdisciplinary conversation. Community members will be encouraged to join pairs of students and add to the conversation.

The event will run for 1.5 hours, with a 40 minute debrief session at the ending. This will be in the form of a large group discussion about the event. Attendees will be encouraged to fill out a brief feedback form, in hopes of gaining valuable, honest feedback from the participants for future events.

Marc-Andre Gionet, one of the students working on the event, described the goal of the event as follows:

“The Living Library will be a positive experience for all participants, bringing together a collaborative network in order to bring awareness to underrepresented populations. At the end, the hope is that the participants will walk away more accepting, receptive, and non-judgemental, [as evidenced] while providing services now, and in the future.”

We are looking forward to learning through experiences at the Living Library! We hope to see you there on March 2nd.

Local Partnerships: Dartmouth North Community Food Centre in Focus

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Have you ever heard the saying “think global, act local?” This phrase was first used in the context of environmental challenges, however, it is becoming more and more relevant to the field of Global Health. Global health focuses on achieving health equity for all people, worldwide. Global health issues transcend national borders, and often impact those in our own communities. Therefore, we can begin to combat global issues by addressing them on a local scale.

The Dalhousie Global Health Office partners with a number of organizations in both Halifax and Saint John to provide a Local Global Health Elective program to first and second year medical students. The Local Global Health Elective is a half-year elective, which complements family medicine placements with community and social service organizations. This elective helps students develop a broad understanding of the health of socially marginalized groups in their own communities, and the services available to address their needs. The Dalhousie Global Health Office is also exploring building service learning opportunities to be launched in fall 2016. Stay tuned for more information about our exciting new Service Learning opportunities with UGME the coming months!

One of our newest partner organizations is the Dartmouth North Community Food Centre (CFC), a project of the Dartmouth Family Centre. The Dartmouth Family Centre is located in North Dartmouth, an under-served and high needs area: 13.5% of the population in this area is aged 65+, 31% of households are single-parents families, and 6.4% of the population are immigrants, a number that is expected to grow in coming years. The Dartmouth North CFC aims to increase the number of new entry points for families with young children, providing the community with a gathering space while expanding food access and skill-building opportunities. Community members come together to grow, cook, share and advocate for good food, through a variety of programs including a food distribution initiative, community kitchens and community gardens. You can learn more about how the Dartmouth North Family Centre combats local global health issues on their Website, Facebook or Twitter.

To learn more about our Local Global Health Elective opportunities, as well as our other offerings, check out our Website. As always, for information on our upcoming events, please check out our Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

 

 

 

International Electives: A Student Perspective

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PASADA, Area 1 (Photo: Braden Kingdon)

 

The deadline to apply for a 2016 summer Global Health Elective is February 5 at 4pm. These programs allow you to work on an interprofessional team with one of our international partner organizations, and to be mentored by a Dalhousie faculty member. These programs are available to students in Medicine (first & second year), Health Professions and Dentistry. We offer pre-departure training sessions for all students participating in international electives, and students complete in-country orientation. These elective opportunities (observerships) are available for the summer months in Tanzania, Ghana and Thailand.

The Tanzania Summer Program offers hands-on experience to learn about the Tanzanian healthcare system with our partner, Pastoral Activities and Services for People with AIDS Dar es Salaam Archdiocese (PASADA). While at PASADA, you’ll see an innovative community-based model for providing HIV and AIDS services, while working with highly-skilled Tanzanian staff.

Dalhousie student Braden Kingdon was a PASADA intern during the summer of 2015. In order to give you a better idea of what the PASADA internship entails, we asked him a few questions about his experience.

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Bongoyo Island, 20 minute Ferry ride from Dar es Salaam (Photo: Braden Kingdon).

 

1. How did you hear about the PASADA internship?

The program manager at the time contacted me personally through email about the opportunity. I am President of the Recreation Department Society at Dalhousie; she requested that I spread the word through our program. After spreading the word and thinking hard about it, I decided to apply myself as well.

 

2. What was your role as an intern at PASADA? What projects did you work on?

I was a part of a wide range of projects while at PASADA. I was initially sent out there with the intent of working with children who were living with HIV/AIDS, running health and safety clinics. This all changed upon my arrival in Dar es Salaam. I was working with the children yes, but only on Tuesdays for half of the day. For most of the other days I was working in the Key Populations (KP) Department, we tested and treated people within the marginalized communities of men who have sex with men (MSM), female sex workers (FSW), and injection drug users (IDUs). The KP department team would travel out into the communities to meet people at their homes with a mobile clinic. While back from the community, in the office I was mainly doing research. I was helping the medical director at PASADA put his dissertation together for publication in the Tanzanian Journal of Health Research. While helping him, I was also developing a research proposal for PASADA to help gain some funding and further their understanding of the MSM community. This was done through focus groups, personal interviews, and questionnaires. The overarching goal was to keep pushing towards increases in access to healthcare for the MSM community in Tanzania.

 

3. Was pre-departure training helpful in enriching your experience in Tanzania? 

I believe it was helpful in enriching my experience in Tanzania. The material covered in the training was great at outlining safety precautions and travelling tips. The cultural aspect was a brief overview of what I was to expect, but it did not prepare me for the vast difference in way of living. In my opinion, this portion of the experience must be gained from actual exposure to the culture; no book or story will truly prepare you for the greatness that is the Tanzanian culture.

 

4. What have you learned from your experience in Tanzania? Has this impacted your day to day in Halifax?

My experience in Tanzania has taught me about the importance of living in the moment. Growing up in Canada we are all driven on this straight path towards success, if you fall off it you are often considered a failure. My time in Tanzania opened my mind up to the journey as opposed to just the end goal. If I ever had a bad day, my colleagues would lift me up and make me realize that I can only change what I can control, everything else is not worth worrying about. This has definitely followed me back to Halifax. Without the stress of worrying about uncontrollable factors I am able to focus on the tasks at hand, while enjoying the journey through life.

 

5. Drawing on your experience partnering with PASADA through the Global Health Office, how would you define a successful partnership?

I would define a successful partnership as one that has continual open communication, trust, and a mutually beneficial outcome. This is definitely something I feel the Global Health Office and PASADA had throughout my internship. I was able to contact anyone from the Global Health Office while in Tanzania, and the team at PASADA was an exceptional group of hosts. From teaching me Kiswahili to taking me to the beach for a sunset, it was a successful partnership inside and outside the walls of the clinic.

 

6. What advice do you have for Dalhousie students who are interested in the PASADA internship program?

My first piece of advice would be definitely apply because it will be the best summer (or term) of your life! I would also advise them to leave any preconceptions in Canada, it is likely that everyday will be a surprise and different from the last. It is also important to conquer your fears while you are there. Especially if you are in my case and you are by yourself for a while. Leave your comfort zone and go outside, walk around the city, there is so much to do! I found great friends in the American Peace Corp group who is always in Tanzania, and travels through Dar es Salaam regularly. But, do not limit yourself to this group of people. The staff at PASADA is very friendly and love to have fun, go to the movies with them, go to the beach with them, all you have to do is ask. 

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Local fish and chips on the beach (Photo: Braden Kingdon).

 

Thank you to Braden for taking time out of his busy schedule to share his PASADA experience with all of us! Braden has also kindly offered to answer any further questions you may have about the internship and his experience via e-mail.

Interested in International Electives? You can find more information on our offerings, as well as apply online, on our website. Remember – the deadline to apply is February 5 at 4pm!

GHO Pre-Departure Training Sessions

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Are you a Dalhousie student in Health Professions, Dentistry or Medicine planning an education experience abroad? The Global Health Office is here to help make your experience as meaningful as possible.

We offer one of the most advanced pre-departure training sessions available to students in Canada. Students must complete two sessions before departure, which are scheduled for Saturdays February 22, March 5 and March 26, 2016, 9:00am-3:30pm. In Halifax, these sessions will be held in Tupper Room G36 and in Saint John, they will be held in DMNB Room 218.

The pre-departure curriculum has been developed to help make the most of your experience, no matter where you plan to do an elective. Topics covered will include safety, logistics, ethics and cultural competency. We have also included a pre-departure checklist on our website, to guide you as you organize your international educational experience.

To register, please contact us at gho@dal.ca.

Connections Shape Global Health Success

By: Kyle Warkentin, BScN 3rd Year

 

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.

Dalhousie delegation at the 2015 Canadian Conference on Global Health

Dalhousie delegation at the 2015 Canadian Conference on Global Health

Showcasing Partnerships in Global Health: Global Health Open House and Living Library

By: Maria Wilson
Global Health Office Outreach Assistant
 

The annual Global Health Open House took place on Saturday October 3rd in the Tupper Link. This year’s theme was  “Shaping the Future through Partnerships.” In the spirit of partnership, the Global Health Office collaborated with the Dal Med Global Health Initiative (GHI) to offer a poster session, along with a Global Health Living Library. The poster session showcased educational initiatives and research projects that members of the Dalhousie community have undertaken with a diverse group of partners. Dr. Lori Weeks from the Faculty of Nursing spoke to attendees about her experience facilitating an interprofessional gerontology course including students from Canada, the USA and Norway. Second year MSc. Community Health and Epidemiology student Courtney Heisler presented a midterm evaluation of the Integrated Approach to Addressing the Issue of Youth Depression (IACD) in Malawi. Of her participation in the poster session, Heisler said:

Presenting at the 2015 Dalhousie University Global Health Open House was a fantastic opportunity to raise awareness of the work being done in adolescent mental health in Malawi by teenmentalhealth.org and Farm Radio International. The midterm evaluation of the IACD program highlights both the effectiveness of the program, and the need for continued investment in the mental health training of Malawians.

Second year MSc. Community Health & Epidemiology student Courtney Heisler with her poster at the 2015 Global Health Open House.

Stories that Bind: A Living Library of Healthcare Experiences brought in over twenty human “books” to share their unique perspectives with event attendees. Participants from a variety of backgrounds engaged in one-on-one discussions on topics including healthcare barriers faced by the visually impaired and deaf communities, the impact of experiencing and surviving racism on the health of women of African ancestry in Nova Scotia, and barriers and challenges that immigrants and refugees face when accessing healthcare. These conversations brought together individuals from across disciplines in order to gain a more robust picture of healthcare issues in our local and global communities through knowledge sharing.

Dal Med GHI hopes to make the Living Library an annual event, and is seeking feedback in order to grow and improve in the future. If you attended the Living Library event, you can help by filling out this short feedback form http://bit.ly/1K6CODn.

We would like to thank everyone who came out to both events, and we hope to see you next year! More photos from the event will be posted on the Global Health Office blog soon. If you would like more information on global health education and research opportunities, please check out the Dalhousie Global Health Office’s social media (links below) or contact us at gho@dal.ca.

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Welcome: Shaping the Future Through Partnerships

By: Shawna O’Hearn, Director, Global Health Office

Welcome to a New Year!

As September arrives, the noises of campus change from construction to students talking about health equity, diversity, global health and partnerships.  The Global Health Office has grown with a new service learning program, more established initiatives for African Nova Scotians through PLANS, international elective opportunities are growing and we are always identifying opportunities to continue embracing and supporting social accountability across the health faculties.

This year, our work will fall within the theme of “Shaping the Future Through Partnerships” and you will see multiple new initiatives throughout the year.  Please join us on Saturday October 3, 2015 in the Tupper Link from 1-4 pm as we host our annual Global Health Open House which will showcase the diversity within our programs, partnerships and reach across and beyond the campuses.

Global Health Open House Oct 3, 2015

Global Health Open House Oct 3, 2015

We are thrilled to be presenting our Open House in partnership with the Dal Med Global Health Initiative (GHI) who will be facilitating the Global Health Living Library: Stories that Bind, A Living Library of Healthcare Experiences, which allows us to bring together a stronger more collaorative voice of global health at Dalhousie.

Stories that Bind, A Living Library of Healthcare Experience

Stories that Bind, A Living Library of Healthcare Experience

We look forward to working with students, faculty and staff from across the multiple campuses at Dalhousie University and continuing to collaborate with our local and global partners.

Don’t be a stranger.  Come see us in person or through our virtual presence.

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Keep moving forward, stay open to opportunities

By: Michelle Patrick, program coordinator and Nikita Morris, camp participant

One of the highlights of being the program coordinator for PLANS* is the African Nova Scotian Health Sciences Camp. For the past two summers a fun-filled week for students of African descent in Grades 8-11 to learn more about the health professions and the opportunities available to them in post-secondary education has been coordinated. In collaboration with a number of departments across the Dalhousie University campus, these students participate in hands-on activities to give them a real sense of what it would be like to be a student in medicine, nursing, or occupational therapy – just to name a few.

African Nova Scotian Health Sciences Summer Camp 2015

African Nova Scotian Health Sciences Summer Camp 2015

This year we had over 50 applications from students across the province. From this group of amazing candidates, 20 students were selected representing all regional school boards as well as the French board. Three counsellors were hired, each studying health or science at the post-secondary level. The group stayed at LeMarchant Place, the newest residence on Dal’s campus and ate at the dining hall in Howe Hall. It was a fantastic week, but don’t take my word for it – here is a post from one of our campers!

-Michelle

My name is Nikita Morris and I am 16 years old. I attend CEC (Cobequid Educational Centre) in Truro and I am entering my grade twelve year. I didn’t even know this camp existed until my math teacher approached me in the halls at the end of the day. I was hurrying off to get to my bus when she stopped me and asked me if I would be interested in applying for the African Nova Scotian Health Science camp. At first I didn’t really want to go. I expected it to be like the last camp I went to – boring, strict counselors, nobody becoming actual friends, and not really learning anything new.

I was completely wrong about this camp. I finally stopped complaining and just went. I’ll admit that it was probably one of the best things I’ve experience in my life so far. I learned a ton of new things, like how to extract the DNA from a banana, how to give a tooth a filling, I learned what occupational therapy is, and the things they did in physiotherapy plus a whole lot more. The camp counselors, Liette, Karissa, and Nii were so nice and weren’t strict unless it was necessary. Which was hardly ever.  The first day of camp everyone bonded with each other and started talking to each other. One of my favorite things, besides how everyone got along, what I’ve leavened, and how cool the counselors were; was how they assigned us with a mentor. Not just a mentor for that session but a mentor for whenever we had a question about university or college, or how to apply for a scholarship. The mentors really listened to what you had to say and they even gave good advice. I really do plan on keeping in contact with my mentor this upcoming year.

Nikita Morris during hands-on session

Nikita Morris during hands-on session

There was never a dull moment at the camp and I loved every second of it. The thing that surprised me the most was how confident I was. Normally it takes me a minute to get used to people but not here. Everyone was so welcoming. We had a variety show and I actually got up and danced in front of people, which is something I hardly ever do. This camp really helped me with my confidence. I was always comfortable with talking to adults and shy talking to people my age. Being at this camp really helped me with being comfortable with talking to anyone.  I wish I could’ve stayed in the camp forever but I have to keep moving forward and continue to experience new things. My next steps are to graduate high school and go to university to study psychology. Though I’m interested in working in film I also want to study psychology. Who knows, maybe I’ll do both.

Anyone thinking about attending this camp I’d tell them to go for it. I’d tell them how much fun it is and the different types of health sciences that you learn and how much they’d most likely love it. It’s good to try new things and meet new people. It’s also fun staying in residence and getting free food. Aside from that I’d say how nobody is judgmental and they’re very welcoming. You never know, this may be the best thing you’ll experience all summer.

For more information on this program please visit our PLANS webpage or contact Michelle at michelle.patrick@dal.ca.

*Promoting Leadership in health for African Nova Scotians – PLANS – aims to increase the representation of African Nova Scotians in the health professions through strategic recruitment, support and education in the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Professions. For more information contact Michelle – michelle.patrick@dal.ca

“Hello nice people from the moon” – student blog

By: Jen LeBlanc
Outreach Coordinator, Global Health Office

 

Dalhousie Students in Tanzania

Dalhousie Students in Tanzania

This summer the global health office is supporting three Dalhousie University students completing research and internships in Tanzania. They are embracing this cultural and clinical experience with such enthusiasm and blogging about it as often as they can; so much so that we wanted to share some of their stories with you.  The students’ visit coincides with Ramadan, a holy month observed by Muslims worldwide that requires fasting from sunrise to sunset, and these bright students considered what this might mean before they arrived.

Before coming to Dar, I was apprehensive about Ramadan (the holy Islamic month in which Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset). I wasn’t sure if there would be restaurants open, would it be offensive to walk around with a water bottle? These were some serious concerns. However, despite the large Muslim population, Dar is fairly relaxed…..My favourite experience living in a largely Muslim city is the haunting call to prayer resounding above the sound of horns honking and crowds milling about the street. While I don’t understand the words, it still offers a feeling calm, and a sense of being transported from the hectic chaos that can be daily life.

To complement their research and placements the students are taking language classes.  This has been important for the students to learn some conversational Swahili which has offered them more meaningful interactions with friends and colleagues and has deepened their appreciation for the culture that surrounds them.  They are also enjoying the tastes of the local menus – sounds like they could write their own guide book on the best butter chicken in the neighbourhood.

It’s nice to see that they have also found some time to visit the National Museum and discovered items that are not only historically interesting but also related to their visit.

A little more on point with our purpose for being in Tanzania was the exhibit on the HIV epidemic. Which included some interesting cartoons from the 1980’s (the height of the AIDs crisis and before the availability of antiretroviral medications, when the diagnosis of HIV was the equivalent to a death sentence).

We are so proud of these students! They are doing amazing work and are wonderful ambassadors for Dalhousie. Their blog posts are short and sweet, because let’s face it – they are busy and we are glad they are spending so much time out exploring their surroundings. The benefit is that they give us a snapshot into this amazing experience and they allow these students to feel connected to someone or something bigger. If you would like to read some of these stories yourself please follow the blog link.

The Silver Thatch: A personal experience of the simplicity of cultural exchange

Sara Abdo
Student – School of Occupational Therapy, Dalhousie University
 
 
Donkey woven out of palm leaves

Donkey woven out of palm leaves

Reflecting on my academic, cultural and personal experience while completing a placement on Grand Cayman brings me to think of a series of memories and events surrounding the national tree, the Silver Thatch Palm (Coccothrinax proctorii).

As a student abroad, I spent most of my time trying to understand and immerse myself in Cayman culture but on Palm Sunday; I was able to share some of my culture with two local friends. Following the service at Cayman Islands Baptist Church, I was able to share Coptic (Egyptian) Orthodox traditions for the same holiday as I taught two of my friends how to weave a donkey out of palm leaves. This was a cultural tradition I adopted years prior, and one that made me feel at home while away from home. For my friends, weaving came naturally as it was a part of their national heritage.

Weaving is a common occupation in Cayman and Egyptian culture. In Cayman culture, it is a way to celebrate identity and historical and cultural roots. The Silver Thatch is endemic to Cayman Islands and captures its natural heritage. In as early as the 1700’s it was used to produce items such as hats, baskets, and rope, as the leaves are tough, and resistant to the effects of salt water. In Egypt, palms are also used to produce similar items, but in the Coptic culture, making donkeys on Palm Sunday was a way to commemorate Christ’s entry into Jerusalem.

Reflecting on this memory, I see how it captured occupation and validated its value and representation of a person’s identity. For me, weaving facilitated communication, formulation of community bonds, and knowledge exchange. In these small moments, I was able to witness the just how much of an occupation tells you about a person and allows for relationships to bond.

As a health care professional, it captured a journey towards cultural sensitivity and awareness and showed how easily occupation can build on relationships. Although the people that I bonded with were not clients, it showed me how occupation can be used to implement a greater understanding of the people you work with day to day. It demonstrated a beautiful and natural way of building relationships and how important it is to understand the value of the “little” things that people do day to day and just how much it tells you about a person, about yourself, and to value what you both have to offer one another. And from that, it gave me a new perspective to share with future students hoping to complete a placement abroad.