Report From Ottawa –The Canadian Global Health Conference

Global Health: a Humanitarian Crisis? With this urgent theme, the Canadian Society for International Health (CSIH) is holding its annual conference here in Ottawa.  CSIH LogoRecognizing the progress and successes in the arena of Global Health, one of the messages of this conference is to not forget the crisis of the billions of people around the world living on less than $2.00 per day.  With this reality, much of the focus here has been on issues of equity.

While the sessions and sharing of ideas have been strong and fruitful, I have found a remarkable effort almost behind the scenes here to include and involve students in this professional conference.  I have had the opportunity this year to speak with students in Australia, the UK, the US, and now here in Canada and in all places the interest in Global Health is continuing to grow.  Everywhere I go, I find students looking for career paths and guidance in the field of Global Health.  Here in Ottawa, I have seen a level of inclusion, mentoring, and respect for students that I have never seen before.  Students from across Canada are here with financial and moral support from their schools and students themselves are engaged with the academic world as well as the professional world.  Students are taken seriously here and they are responding and rising to that expectation.  It is a lesson for Global Health educators around the world to heed.

The leadership of CSIH, as well as the national academic leaders are setting the example by intentionally engaging in efforts to cultivate, nurture and mentor the Global Health professionals of the future not just in the classroom, and not just though international trips but in their own offices and their daily work.  Because they are truly engaging and listening to the students, educators are also able to take the appropriate next steps to advance Global Health education and not just marvel at the surge in student interest.  Great work has been done on a set of Global Health Core Competencies that can serve as a much needed foundation for faculty and students alike.

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