Global Health: An Interdisciplinary Approach, letting students and community members collaborate on current issues in global health

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Courtesy of Varuska Patni and Courtesy of Varuska Patni | The Daily Wildcat UA medical students gather at the 2016 Global Health Conference on Jan 16. Members of the conference proposed an interdisciplinary approach to confronting global health issues.

The Arizona Global Health Conference, held Jan. 16, gave students and Tucson community members the opportunity to learn about global health issues prevalent today.

This student-run conference was designed to increase awareness regarding global health and to encourage student participation through roundtable discussions and hands-on activities.

Members from the Global Health Forum and students in UA College of Medicine’s global health distinction track selected this year’s theme of Global Health: An Interdisciplinary Approach.

The conference took a more multidisciplinary approach this year in order to help the community understand that improving global health is dependant on the collaboration of many disciplines. The 2016 Global Health Conference had over 200 participants from the UA College of Medicine in Tucson and Phoenix, the nursing, law, business, pharmacy and public health undergraduate programs and members of the Tucson community.

“A multidisciplinary team effort is critical to address global health challenges, identify the needs of different communities and establish evidenced-based solutions in order to potentiate growth and create sustainability,” said Kimberly Golisch, the Global Health Conference’s promotions and outreach chair.

Several keynote speakers discussed community wellness worldwide and international healthcare work.

A roundtable discussion allowed participants to interact with one another and delve deeper into specific global health topics such as social entrepreneurship or misconceptions in global health.

Each discussion featured participants from various backgrounds as they were brought a case involving a certain patient with a global health issue. The goal was to work together to find the best solution to the problem.

“It is really interesting to witness everyone’s point of view in tackling the situations based on their backgrounds,” said Ronald Velasquez, the Global Health Conference’s College of Pharmacy representative.

Participants also received exposure to hands-on activities important to global health, such as a suture clinic and low-tech triage. Activities were directed toward giving attendees the basic skillset important in a global health setting.

“Participants can find an activity based on their interests, and the activities also raise awareness about the reality of working in global health,” said J-Lynne Brown, president of Global Health Alliance and conference co-chair.

“The conference was a success,” said Rinku Skaria, co-chair of the conference. “And we hope to attract an even more diverse group of attendees and speakers in the upcoming years.”


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