By Michelle Amri and Rupi Chera
This year’s Canadian Conference on Global Health (CCGH) was focused on “Governance for Global Health: Power, Politics, and Justice,” yielding an opportunity to host critical and crucial discussions around global health. These conversations were fostered through the various attendees, including scholars, activists, healthcare professionals, policy-makers, and more, each bringing a new perspective and shedding light on unique areas.
For example, one interesting point raised in a panel session was around “fragmented health systems,” with the speaker rhetorically asking “who fragmented it?” With the dangers of vertical programming being well-known, this question raises important areas for interrogation: particularly how we can achieve a seamless system, working to improve multi-sectoral action.
We believe these discussions are what can drive the field of global health forward. Without critically engaging and questioning “why?” and “how?” we may be aimlessly working with our heads down, missing the bigger picture.
These larger discussions are a crucial component of the Canadian Society for International Health’s MentorNet program. MentorNet connects Students and Young Professionals (SYPs) interested in global health with experts in the field for conversation and coaching over a period of eight months. These questions are the backbone of the program, which is a curriculum of more than 40 diverse educational modules in global health, including: Canada’s role in global health - Research and challenges; Critically examining issues in global health; Global health policy and governance; Health promotion; International trade and health; Non-communicable diseases; One health; Social determinants of health and social justice; Sustainable development goals; Trends in global health; and Unintended consequences of global health.
As representatives of MentorNet at the CCGH, we had the great honour and pleasure to witness and engage in asking these questions with some attendees. However, with hundreds of participants, it was nearly impossible to connect with everyone. As such, we are calling on all those interested in global health — whether you were present at CCGH and beginning to ask these big questions, or not — to consider joining us in our mission to foster these discussions and build relationships in the broad field of global health. Consider applying as either a mentor or SYP in the next program year.
Ultimately, we have the opportunity to make global health a friendlier and more critical space. Please join our call to embrace this challenge.