I believe my experience at the 2015 Unite for Sight Global Health and Innovation conference at Yale will influence both my professional and personal life for the next few decades to come. I am incredibly grateful to have been granted the opportunity to attend and to represent the School of Health Studies of Western University with the support of the Student Opportunity Fund.
The conference was full of opportunities and the number of options for concurrent sessions was overwhelmingly difficult to choose from. Although I’ve taken the Global Health Promotion course at Western, I really had no idea what about Global Health I was really interested in. Being very mindful that some of these sessions were going to be very academic with studies, theories and models, others were more about abstract concepts and out of the box innovative thinking. For me, it wasn’t about learning the facts and numbers or the newest technologies of global health, I had a keen interest on how leaders in public health and social entrepreneurs think about the issues and the solutions, and the reason behind their way of thinking. The sessions that I learned the most from and will continue to influence my career development were sessions such Capacity Building, Narrative Justice, and Learning to Think Backwards by the ED of GE Foundation David Barash, Emmy-Award winning filmmaker Lisa Russell, and CEO of Matchboxology Cal Bruns respectively. In engaging in twitter interactions and small group problem solving, I had the opportunity to network with other public health specialists and learn more about the work that they do, why they do it, and how they got there to help inform me in my next steps after graduation if I want to pursue a career in public health and global health.
The conference showed me the world of NGO work, and how rewarding and consuming the work can be, and provided me with a new perspective and resources if I ever consider doing NGO work. During the conference, I felt a strong sense of burden and social responsibility to use the knowledge I have gained from my Health Sciences degree and to work with communities, organizations and systems to achieve sustainable change and more equitable outcomes. After the conference, I have gained a new appreciation for the work of public health and global health initiatives. I look forward to future opportunities to explore this area further.