Prior to departure for this conference, people always asked me why I was going. The best reason I could give was that not only was it about learning new things in relation to global health, but also that the things I learned would impact my future career. As a second year Health Science student, knowing what is inevitable for my career is hard. I find I have varied interests and while most people’s studies are become more focused, I feel as if my interests are expanding. I was hoping the Global Health conference would be able to give me some much needed insight on certain topics in health to help me decide if it was something I wanted to pursue further in my studies and the conference did not disappoint me in this search. By talking to renowned researchers, professors and ministers of health, I truly understand that it is not about “selecting” a certain area of health and focusing on it, but your personal path is for you to decide and it is encouraged to be uniquely diverse.
I think it’s important to go into every experience with an open mind. My goal for the conference was to attend as many diverse sessions as possible. From a neurological health session, and one on Media use and it’s affect on Global Health, I can definitely say I learned a lot about fascinating topics. I learned about environmental sustainability projects that are such simple ideas, but could easily support and sustain a community for years to come. I learned about the affects of media on public health and how our current “popular” children’s television shows such as Sesame street have impacted our current public health knowledge on a global level. These all have nothing in common, which is what made them such fascinating presentations.
For future conferences, some feedback I would give ( other than that it was awesome) would be to create groups based on common interests ( ex based on streams or conference topics). It would make it a lot easier to get to know other students from Western and it could also spark big academic discussions about conference presentations. I found the conference had a lot of different topics and presentations which was both great and overwhelming and I would of loved more time to research the presenters themselves. Possibly, what could be cool was if weekly or every few days, it was posted into the Facebook group the “biography” of a presenter as well as what topic they would be presenting and at what time.