Blog Global Health Center

2020 Global Health Week: An amazing virtual success

Written by Global Health Student Advisory Committee Members, Rama Balasubramaniam, McKelvey School of Engineering; Blake Sells, School of Medicine; and Hailey Spaeth, Arts & Sciences

The Global Health Center, its Global Health Student Advisory Committee (GHSAC), the Women in Global Health- Midwest Chapter and all seven WashU schools — Arts & Sciences, Brown School, McKelvey School of Engineering, Olin Business School, Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts, School of Law and School of Medicine —coordinated the 6th Annual Global Health Week. The virtual format engaged more than 880 participants who learned about topics from global access to medicines to air pollution, race and COVID in the U.S.

The advisory committee organized three “meet and greet” events during the week to connect students with external speakers. On Monday, undergraduate and graduate students had the opportunity to speak with Judit Rius Sanjuan, JD, United Nations Development Programme, who is an expert on using law and policy to increase access to medication and vaccines. The group had an insightful discussion into what policies nonprofits can use to increase biomedical product access and global vaccine dissemination in the time of COVID.

Roopa Dhatt, MD, Women in Global Health, zoomed with students after her presentation on gender responsive health security. We discussed ways to elevate the voices of women experts when creating policy and how men can be better allies to women in global health. This was an excellent opportunity to learn more about how NGOs are run and to interact with someone working with multinational organizations that aim to reduce healthcare disparities.

Finally, David Sack, MD, Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, shared his experiences working with cholera in Bangladesh and Africa. Students and global health professionals discussed the social and economic implications of cholera interventions, applications to the COVID-19 pandemic, and possible uses of GIS technology.

Panel discussion on Zoom.

The final event of the week was a panel discussion called “Let’s Talk Diverse Global Health Careers!” Students and global health professionals heard directly from Washington University faculty engaged in global health work. Panelists included Arts & Sciences faculty members Cindy Brantmeier, PhD and Krista Milich, PhD; Brown School faculty member Proscovia Nabunya, PhD; School of Medicine faculty member Gary Weil, MD; Sam Fox faculty member Penina Laker, MFA; and McKelvey faculty member Fangqiong Ling, PhD. In an engaging panel discussion, faculty members described how they became interested in their global health research. Additionally, faculty members discussed challenges in sustaining a global health career, especially given the current pandemic.

Subsequently, panel attendees were broken up into small groups and sent to breakout rooms. In the first breakout room session, panelists and attendees discussed changes in the global health field and ensuring that changes made are effective and sustainable. For example, Dr. Nabunya discussed the impact of globalization and international communication on global health work. In the second breakout session, panelists and attendees sought advice from one another about engaging deeply in the field of global health and how to seek different opportunities during the pandemic. Dr. Brantmeier and Dr. Milich emphasized the importance of multidisciplinary work and reaching out to global health professionals about their work.

Breakout Room Discussion on Zoom
Breakout Room Discussion