Global health is about striving to make the world a healthier place. It’s about achieving equity in basic health and ensuring that it is a fundamental right for all—an ideal that is far from reality for millions of people around the world. The plain truth is that access to even the most basic health care in many countries is a luxury few are privileged enough to experience. The bold question is where the solutions to these challenges lie.
Being a Transformative Force for Global Health
Institutions of higher education like McGill University are melting pots of thought-provoking ideas, fresh approaches and exploratory endeavors—just the right ingredients needed to bring about transformations in the field of global health.
McGill’s Global Health Programs (GHP) has taken the reins in bringing together the university’s vast global health initiatives that span an array of schools, departments, institutes and centres within and outside the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences in addition to dozens of student organizations. Its overarching goal is to enhance collaboration among researchers, teams and external partners working in global health by creating an environment that optimizes the outcome of their work.
Meeting a Growing Demand
In its quest to help McGill entities offer high-quality education and training in global health, and enhance capacity in resource-limited settings, GHP helps garner funding to send students abroad to complete global health clinical and research projects, as well as backing student-driven initiatives both on- and off-campus. In addition, every year, McGill GHP hosts a unique Summer Institute in Infectious Diseases and Global Health that attracts key stakeholders from low to middle-income countries to participate in professional development courses along with academics, health professionals and researchers from around the world.
McGill’s reputation in research is at a level that rivals some of the top institutions in the world. GHP aims to help facilitate and conduct innovative and interdisciplinary research that aligns with policies in addressing critical global health challenges and priorities.
Building and strengthening strategic partnerships, both at home and abroad such as the Manipal-McGill Program for Infectious Diseases in India, involves nurturing the translation and exchange of knowledge and skills, as well as promoting advocacy and policy implementation. McGill faculty members boast long-standing relationships with academic groups and consortia around the world, which foster in-depth research, capacity-building projects and student exchanges.
The recent increased presence of GHP at McGill has led to the following accomplishments over the last three years:
- Establishment of the Steinberg Global Health Postdoctoral Fellowship Program;
- Establishment of the Global Health Scholars programs which are open to McGill students of all faculties;
- Launch of the McGill Summer Institute in Infectious Diseases and Global Health, which attracts hundreds of participants from dozens of countries for short courses at McGill;
- Creation of a widely popular course within the Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics, and Occupational Health, which boasts a diverse roster of students from the faculties of Medicine, Science, Arts and Engineering;
- Leverage of small amounts of funding to raise matching funds in support of McGill’s Global Health teams.
Fostering Global Health Leaders in the Making
Students often feel a need to contribute to issues of global health, as they become more and more connected to the world we live in and perceive themselves as global citizens. What better place to nurture this desire than within a university setting, where they can be exposed to the best in education and research led by some of the top academics in the world, and be easily connected to spectacular international projects. It is also vital to ensure that faculty members benefit from potential funding, and are able to access innovations that can address a myriad of global health challenges. Having a central body that unites the necessary people, infrastructure and funding, both at the university and in settings where work is being carried out, is an essential part of any thriving global health program, as is the facilitation of effective partnerships with governments, foundations, and partner institutions in resource-limited settings.
So, what do students and faculty think? Here’s what a few students and faculty members say about their experiences being part of projects that have been supported by GHP:
“This experience reinforced the importance of ensuring access to proper health care regardless of gender, religion or geographical location both at home and abroad.”
Estelle Chétrit, recipient, Medical Class of '65 Student Bursary
“Not only did I learn about the challenges of doing global health research and project implementation, but I gained insight on how global health partnerships are made and grow.”
Abbey Mahon, recipient, Mary A. Metcalf Travel Award
“Injury and acute surgical disease remain a mostly under-appreciated problem that is often treatable and preventable. The Centre for Global Surgery believes that the key to change this is to create local partnerships in resource-limited settings that augment local capacity for comprehensive injury and surgical care. We are currently involved in multiple activities and programs in several East African nations and in Haiti. A centralizing entity like Global Health Programs is essential for teams like ours—to raise the profile of global health on campus, generate funding, support educational offerings in global health, and support students and trainees.”
Dr. Dan Deckelbaum, Co-director, Centre for Global Surgery
What You Can Do
As interest in global health increases, so does financial need. McGill bears witness time and again to the rewards that donor generosity can reap, not only by contributing to travel awards, but by supporting the advancement of research and the establishment of platforms for knowledge exchange. Here are just a few examples of what donor support can do in helping GHP achieve its strategic objectives:
A gift of $1,000:
- supports a student conference on global health.
A gift of $3,000:
- ensures the disbursement of one travel award for a deserving student.
- supports a travel stipend for faculty members to teach special courses at partner institutions, such as a tuberculosis diagnostics course in India.
A gift of $5,000:
- funds one year of an Inter-professional non-credit Global Health course, which is popular among students in Medicine, Nursing, Dentistry, and Physical and Occupational Therapy.
- supports a thematic conference for knowledge exchange hosted by McGill faculty.
- funds a Global Health Scholar.
- supports a participant from a low to middle-income country to attend the McGill Summer Institute in Infectious Diseases and Global Health
A gift of $10,000:
- establishes a Faculty Prize for young researchers in global health.
- ensures support for a local coordinator at a partner institution to help facilitate training and research opportunities for McGill students and faculty.
A gift of $20,000:
- finances the Summer Institute in Infectious Diseases and Global Health, including travel for attendees from low-resource countries.
- supports seed grants for researchers at the assistant professor level to leverage additional funding.
Every gift to McGill Global Health Programs creates opportunities for one of the world’s leading education and research institutions to make the world a healthier place—one global effort at a time.