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Recap from a GHR-CAPS trainee on the 2013 summer school
GHR-CAPS is an interdisciplinary training program in global health offered by four Quebec universities, and funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Quebec Population Health Research Network. In addition to offering financial support in the form of scholarships as well as internship and travel grants, GHR-CAPS regularly organizes training opportunities and summer schools. This year, nearly thirty of us participated in the 2013 international summer school on globalization and health inequities.
During a hot week in August, master's students, and doctoral and post-doctoral fellows whose research focuses on global health issues met at the Department of Epidemiology at McGill University in Montreal, with the invitation of Theresa W. Gyorkos, director of the summer school. Lectures, case studies, group works and a field visit were on the « menu » of this intense week full of reflection and learning.
Ronald Labonté from the University of Ottawa opened the ball with a memorable presentation that put into perspective economic globalization, financial crisis and health inequities. Based on very explicit figures, Pr. Labonté opened our eyes to an inglorious facet of globalization and the processes leading to health inequities, such as structural adjustment policies, trade agreements, etc. Another internationally renowned researcher, Pr. Nick Drager from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, took the stage to close the summer school; he opened the secret doors of global health diplomacy just enough for us to grasp the complexity of international relations and the tangle between economics, health and national sovereignty. Neglected tropical diseases and non-communicable diseases, brain drain, climate change and psychological trauma were also the subject of conferences during the week, and perfectly illustrated the relationship between globalization and health inequities.
Whether it was during case studies, group works or health breaks, discussions between the students were lively. What role can we play as young researchers and citizens in the global agora, which often seems out of reach? How can we make a difference when facing these processes of globalization that appear uncontrollable, such as tsunamis? Many questions beset us, and these multiplied again after we visited a carrot farm employing migrant and seasonal workers from Mexico and Guatemala. We were able to put faces on invisible phenomena for which we now understand the political, economic and environmental ramifications beyond personal experiences.
By giving us the tools to understanding the phenomena of globalization and their impacts in terms of health inequities, organizers and guest speakers of the 2013 summer school made us feel indignation, and led us to ponder, and to question ourselves. This is a great gift they gave us. We have our whole career ahead of us to show that we have heard and to try, in our own way, to take action to reverse the trend.
Emilie Robert, Ph.D. candidate in public health, CHUM Research Centre
GHR-CAPS senior fellow
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Le Programme interuniversitaire de formation en recherche en santé mondiale vise à contribuer au développement national et international de la recherche en santé mondiale, par le recrutement et la formation de chercheuses et de chercheurs qui travailleront dans un environnement interdisciplinaire de haut calibre et dont la performance influencera les politiques publiques et les programmes de santé mondiale. L'objectif principal du Programme Santé-Cap est d'offrir des possibilités d'apprentissage, ainsi que des ressources humaines et matérielles pour la formation en santé mondiale, qui ne sont pas disponibles présentement au Québec et qui sont considérées comme essentielles au développement des compétences clés pour les futurs leaders en santé mondiale.