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Global Health Conference returns with new focus

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Global Health Conference Planning Committee co-chairs Ricarda Bentham and Hadal El-Hadi.
Global Health Conference Planning Committee co-chairs Ricarda Bentham and Hadal El-Hadi.

On Sept. 20 and 21, the University of Saskatchewan College of Medicine will host the second annual Global Health Conference.

This year’s conference is titled “Merging Lines for Global Health” and focuses on multidisciplinary issues. Topics include climate change, indigenous health and gender rights.

The conference is open to anyone who wants to attend. Originally, the convention was seen as an opportunity to teach medicine students about global health issues. With the new multidisciplinary focus, event organizers are hoping to attract attendees from outside the healthcare realm.

Event organizers not only see the conference as a way to introduce students outside of medicine to global health issues, but also as a way to introduce medicine students to issues they wouldn’t normally be exposed to.

“I hope that a lot of people who are new to global health leave the conference thinking ‘I want to integrate this into my career,’” said conference planning committee co-chair Ricarda Bentham. “And those that are already involved in it will gain broader perspective on those issues.”

Events planned for the conference include a lecture series, a screening of the documentary ¡Salud! and a networking social. Students will also give poster presentations with prizes being awarded to the top presenters.

The lecture series runs through the entire conference and includes sessions by Ryan Meili, the founder of the Saskatoon-based Student Wellness Initiative Towards Community Health, and Shafik Dharamsi, the associate director of the University of British Columbia Centre for International Health.

The College of Medicine is hosting the conference, but its students are the primary organizing force behind it. The idea for the conference came from U of S medical students.

“It really happened with six of us students sitting in a room and we thought ‘wouldn’t it be great if Saskatchewan had its own global health conference?’ and it just grew from there,” Bentham said.

Although the conference is only in its second year, Bentham and the other organizers see potential for growth.

Last year the conference had about 120 attendees. With the broader focus of the 2013 conference, Bentham expects 200 to 300 attendees. Bentham said that they have confirmed 20 out-of-province attendees and six out-of-province speakers for this year.

Photo: Jordan Dumba/Photo Editor

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