Community Engagement & Global Health
What do we do?
The Community Engagement Team is a group of medical students committed to providing our students opportunities for ethical global health education, advocacy, action and experiences. We organize electives and events to increase our students’ awareness in the following topics: international health, sexual and reproductive health, indigenous health, Inner City Health, health advocacy, environment & health, and Community Service Learning.
We share the Canadian Federation of Medical Students’ vision to recognize that as future physicians we are uniquely and strategically placed to promote the values for health equity and social responsibility, and we will strive to empower students with all the tools they need to grow as global health leaders and citizens.
What is Global Health?
The term global health is not easily defined and encompasses many different concepts and ideas including international health, public health and the social determinants of health. According to an article in Lancet that attempts to find a common definition of this term, “Global health is an area for study, research, and practice that places a priority on improving health and achieving equity in health for all people worldwide.
Global health emphasizes transnational health issues, determinants, and solutions; involves many disciplines within and beyond the health sciences and promotes interdisciplinary collaboration; and is a synthesis of population based prevention with individual-level clinical care.” The WHO defines the social determinants of health as the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age. These circumstances are shaped by the distribution of money, power and resources at global, national and local levels. The social determinants of health are mostly responsible for health inequities - the unfair and avoidable differences in health status seen within and between countries. These definitions emphasize the importance of advocating for the health of all marginalized populations and they are what lend direction to our MSA Global Health program at the University of Alberta.