Global Health Advocacy

As medical students and future medical professionals, we are privileged to be able to advocate for individuals and communities whom we serve. The Global Health Advocacy program aims to equip students with advocacy skills that they can apply to their education and career, while raising awareness for issues like refugee health, pharmacare, and homelessness.

The Global Health Advocates are involved in a wide variety of projects and initiatives, both local and international.

Local Initiatives

• Global Health Advocacy Elective

Every year, the Global Health Advocates create a 12-hour elective for pre-clerkship students. The elective is composed of a variety of events and activities that occur throughout the school year. The 2016-17 theme was Refugee & Migrant Health. Click here to learn more about Community Engagement electives.

• Provincial Lobby Day

Every year, Alberta medical students come together to advocate in respect of important issues pertaining to medicine and medical education to the provincial government. The Global Health Advocates can assist the Government Affairs & Advocacy Committee (GAAC) representatives in preparation for the Provincial Lobby Day. All medical students are welcome and encouraged to apply to attend. For more information on how to become involved, please contact the GAAC representatives. Click here for their contact information.

• WHOMUN


World Health Organization Model United Nations (WHOMUN) gives students in health-related programs and other faculties the opportunity to participate in a model UN plenary-style debate and discussion of a current global health issue. Each student will be assigned a country to represent in regional bloc discussions and a plenary model debate, following World Health Assembly format.

For students from all programs, WHOMUN is a fantastic chance to expand knowledge and hone research, collaboration, and public speaking skills relating to global health governance, the UN system, and international policy setting. MD program students can use WHOMUN for 6 hours of credit towards the 12-hour pre-clerkship elective requirement. Click here to find out more about the Community Engagement electives.

For more information on WHOMUN itself, please contact WHOMUN coordinators at whomun.ualberta@gmail.com.

• Human Trafficking Awareness

The University of Alberta Medical Students' Association has representatives on the Canadian Alliance of Medical Students Against Human Trafficking (CAMSAHT). This group aims to improve medical education addressing the need for increased awareness on the prevalence of human trafficking taking place here in Canada. Healthcare workers are in a special position to help victims of trafficking because the clinic/emergency room are often the only contact victims have with an opportunity to receive help. In partnership with Undergraduate Medical Education, CAMSAHT is continuing to develop a module on human trafficking that teaches students how to screen for victims followed by how to respond when a victim is identified. For more information, please check out the CAMSAHT Facebook page.

National Initiatives

• Global Health Advocates Annual Theme

The Global Health Advocates (GHAs) at the University of Alberta also work with GHAs at other medical schools across the country to develop and advance a national theme each year. This work, which is led by the Canadian Federation of Medical Students National Officer of Human Rights & Peace, changes every year. Past themes have included "Access to Medicines" and “Climate Change and Health.”

• National Lobby Day

Every year, Canadian medical schools come together to advocate in respect of important issues pertaining to medicine and medical education to the federal government on National Lobby Day. The Global Health Advocates often assist the Government Affairs & Advocacy Committee representatives in preparation for the day. All medical students are welcome and encouraged to apply to attend the Federal Lobby Day in Ottawa. Click here to learn more.

• Previous national initiatives include: