Theme

In collaboration with the Canadian Association for Global Health. This year’s Canadian Global Health Students and Youth Professionals Summit (GHSYPS), Toolbox Talks: Practical Skills for Becoming Global Health Professionals, aims to prepare attendees for becoming emergent health professionals by introducing applicable skills grounded in equity-centered practices. Some skills that attendees may explore include project implementation, conducting evaluations, community building and knowledge translation. Key learning outcomes for GHSYPS 2021 will revolve around addressing health disparities in three urgent global health topics:

  1. Planetary Health
  2. Marginalized Communities
  3. Mental Health

PLANETARY HEALTH

With record levels of greenhouse gas emissions, extreme weather events and rising sea levels, climate and environmental health is producing large-scale impacts across the globe. The climate crisis is influencing people’s health, lives and the economy, with some communities – particularly in rural and Indigenous communities, the Global South, girls/women, and other marginalized populations – experiencing disproportionately higher health risks, poorer outcomes and systemic barriers.

To ensure a collectively healthier future, global health professionals could benefit from harnessing tools necessary to educate the public about climate change, improve their understanding of and ability to measure public health impacts of environmental change, and design global health equity solutions with One Health principles in mind.

MARGINALIZED COMMUNITIES

To be a global health professional is to promote health equity and overall wellbeing, especially for historically marginalized communities. Marginalization can be a product of persistent poverty, structural discrimination, exploitation and colonialism, including neo-colonialism. Through these mechanisms, marginalized communities experience higher risks for compromised health, exclusion, and face both upstream and downstream barriers to accessing crucial health services.

Emergent global health professionals should have the skills necessary to work alongside marginalized communities, empower people with lived experiences, and seek sustainable solutions for dismantling systemic inequality. Under this topic area, GHSYPS will explore how current global health professionals use practical tools to reduce the health inequities faced by marginalized communities in our local and global communities.

MENTAL HEALTH

The World Health Organization reports that mental disorders are responsible for 15 % of the global burden of disease, with over 75 % of this burden falling on low- and middle-income countries. Concurrently, these regions face limited resources, insufficiently trained professionals, and poor access to evidence-based treatments. With a lack of community education regarding mental health, individuals with mental health disorders are at higher risk for further health complications and often experience stigma, discrimination, and human rights violations. Despite available and affordable evidence-informed treatments, gaps in mental health and wellness care continue to persist and receive little global attention.

With an emphasis on practical skills for emerging global health professionals, GHYSPS will provide opportunities to apply practical skills towards supporting global mental health and further explore the current health inequities that people with mental health challenges face day-to-day.