DHSA symposium attendees mingle at the poster session.

Global health education

DHSA hosts symposium on careers, opportunities in global health

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10:49 a.m., Feb. 28, 2013--The Delaware Health Sciences Alliance hosted its second global health symposium, focusing on education and career opportunities, at Thomas Jefferson University on Saturday, Feb. 9.

More than 150 representatives of academic institutions, hospitals, government agencies, and non-profit organizations turned out for the event.

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The program included several high-profile guest speakers, from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the International Medical Corps (IMC), and the Health Research Services Administration (HRSA), as well as leaders of global health programs from all four DHSA institutions.

According to the experts, there are many roads to global health careers, including domestic internships with immigrant communities, an undergraduate focus on health sciences, domestic volunteer work in resource-challenged areas, the Peace Corps and other overseas volunteer opportunities, and study abroad.

Providers in the 21st century must be culturally competent, knowledgeable about such issues as ethnic differences in disease patterns and how geography plays a role in health, and have the basic attitudes, skills, and abilities to care for migrant and immigrant populations.

“We’re seeing a significant growth in global health interest around the U.S., and we in DHSA are no exception,” said Dr. Omar Khan, who chairs the alliance’s Global Health Working Group. “We are fortunate to have several individuals and groups with expertise in this area, and the global health symposia bring them together to learn lessons and build stronger programs in education, research, and practice. In fact, we have broadened that in our setting to start talking about ‘global and community health.’”

Khan, who is medical director for community health and the Eugene du Pont Preventive Medicine and Rehabilitation Institute at Christiana Care Health Systems, pointed out that Christiana Care now has an active global health curriculum open to all; two global health residency tracks, one in family medicine and the other in internal medicine; required resident experiences in community/preventive medicine; national conference presentations and leadership on national groups; and grant-funded work in global health research.

“We’ve come a long way in the past few years,” Khan said. “The support of leaders at all four DHSA institutions has been instrumental in our progress thus far and will be critical in future endeavors as well.”

At the University of Delaware, a minor is currently offered in public health, with a minor in global health in the planning stage. Students have a variety of avenues to pursue global health studies, including coursework, study abroad programs, field experiences, and individually tailored programs.

DHSA symposium materials, including presentations and a list of attendees, can be downloaded on the website.

About DHSA

The Delaware Health Sciences Alliance was established in 2009 with four founding partners — Christiana Care Health System, Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, Thomas Jefferson University, and the University of Delaware.

The alliance enables partner organizations to collaborate and conduct cutting-edge biomedical research, to improve the health of Delawareans through access to services in the state and region, and to educate the next generation of health care professionals.

DHSA’s unique, broad-based partnership focuses on establishing innovative collaborations among experts in medical education and practice, health economics and policy, population sciences, public health, and biomedical sciences and engineering. For more information, visit www.dhsa.org.

Article by Diane Kukich

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