Global Health student gains real-world experience while working with the Canadian Red Cross
Each year, MSc Global Health graduate students complete a 10-week work-integrated learning practicum during the Summer term to put into practice the knowledge and skills they have gained throughout the duration of their studies in the program.
Students work with local and global organizations to gain hands-on experience with the theory, concepts, and methods taught in the program with activities targeted to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
Currently, Global Health graduate student, Kelly-Anne Dela Cueva, is completing a virtual work integrated learning practicum with the Canadian Red Cross (CRC). Collaborating with the CRC team members nationally and globally, Kelly-Anne is working on projects that focus on disaster risk reduction and emergency management for Indigenous peoples across Canada.
As the CRC is a part of the International Federation of the Red Cross, which is the largest humanitarian organization in the world, she is learning about actions taken towards supporting vulnerable communities globally.
“Even though I am working remotely, I feel as though I am gaining both a national and international experience” says Kelly-Anne, “as the work and perspectives I hear are quite vast because of how different geographies manage disasters and emergencies”.
One aspect of her placement is to learn and recognize the needs of Indigenous peoples in Canada and to initiate solutions to advocate for their rights. As part of Indigenous Learning Week, Kelly-Anne participated in a Truth Before Reconciliation workshop that provided resources to engage in content about Indigenous peoples and their culture. She reflects that, “the workshop was insightful in addressing the timeline of the compounding hardships that Indigenous peoples have faced over the years”.
When asked about the Global Health program competencies that she has been able to build upon and develop throughout her placement, she responded:
“The Global Health program competencies that I have been acquiring include cross-cultural intuition, incisive decision making, analytical and logical thinking, and communication skills. Given that my work involves engaging with Indigenous peoples to understand their culture, history, and place in Canada today, I have gained a greater understanding and application of cross-cultural intuition in diverse group settings”.
As a future global health professional, Kelly-Anne is currently learning how research is translated to action while gaining a comprehensive understanding of how to support marginalized communities. Inspired to see that the CRC projects with Indigenous Peoples are rooted in collaboration with the communities, Kelly-Anne remarks that, “this enables communities to be empowered to make decisions and forms a deeper sense of connection and mutual understanding which inspires me as a global health professional.”
Through opportunities with organizations such as the CRC, students enhance their analytical, networking, and collaborative skills within a self-directed learning environment, which prepares them for careers in a globalized world.
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