Insights from the launch of the Global Health Seminar Series: Perspectives on building a career in the field
Global health is a complex and multifaceted field encompassing many experiences, perspectives, and journeys. On September 5th, 2023, the Global Health Seminar Series commenced, featuring three physicians and McMaster University faculty who shared their remarkable stories and paths into the world of global health.
Their experiences shed light on the diverse aspects of this field, emphasizing the significance of addressing health disparities internationally and locally.
Dr. Kapoor, one of the featured speakers, began his journey with a general interest in international development and public health. During his undergraduate years, he contemplated a career in these fields. A visit to Ghana opened his eyes to the stark global health issues and inequities. This exposure left an indelible mark on him. Later, during a year spent working in Swaziland, Dr. Kapoor encountered the high prevalence of HIV/AIDS, a global health crisis that deeply affected communities. This experience ignited his passion for global health.
Upon returning from Africa, Dr. Kapoor pursued a master’s degree in a discipline related to global health. Initially intending to work directly in the field, he eventually opted for a medical career specializing in infectious diseases, focusing on HIV/AIDS. Dr. Kapoor shared the challenges of balancing clinical training with global health work, emphasizing the importance of understanding social determinants of health within his community in Hamilton.
“…you don’t have to travel very far to get that impression because you see some of the inequities and some of the perhaps differences between the way we do exist and the way others exist in context… Hamilton is an amazing place from a global perspective because of all of the social determinants of health here that impact people’s health.”
Dr. VanDe Cappelle, another distinguished speaker, provided insights into her unique journey into global health. Initially, her focus during her education and training as an anesthesiologist was not global health. However, her perspective significantly shifted during her residency when she participated in an elective in Uganda. This experience exposed her to the challenges and realities of providing medical care and anesthesia in resource-limited settings, sparking her interest in global health.
Dr. VanDe Cappelle’s elective experience in Uganda made her appreciate the dedication of healthcare providers working under challenging conditions. It motivated her to seek more knowledge and skills in global health through courses, seminars, and networking opportunities. She now actively engages in global health work, particularly in education and training, teaching remotely, and contributing to healthcare capacity-building in regions such as South Sudan, the Central African Republic, and Kenya. She stressed that one can make a difference in global health from one’s current location, emphasizing the flexibility of one’s journey in the field.
Dr. Lynda Redwood-Campbell initiated the conversation by highlighting the breadth of the global health field and the numerous opportunities it offers, even beyond clinical science. She emphasized that global health can be considered internationally and locally, a crucial perspective in addressing health disparities.
Dr. Redwood-Campbell shared her experiences and perspectives, encompassing international experiences in Indonesia, addressing health inequities, involvement in humanitarian and disaster response efforts, considerations of ethics, and a focus on issues of colonialism and equity in global health work. As she rightly noted, global health is not confined to international efforts but also involves addressing local disparities, making it relevant to communities like Hamilton.
“So we can think about global health internationally. We can think about it very, very locally here in Hamilton as well.”
In conclusion, the Global Health Seminar Series provided a platform for these three physicians to share their remarkable journeys, underscoring the importance of understanding the complexities and nuances of global health. Their stories testify to the diverse paths one can take in improving global health, whether through clinical practice, education, or advocacy.Global Health News, Student Blog