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Fragile environments and global health: Conference draws McMaster expertise

MSc Global Health alumna Valentina Antonipillai at the CCGH conference

MSc Global Health alumna Valentina Antonipillai presenting a poster at the Canadian Conference on Global Health.


November 21, 2018

An instructor and three alumni from the Master of Science in Global Health program attended and presented at the Canadian Conference on Global Health (CCGH) this week, sharing their expertise with a community of practitioners, educators, policy makers, and students from more than 30 countries.

This year’s program focused on Fragile Environments and Global Health: Examining drivers of change. This topic has received increased attention among the global health community, given the fact that fragile states are consistently struggling with failing health systems and face a greater risk of problems including poverty, conflict, terrorism, infectious and chronic disease, food security, and genocide.

Postdoctoral global health scholar and program instructor Deborah DiLiberto delivered a presentation on Examining health workers’ non-clinical dilemmas in humanitarian settings, which included research conducted by alumna Kate Miller and partners at Amref Health Africa and Amref International University.

“Our research found that local health workers in humanitarian contexts face a range of daily, yet significant, personal, professional and operational dilemmas that negatively affect the provision of care,” said DiLiberto.  “Interventions that focus on preparing health workers to navigate these dilemmas by promoting their intrinsic motivation and resilience may support immediate objectives of improving delivery of health care services while contributing to longer term objectives of rebuilding health systems and ensuring the continuity of care after the departure of humanitarian actors.”

Alumna Raquel Burgess, who is currently education team lead at Partners in Health Canada Spark, together with alumnus Kaiyang Fan, presented a poster, titled Community health workers: A theoretical argument for their capacity to tackle the three-delays of maternal mortality in Haiti. Fellow alumna Valentina Antonipillai, a current PhD student in the Health Policy PhD at McMaster University, presented a poster titled A comparative analysis of refugee health policy changes in Canada and England.

“The poster presentation session represented a diverse array of research from intellectuals around the globe which was an excellent forum to network with professionals and fellow students who share one goal: improving the health of people around the world by addressing the ‘fragile environments’ in which we live,” said Antonipillai.

Each year, the conference draws more than 600 stakeholders from health, humanitarian and other sectors to share knowledge and find innovative ways to collaborate and drive change.