What is Global Health
Global Health is an area of study, research, and practice that transcends national and regional borders by recognizing the health of populations, in all manners of cultural and ethnic diversity, within the global context. Global Health focuses on worldwide efforts to improve the health of populations, especially the poor, reduce disparities in health and treatment, increase access and care, and protect against global health threats. Global Health is transdisciplinary in nature and emphasizes health issues, determinants of health and global solutions through cooperative action.
The Importance of Global Health
As health inequalities transcend national borders and widespread health concerns move beyond political boundaries, the field of global health has increasingly captured the attention of decision makers to promote it as a worthwhile field of study, research and practice1. Disparities in health perpetuate and provide opportunities for increasing the risks of epidemics, intensifying poverty and political conflict. Within the context of world health inequalities and global interconnectedness, there is a need for medical students and residents to access global health training in order to understand current global health practices and to improve the standardization of global health education within the field of medicine2. By expanding into more integrated global health curriculums the opportunity to build and foster a healthier global community and foster competencies in cross-cultural communication and interaction is offered. This is especially important as Canada’s immigrant and refugee populations continue to grow and as the Canadian population becomes more culturally and ethnically diverse, medical students and professionals must also become more aware of global health issues and internal disparities in health within their own regions.
Global Health has become so important that there is a push in many academic and professional circles throughout the world to ensure that all, especially students, have a basic understanding of key global health issues. The importance of cross-cultural, cross-border, transdisciplinary global health initiatives and education thus, cannot be overstated.
Why Global Health Should Matter to You
Although you may think that your health is a personal matter, it is not. A health issue in New York has the ability to influence someone walking through downtown Vancouver; a breakout of e-coli in Quebec can influence health systems all over the country and beyond. We truly live in a globalized and increasingly interconnected world where one’s health and the instances of sickness abide by no geographic, socio-economic or political boundary. The importance of global health is that those health programmes and initiatives developed in one place, by one team, can lead to ideas and solutions in another. The solution found to one health risk in one corner of our world can make a significant impact worldwide - we are all working together not only to understand critical health issues but also to solve them. The importance of global health is everywhere...as you step out of the door, as you travel on the street car, as your plane lands in another country, global health and its influence are far-reaching.