Friday, September 19, 2008

Who Knew? Public Health is Hot!

I will be covering the annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative in New York next week. I'm particularly interested in Thursday morning's program on "expanding the global health workforce," especially after spending three months in Malawi learning about that country's nursing crisis.

Ironic that while so many nurses, doctors and other educated folks are emigrating from developing countries, more and more young American students are flocking to international health classes and programs. Money quote from today's Washington Post on the subject: "global health is a huge growth industry."

It may also offer a brighter future than a career on Wall Street these days.


jshaffer said...


I'm a student at Northwestern University and the president of GlobeMed at Northwestern - an organization working to build a unified student movement for global health. Check out our website here:

Speaking from my own experience, there is definitely a HUGE and growing interest in global health amongst students, especially in the desire to get out there and DO something good. The problem is that, as students, we have a limited range of skills and therefore we must be careful about how we engage health issues in poor countries. I've seen the danger of irresponsible medical "voluntourism" while working in Ghana with GlobeMed at NU's health partner.

GlobeMed provides students with the framework and support to structure their work in global health to make the most of what we as students do have: passion, enthusiasm, and access to resources through our universities, families, and friends. It also challenges students to think self-critically about their work in global health.

Thanks for sharing this great article!


Christine Gorman said...

Hi Jon,

I've seen my share of "irresponsible medical voluntourism" as well. Any thoughts on why it persists?


Karen Grepin said...

This was published in this week's JAMA -
Ethical Considerations for Short-term Experiences by Trainees in Global Health

Seems appropriate to the discussion, no?

Karen Grepin