For information on the 2015 GHC, check out our recent blogpost here!
AMSA GLOBAL HEALTH CONFERENCE 2014 - in the eyes of Emily Shao (TIME AMSA Rep 2014)
The AMSA Global Health Conference is an opportunity for students to be inspired by speakers who have changed the world, and to meet like-mined students who are passionate about global health.
And these are the two sides of AMSA GHC: academic and social. The academic speakers are so varied, and they are of such incredible calibre. But there are a few stand outs for me.
Dr Grant Blashki, one of the founders of Doctors for the Environment Australia, gave a fascinating talk about the health aspects of climate change. Why should doctors care about climate change? That’s a good question that I couldn’t answer before attending to global health conference. In the big picture, climate change is a causative agent for a huge amount of natural disasters- causing a massive loss to human life and health. But in an immediate sense- there have been more frequent and more severe heat strokes, and naturally, the number of deaths due to heat strokes are increasing. You may think climate change is irrelevant to health and doctors, but it is so intricately connected.
I was lucky to hear Stella Young, a disability rights activist, speak at the Sydney Global Health Conference. She sadly passed away late 2014, but her funny and insightful story about her life and how doctors have influenced me forever. A lesson I learned from her was to respect everyone’s sexuality. She said a doctor has only been asked about her sexual activity twice in her life. When she brought it up with her endocrinologist once, her endocrinologist laughed at her.
I could go on and on about the amazing academic speakers. Lucy Perry, the CEO of Hamlin Fistula Institute was just amazing to listen to. The speech made me go on and buy the book “Hospital by the River” and learn about the incredible service that Reginald and Catherine Hamlin have given to Ethiopian women. Daniel Flynn, the co-founded of the Thankyou group gave a speech about his struggles, and how his passion pushed him through and led to the founding of a successful company, which he founded when he was 19.
The social aspect of GHC is what keeps people coming back though. I could go on and on about how there are hectic loose parties, but its an AMSA conference so you already knew that. As a signpost for those interested in going to GHC just for the parties, the parties are not at the same level of hectic loose as the AMSA conference, tone it down a few notches and instead of having a “blindly drunk” time you will have a “happily tipsy” time.
But its really the students you meet at GHC that inspire me. There are so many people my age or younger, who are doing so much for the world. Who are so intelligent, outside of medicine, so well versed in current affairs, already so experienced in global health. Meet them and learn about what you can do now, what you can do to make a difference. It is these people who inspire me to do more, now!