Many medical students are driven to begin their education by the desire to give something back to their communities, or to those less fortunate. But the path is long and demanding. Those dreams of embarquing on MSF missions to Africa, Asia or the Pacific lose focus, in favour of mountains of Robbins to read and intimidating VIVAs to pass. It is difficult to stay in touch with the bigger picture.
That is why I joined Towards International Medical Equality (TIME), which is the University of Queensland’s global health group. TIME’s mission is to empower and support UQ students to make a sustainable difference in the realisation of health equality, at home and abroad. This goal is both immediate and long-term. TIME aspires to not only make a direct contribution to alleviating health inequality though a variety of activities, but also have a continuing impact, by cultivating the passion and dedication of Australia’s future global health professionals.
If you had joined TIME 10 years ago, you would have been part of a small group of students fundraising for medical supplies to take on electives to resource-poor hospitals overseas. Whilst TIME has continued its involvement in medical aid, it has expanded its activities enormously. TIME Members today include medical and allied health students as well as junior doctors. They are encouraged to participate in a variety of meaningful volunteering opportunities as part of TIME Projects, attend and support fundraisers for charities at home and abroad, and expand their knowledge about global health through advocacy and educational events.
Highlights for the year so far have been a successful Kick Off Party fundraiser for Bairo Pite Clinic’s HIV Program, which we are partnered with for four years, and support for Porta Vila hospital in Vanuatu, in wake of the devastating cyclone Pam. This reflects TIME’s value for sustainable, long-term assistance as well as flexible support for emerging medical crises. There has QnA with experts in refugee health and a valuable Healthy Start Training Day, laying the foundations more of the popular health literacy workshops for newly arrived refugees in the next few months. A team of students has been assembled to collaborate with architecture and design students on a project for HealthHabitat to improve water and sanitation for rural communities overseas. And many students signed up for AMSA Global Academy’s online global short course in April.
Still on the TIME calendar for 2015 are many fundraising, volunteering and engagement activities for students to join. There are the highly anticipated Fashion Show and Red Party. Volunteers will be needed assemble Zonta birthing kits and Days for Girls sanitary health packs, and engage with the local Indigenous community at the NAIDOC family fun day. Delegations will be assembled for the phenomenal annual Global Health Conference and tri-university Spirit of Healthy Horizons Conference. Registration will open for another AMSA Global Academy course and there will be further QnA Seminars featuring some fiery debate on environmental health and maternal health. Finally, four incredible Phase 2 students will be selected to work at Bairo Pite Clinic in Timor-Leste over the summer break, and conduct fundraising in the lead up to this eye-opening experience.
TIME is here to help students keep that bigger health picture in focus. It facilitates engagement, empowerment and action on the global health issues that confront us now and throughout our careers.
UQMS Primum submission by Bethany Holt, the AMSA Liaison representative for TIME.