This year GHC was held in Perth. Looking back I feel stupid now for considering not coming due to the cost of flights. Oh how dumb was I. DO NOT DO THAT! If you are at all interested in global health you need to take advantage of this opportunity and GO!
We started the first night at a beautiful 100 year old theatre in the heart of Perth. This night didn’t really have any incredible academic speakers; instead it was a night of culture. I went into this night with many hesitations about what it may hold. I, personally, am not a musical or artistic sort of person. But despite this, it was truly amazing.
The highlight on this first night was the incredible mix of comedy, song and thought-provoking stories from Izaak Lim. Aside from being incredibly jealous at the talent of this young doctor, his stories were truly thought provoking and amazing. The main one that struck me the most was when he described his first birth as a resident. Izaak described the process with the perfect mix of comedy, music and storytelling, describing his apprehension and so beautifully described how he felt. One line really stood out to me and everyone I spoke to that night. It was when he was describing how he felt when he was holding the baby during its first few moments of life and how he came to the sudden realisation that “this may be the closest I ever come to a child, being a gay man”. It is not overtly related to global health, but it is a perfect example of the thought-provoking nature of the conference. And this was only day 1-there were still 4 days to go!
I have now attended 5 days of a conference solely focussed on global health and how we, as doctors, can have a larger impact upon the world. This conference has been exactly what I needed at this point in my medical education. It has given me the motivation and energy to continue in this area as it is what I am passionate about and where I think I will head in the future. This alone has made GHC worthwhile for me and I encourage ANYONE who has any sort of interest in global health to attend in the future.
The best aspect of GHC was the incredible academic speakers. With the many speakers across the plenary lectures and workshops there was something for everyone, with each being of absolutely incredible quality. Each and every speaker said something interesting and relevant and I definitely got something from all of them. My favourite speaker was Ronni Kahn, the CEO of Ozharvest. For me she was the most inspirational and truly struck a cord. Of the many amazing quotes during the conference this one from Ronni resonated with me the most: “Look in the mirror and ask yourself ‘am I doing everything that I can to be the best person I can be today’”.
The other aspect of GHC that I loved was the conversations. You meet so many people from other uni’s and have the most incredible discussions. After all, we were all there because we have a passion or an interest in global health. Seriously the best advice I can give anyone going to GHC in the future is to not stay within your own delegation - branch out and speak to people! I struggled greatly with this but once you start it becomes so much easier to continue. As an example of the conversations you can have in one night I managed to:
- Talk to someone from UNSW about our interests and passions in global health and how we can continue to act on them in the future.
- Have a lengthy discussion with many delegates from Monash and other unis about the ethics of global health.
- Discuss climate change, Australia’s emissions reductions, how to advocate for improvement and where to go in the future.
- Finally, discussion about how best to teach global health in the medical school curriculum.
I hope that these posts have given everyone an idea of what GHC is and how amazing it can be. If anything can be taken from these, I really just want it to be that you should GET INVOLVED and make the most of it. Every single person at GHC came away with new motivation and passion in many various areas. If you have any sort of an interest at all in global health, then GHC is for you!