Document Type

Article

Publication Date

11-22-2016

Publication Title

BMC Medical Education

Abstract

Background:

Among academic institutions in the United States, interest in global health has grown substantially: by the number of students seeking global health opportunities at all stages of training, and by the increase in institutional partnerships and newly established centers, institutes, and initiatives to house global health programs at undergraduate, public health and medical schools. Witnessing this remarkable growth should compel health educators to question whether the training and guidance that we provide to students today is appropriate, and whether it will be applicable in the next decade and beyond. Given that “global health” did not exist as an academic discipline in the United States 20 years ago, what can we expect it will look like 20 years from now and how can we prepare for that future?

Discussion:

Most clinicians and trainees today recognize the importance of true partnership and capacity building in both directions for successful international collaborations. The challenge is in the execution of these practices. There are projects around the world where this is occurring and equitable partnerships have been established. Based on our experience and observations of the current landscape of academic global health, we share a perspective on principles of engagement, highlighting instances where partnerships have thrived, and examples of where we, as a global community, have fallen short.

Conclusions:

As the world moves beyond the charity model of global health (and its colonial roots), it is evident that the issue underlying ethical global health practice is partnership and the pursuit of health equity. Thus, achieving equity in global health education and practice ought to be central to our mission as educators and advisors when preparing trainees for careers in this field. Seeking to eliminate health inequities wherever they are ingrained will reveal the injustices around the globe and in our own cities and towns.

DOI

10.1186/s12909-016-0820-0

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