In honor of the school’s Centennial, the SPHTM Student Government Association (SGA) hosted its first ever Global Health Summit this past spring. The theme for the three day event was “One World, One Community,” and more than 200 students, faculty, and staff participated in guest lectures, networking events, competitions, and social gatherings.
SGA president (2011-2012) and summit organizer Ryan Alipio said, “The Global Health Summit, in our opinion, was an indicator of how amazing the main Centennial events will be in November. We were amazed to see how many students, faculty and staff took part of the festivities.”
Summit speakers included Shital Chauhan, co-founder and chief programs officer of Global Brigades, the world’s largest student-led global health and sustainable development organization, and Kathryn Hall-Trujillo, founding director of Birthing Project USA and an adjunct professor in Global Community Health and Behavioral Sciences.
An interactive healthcare reform panel, led by experienced public health professionals including Richard Culbertson of the Department of Global Health Systems and Development and Kristin Lyman of the Louisiana Public Health Institute, invited audience members to participate in discussion of issues such as health care reform, global environmental health, philanthropy and public health, and social justice.
The summit also featured a public health initiative competition, which invited students to develop a public health initiative on a limited budget to benefit those working and studying at the school’s building in downtown New Orleans. Julie Davies and Elizabeth Egelski, both students in Global Community Health and Behavioral Sciences, joined to submit the winning initiative entitled “Stairway to Health: SPHTM Stairwell program 2012.” Their idea focused on decreasing elevator traffic while increasing physical activity among students, staff, and faculty by promoting the use of the school’s existing stairwells through motivational signage at each elevator bank and near stairway doors.
In another competition, students submitted photos that expressed the summit’s theme of “One World, One Community.” The winning image was “Maasai Mardi Gras,” by Nicole Davis, an epidemiology student, who won a digital camera.
Although the summit was conceived as an event to kick off a year of centennial celebrations, it was so well received by the SPHTM community that the incoming SGA is considering repeating it on a regular basis (annually or semi-annually) and potentially opening it up to the New Orleans community at large.