Global Health Representative
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7. katie olney
My name is Katie Olney and I’m super excited to be running for the position of Global Health Representative. As you can see from my picture, I love to travel and enjoy local cuisine…that automatically qualifies me for the position, right? More importantly, I believe health is a fundamental human right and it is therefore important to invest in achieving global health equity. I recently graduated from Western University with a degree in Health Studies. While there, I took Global Health Promotion, the class that sparked my passion for global health by exposing me to the unique, and often frustrating, challenges faced by healthcare workers internationally. From there, I attended a conference at McGill on Global Health and Infectious Disease, a two-week conference with a focus on diagnostics and qualitative research methods in global health. This further expanded my awareness of just how complex global health is. One of the issues that was discussed throughout the conference was the challenge of bringing expensive diagnostic technologies to rural communities in Africa. There is often not a steady source of power for the tool to function or a stable enough environment to achieve accurate test results – not only do we have to fund initiatives to develop and transport diagnostic machines, but we have to find a way to make them adaptable in a variety of settings. That is one of the things that interests me most about global health: it presents a multitude of unique and multifaceted problems. There is not one isolated solution we can apply to improve the prevalence of infectious diseases or increase the life expectancy of people living in developing countries. Rather, global health is an everchanging issue that requires many insightful, culturally-aware solutions. I also think it’s important that we shift our mindset from global health as an ‘us vs. them’ problem. Global health should not only aim to improve the health of people in developing countries but should encompass all marginalized groups across the world who experience health disparities. Global health includes Aboriginal Canadians, members of the LGBTQ community, black Americans, and those struggling to keep a roof over their heads. If I am elected as the First Year Global Health Representative, I will try and organize events and speakers that challenge the traditional definition of global health and force us to think outside the box in terms of how we define and approach global health matters. I am really looking forward to the next two years with you all!