On February 24-28, 2016, the Fulbright Program, in partnership with the University of Kentucky’s College of Public Health, hosted the second annual Global Health Innovations Seminar in Lexington, Kentucky. During the five day seminar, “Global Health and the UN Millennium Goals,” Fulbrighters had the opportunity to not only engage with fellow Fulbrighters, but with global health professionals and practitioners.
88 foreign students hailing from 47 different countries convened for a series of panels, workshops, and gatherings as they discussed pertinent topics in global health related to the success and lessons learned from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) focused on public health, namely MDG Goal 1 (Eradicate Extreme Poverty and Hunger), Goal 4 (Reduce Child Mortality), Goal 5 (Improve Mental Health), and Goal 6 (Combat HIV/AIDS, Malaria). Additional conversations were focused on how feedback from MDG target indicators will inform implementation of the recently United Nations adopted Sustainable Development Goals and the post-2015 agenda.
Fulbright attendees included an impressive sampling of students studying various science and health-related disciplines, a few of which are global health, health policy, pharmaceutical economics, international development, and medical entomology.
The seminar’s opening keynote address was given by Dr. F. Douglas Scutchfield, the Peter P. Bosomworth Professor of Health Services Research and Policy at San Diego State University. Dr. Scutchfield, a graduate of the University of Kentucky’s Medical School, inspired students by discussing the foundations of public health practice and their modern importance.
Seminar panelists took a critical look at timely public health issues, such as HIV/AIDS, malaria, global health implications of the current migration crisis, as well as the Zika virus outbreak in Central and South America. Dialogue followed between panelists and Fulbright students on measures that could be taken to stem the virus’ spread, including promoting community partnerships for maternal, newborn, and child health. Panel topics also covered professional skills building, including healthcare leadership, which highlighted adaptability as a vital characteristic to success in the field.
Fulbrighters also had the opportunity to display their work to their peers via poster sessions and platform presentations. Poster sessions were run by primarily second-year students, while platform presentations were a sampling of both first and second-years and show-cased prior accomplishments, including research and field experience. Both channels allowed for constructive feedback and invaluable networking opportunities.
Outside of the panels and workshops, students were able to tour the beautiful University of Kentucky campus, including its nationally ranked Chandler Hospital.
During the closing dinner, students were treated to warm and generous hospitality at the home of Dr. James W. Holsinger, the Charles T. Wethington, Jr. Chair in the Health Sciences at the University of Kentucky. Fulbrighters enjoyed delicious food, wonderful company, and the piano tunes of a few accomplished students who made use of Dr. Holsinger’s piano.
And, in a moment of serendipity, when all had thought that the delayed arrival of the coveted Fulbright t-shirts would prevent students from taking their token t-shirts back home, it was announced that their shirts had arrived!
We certainly enjoyed seeing you in Kentucky!