Students for Health Equality
There are limited opportunities for students to come together to think critically about issues in social justice and gain awareness about important issues that affect us all, much less generate possible solutions. ‘Students for Health Equality’ is a student-led think tank that engages students in discussing global health and social justice issues and linking with other networks. Regular events will be organised to include keynote speakers delivering information about global health and social justice, as well as interactive round-table discussions led by students. Health and medical students will gain an understanding of their role beyond acting solely as clinicians and the importance of being an advocate in the global community. It is hoped that the sessions will empower students by enabling them to understand and consider issues in a broader scope and through a lens different from their own. ‘Students for Health Equality’ will help connect existing initiatives at NUI Galway and give students and faculty an opportunity to link with others in relevant fields. The project will have an outreach component that may appeal to local secondary school students, interested health professionals including faculty, as well as the general public.
The Think Tank: Students for Health Equality has kicked off with a bang! We recruited an executive committee consisting of 12 members, including myself and had our first meeting in which we discussed what the goals of the year will be, as well as the mandate and vision of the think tank. It was great to share ideas and discuss current events and generate thoughts on what would be relevant and important themes for events and activities for the year. With that momentum, we came up with a rough plan of events and decided to reconvene after exams. We held our first event on November 27 in honour of World AIDS Day which was a success, with nearly 40 people in attendance including students, faculty and members of the community in Galway. We have a plan to reconvene in January and come up with events to move forward with in the new semester, including collaborating with events happening in Dublin with the Irish Forum for Global Health.
This is a very exciting time for Students for Health Equality! We are currently in the process of becoming a formal society at NUIG so that we can have sustainability in the college for coming years. We managed to have a table set up on Societies Day in which many people came to sign up and show their interest and support. We will also be set up at this year’s annual Health Fair happening on February 14 where many health-related groups have stalls set up to educate youth about health issues. Our committee has had a meeting in which we came up with ideas for this semester related to either a conference or a Youth day in which we invite secondary students to NUIG to participate in a “Model UN” type of session with interactive activities. We may also choose to get involved with the Irish Forum for Global Health’s Skills Fair and Debate happening in Dublin at the end of March in which we will be on the organizational end of things and also sending interested students to the fair to develop their skills for a career or job in Global Health. We also strengthened our connections with MedSoc and garnered their support for upcoming activities. There are many options, now it is just a matter of deciding which route to go!