Dr. Patrick Stover, nutritional sciences, speaks to attendees about global public health in Willard Straight Hall Sunday.

March 1, 2016

Gala Stresses Global Health Awareness on Campus

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Nearly 100 students attended the second annual Global Health Gala — an event which aims to raise both funds and awareness for international public health issues — on Sunday in Willard Straight Hall Memorial room.

The fundraising event was developed by GlobeMed at Cornell and Cornell Health International to spread awareness about global health issues and encourage students to get involved in efforts on campus, according to Rie Seu ’17, external co-president of GlobeMed.

Gen Meredith — Associate Director for International Programs and Master of Public Health at the College of Veterinary Medicine — spoke about her experience working to improve the HIV health system in Haiti at the event.

Working with the local government and non-governmental organizations, Meredith said her team turned the HIV treatment infrastructure into a “gold standard model for HIV surveillance systems in developing countries around the world.”

Prof. Patrick Stover, nutritional sciences, highlighted the contrast between the ways public health officials and physicians deal with disease.

“The fundamental assumption in any public health intervention is that there are likely to be tradeoffs,” Stover said. “[In clinical medicine], the Hippocratic Oath is ‘do no harm’ and is assumed by some [to mean] ‘take no risk.’”

Stover encouraged students to take advantage of the resources available to those studying global health at Cornell.

“Cornell has such great breadth and reach,” Stover said. “You can study public health in almost any context.”

Meredith agreed, adding that internships helped her develop her interest in health policy as an undergraduate.

“My ideal career path changed about five times as a young person,” Meredith said. “What helped me find my way — and the correct fit for my passion — was investing my time in unpaid internships to walk in the shoes of the professions I thought I wanted to do before investing in the right educational track.”

Seu added that the clubs plan to continue hosting the gala in following years.

Although increasing on-campus student awareness was the primary goal for this year’s gala, Kara Beckman ’17, internal co-president of GlobeMed, said she hopes to expand next year’s event to include Ithaca College, Tompkins Cortland Community College or the greater Ithaca community.

“We can have a better discussion base when we have different types of people,” Beckman said.

GlobeMed at Cornell and Cornell Health International — organizations which partner with international organizations to increase healthcare for disadvantaged populations — co-hosted the gala.

Proceeds from the event went to the organizations GlobeMed and Cornell Health International partners, according to Seu.