We started off tonight’s meeting by practicing our elevator speeches for describing what we do to the “uninitiated.” The three important elements of an elevator speech are: (1) our chapter (size, fundraising, GROW, education); (2) the GlobeMed network; and (3) our partner. After taking turns running through our spiels, we listened to a debrief of the GlobeMed Summit provided by our nine members who attended the conference. The theme of this year’s summit was “student momentum,” which focused on unlocking our potential as individuals and emphasized the importance of an interdisciplinary background. Among the highlights mentioned was a panel on “Personal Narratives” that included Dr. Rishi Rattan, who was the keynote speaker of our very own Hilltop conference this past fall. Provocative as ever, Dr. Rattan described global health as a form of “neocolonialism” and emphasized the need for students to shift the field from “privilege activism” to “survival activism” by amplifying the voices of the voiceless in the regions we target.
For GHU, we focused specifically on our partner org, Gardens for Health International. GHI was founded by two Clinton Foundation interns in 2007 with strong support from Partners In Health/Praxis Network for its multifaceted approach to public health. GHI’s success has led to support for the massive programmatic expansion of the program beyond Gukuru and the Kigali area. What makes GHI unique is its targeted focus on nutrition and poverty. GHI is founded on the belief that positive health, quality of life, and economic sustainability all stem from access to and availability of healthy food. GHI works with the infrastructure in place in Rwanda to sustainably implement its malnutrition program: it coordinates with the public health system as an outpatient extension of medical clinics, cooperates with the Rwandan government, and works with other aid agencies like USAID. GlobeMed at Midd is truly proud to be partnered with an organization as effective and fruitful as GHI, and we look forward to strengthening our partnership as well as our impact in Rwanda.