Sunday, January 22, 2012

Academia? Action? Translation please, pt. 4

Part 4: Translation

So let's review the questions we asked at the beginning of this series.

- How do we understand the relationship between health and inequity?
- How do we go about building a more healthy and just future?
- Whose ethical responsibility is it to ensure global health?

And some of the core ideas from some answers:

political and economic forces have structured risk for most forms of extreme suffering
only with immediate action can long-term... challenges be contained 
an essential first step to redress global health inequities is to show the injustice of the present situation and make 'explicit the values on which the proposed action is based'
justice in health requires societies to provide individuals with the necessary conditions for achieving the highest possible threshold level of health so they can have flourishing lives
State governments, institutions and actors, along with non-governmental organisations, local communities, businesses, foundations, families and individuals must assume a prior and direct role and responsibility, through a framework of shared health governance, at the level of the nation-state

Have we really said nothing?

Let's try another approach.

What have these authors not said? They haven't said that the challenges are insurmountable. That they're too complex. Impossible to tackle. Something that's okay, or "just life" or "the way things are". Something we can worry about tomorrow. Something where individuals and local communities have no role.

I recognize my incredible privilege in having the opportunity to study abroad and see the ways our actions can affect communities far away from us. But I didn't have to get on a plane in order to vaguely, indirectly, but somehow, know, that my voting, consumer, and everyday behavior affects people on other continents. I also didn't have to get on a plane to know that my actions affect the people in my own community.

Not only do I have the ability to affect the world, but it can happen now, and it can part of the movement for global health equity.

Not only do you have the ability to affect the world, but it can happen now, and it can be part of the movement for global health equity.

I trust that being part of the GlobeMed model to build a nationwide movement towards global health equity is a step in the right direction. I accept the things that are out of my control. But I also accept and celebrate my own agency. That sad day in the library may feel distant from the issues, but it's an exercise of intellect and an investment in that person's future credibility. Similarly, GlobeMed is investing in the future. GlobeMed is training future global health leaders, partnering with international and domestic organizations, and growing the movement for global health equity.

You're a part of all this too.
And if you're reading this as someone is not currently involved with the GlobeMed Brown University chapter, join us! E-mail You can also contribute to our partner organization, U-TENA, or follow us on facebook

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