Going the Distance for Tomorrow’s Local-Global Health Breakthroughs: 11th Annual Pediatric Global Health Conference

Published on in Global Health Update

More than 200 global health professionals and trainees attended the 11th Annual Pediatric Global Health Conference, “Global Health in Our Own Backyard: Controversies, Initiatives, and Innovations for Our Local Underserved Populations,” at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) Oct. 4-5, 2019. This year’s conference drew participants from 13 states and six countries and featured many opportunities for networking and learning, including engaging preconference and breakout sessions such as “Career Opportunities to Serve the Underserved in the United States”; “Child Health in Urban Settings”; “Racism and Implicit Bias”; “Trauma-Informed Health System”; and “Violence as a Public Health Epidemic.”

“I found the ‘Racism and Implicit Bias’ preconference session to be the most engaging. Both presenters [Sharrelle Barber, ScD, MPH, and Nicolle Strand, JD, MBE] did an excellent job tag-teaming and bringing in their own experiences and perspectives. I appreciated the interactive case study experiences, and found it refreshing that we tackled uncomfortable questions and topics that are often considered ‘taboo.’” Nawar Naseer, PhD Candidate

Conference attendees listening to a poster presentation Conference attendees listen to a poster presentation The conference agenda also included inspiring keynote addresses by American Board of Pediatrics President David Nichols, MD, MBA, and Seattle Children’s Pediatric WWAMI (Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, Idaho) Director, Richard Shugerman, MD, who outlined priorities and ways in which the United States could improve care for all children, especially those in rural and remote areas. Their talks challenged us to explore solutions we could participate in or lead. Participants also had the opportunity to learn from fascinating research during more than 50 poster presentations and 14 oral abstracts. Presenters included students, residents and fellows, as well as seasoned clinicians and researchers.

“The Global Health Conference really brought to light how many obstacles our local underserved populations face in healthcare. The conference also highlighted many initiatives to help overcome this bias. So many of these social and economic factors impact various areas of clinical practice.” ― Molly Hayes, Clinical Pharmacy Specialist

The conference featured “stories” on several timely topics ― “Making Healthy Food Accessible to All,” “Providing Equitable Access to Healthcare, Education and Empowerment,” “America’s Opioid Epidemic,” “Providing Healthcare Services to Families Experiencing Homelessness,” “Using Bioethics to Change Lives” and “Using the Community Health Care Worker Model to Optimize Care of Children and Youth with Diabetes.”

“I most enjoyed Dwayne Wharton's presentation on the work of The Food Trust, and the presentation given by Terri Lipman, PhD, CRNP, FAAN, about the community health worker approach to diabetes care. These presentations, and many others, highlighted that health, chronic illness and outcomes extend far beyond a hospital, clinic or office visit.” Laura Close, Nurse Practitioner

Many attendees say that the best parts of the conference are the meals, which give them an opportunity to connect with speakers and peers and to reflect, together, on what they have learned during the sessions.

“The conference gives the most amazing opportunity both to listen and talk to an incredibly diverse range of like-minded people working in global health. I left the conference feeling very aware of the many challenges in improving access to quality healthcare and excited by all the amazing things being done by people in Philadelphia and further afield to address these big issues.” Hannah Mitchell, Pediatric Resident

Medical professionals sitting around table having dinner at conference Attendees at dinner with keynote speaker Richard Shugerman, MD (L). By the end of the conference, attendees had forged new relationships, shared knowledge and skills, and challenged each other to continue working toward ensuring the health of children worldwide. Says Nicolle Strand, JD, MBE, Assistant Professor at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University: “I found that at this conference, everyone was open to learning from one another, to challenging assumptions, and to recommitting to do the work of public health right in our cities [and remote areas].”

Mark your calendars to participate in the next Annual Pediatric Global Health Conference: Friday, Oct. 9 – Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020.

“I highly recommend this conference to trainees [and professionals] at all levels interested in addressing pediatric health disparities and in pursuing global health work — as global very much includes local. We must continue to foster a collaborative workforce of pediatric providers who recognize that lessons learned from working in various international settings can be applied here, in ‘our own backyard,’ and vice versa.” ― Elizabeth Sanseau, MD, Pediatric Emergency Medicine Fellow


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