Read Between

My outrage continues to be fueled by the institutional abuse of power within a graduate program that constructs confines around and continuously places assignment on which skills are “relevant” in global health.

Relevance?

There are concerning discrepancies between a program that signifies cultural competency and positional awareness while also refusing to acknowledge a language course built upon understanding healthcare disparities, a key facet of global health practice, as suitable for a global health graduate degree.

In assessing micro and macro level impacts, beneath a course that promotes language building there is an evident foundation advocating for health literacy, informed decision making, and transparent communication amongst marginalized individuals.

As someone aspiring to work with diverse populations, building relationships concurrently with solutions, relevance is determined at the personal level, not institutional level. I am enrolled in this program as a capable individual seeking tools to build up my person, not your numbers. What I value, desire, and understand to be pertinent points of my learning in this field is a reflection of who I continue to become, not the student body this academic institution seeks to portray as a means to financing.

I am disheartened, truly, by academic leaders and advisors who put on a mask of support and student interest when in actuality their perspective is as closed off as is their demeanor.

Your position is not determine relevance in a field that continues to transform in parallel with the growing circumstances of the modern world. Moreover, your position is not to undermine my ambition by placing parameters on my education.

You cannot look a historically disadvantaged individual working to combat health illiteracy and healthcare inequities that social drivers of health and effective communication are not relevant to a global health program. Or is it not relevant because the population of interest is national, not international? But what happened to global is local?

“A tailored, flexible curriculum…. is guided by the principle that complex global health challenges require a multidisciplinary, multi-sector approach that leverages diverse perspectives.”

Stop. Stop portraying a false image of competence and student support when irrelevance is quickly assigned to what students greatly desire out of their education.

I am here, working hard, because I know the hours I am investing to build my knowledge and skills through academia is short term all building up to a future global health practitioner with a diverse set of interests and a deep desire to serve others.

I value quantitive and qualitative skills, immensely. I value collaboration and innovation I value my education even when it is accompanied by mental exhaustion and the giving up of self-care practices.

I was able to overlook the institutional gaps within community engagement and overall sustainability, but when my values are ignored, entirely, that is when I start losing respect. And quite frankly I have completely lost respect for the program I pay thousands of dollars to grow from.

In propagating interdisciplinary skill building to to address “complex health challenges” were we not just taught that global health is built upon medicine and public health? I know I’m not mistaken, since I got a near perfect score on that quiz. Or maybe I am confusing it with the broad backgrounds brought to me by my cohort including medicine, dentistry, journalism, nursing, nonprofit work, epidemiology, and academia. Or maybe I am just entirely exhausted by having to illustrate these interdisciplinary connections to merely get approval to take a class outside of the global health school.

This field is, by nature, immensely complex, which is why is requires an intricate compilation of workers. In instructing and constructing individuals to be placed in vulnerable settings through an educational environment is one where growth happens at all levels and my outrage continues to be fueled by circumstance after circumstance in which the stunting effect this program places on individuals like me is further revealed.

Signed,

A graduate student who feels a little better

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Lisa Gachara

Lisa Gachara

Global health student and storyteller. I hope to challenge mindset & provide understanding for global health issues and personal success alike. lisagachara.com