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By: Nicole Turturro, Development Intern

This past month, I had the pleasure of going to Unite For Sight’s Global Health and Innovation Conference.  Every year students and professionals convene at Yale University to discuss the current situation in global health and to exchange ideas on how to move forward in everyone’s respective field.  Much of this year’s conference focused on cultural humility and how we, as a Western country, can humbly serve the communities we work with.  Vanessa Kerry, the first keynote speaker, talked much about how listening to the communities we work with and learning to conduct our work in the context of their cultures greatly improves patient and program outcomes.  One of the first panels I attended was the “Thinking Outside of the Box:  Careers in Global Health Panel.”  Although I will be pursuing an MD degree, this panel showed me the various paths to a career in global health and the various niches within the global health sector.  Those on the panel included a global health consultant, a professor, and a photographer!  

The next keynote speaker was perhaps the most interesting talk of the day.  Jeffrey Sachs, a professor at Columbia University, gave a talk on universal health coverage in the US and what the current situation is in this country.  Although the US spends the most on healthcare, it has a shorter life expectancy than most high-income countries.  The United States is also the only country that treats healthcare as a business.  The US has the second highest relative poverty rate and the most income inequality among high-income countries.  As a young person, this talk was extremely enlightening and demonstrated the amount of work that my generation and future generations need to do.  

Throughout the day, I also learned about the role of surgical care in global health and experts’ opinions on different healthcare systems, such as customer-centered and value-based healthcare.  One of the most interesting talks was about MEDSINC, an app developed by two pediatricians that enables the user to triage patients and make treatment recommendations.  This allows clinics that are mainly run by nurses and secondary healthcare workers to more efficiently treat their patients.  

Attending the Global Health and Innovation Conference was a wonderfully cerebral and inspiring experience.  Thank you so much to IMR for asking me to attend.