The Wayne State University School of Medicine’s Global and Urban Health Equity program for medical students graduated its third class of cohort of scholars April 22.
Global and Urban Health Equity is a two-year seminar series offered by WSU’s Global Health Alliance. Learners gain comprehensive knowledge and skills surrounding global health by providing local and international educational opportunities that focus on the care of underserved and vulnerable populations. The program also provides career and research mentorship in global and community health; promotes scholarly activity in global health education, public health, research methods and innovative service delivery; and education about health disparities and equity.
To obtain a GLUE Scholar certificate, scholars must participate in a global or local capstone project designed within a mentorship framework that spans a minimum of six-month preparation and that results in a scholarly project or publication.
“They did this during a pandemic and transcended all barriers, demonstrating a remarkable ability to pivot and be adaptable,” said Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine-Pediatrics Ijeoma Nnodim Opara, M.D. ’08, co-founding executive director of GLUE with Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine Kristiana Kaufman, M.D.
Capstone projects included “Addressing COVID-19 vaccine attitudes in a pandemic among housing insecure families (Mentor: Assistant Professor of Pediatrics Amy Cortis, M.D.); “COVID-19 health literacy among refugees” (Mentors: Jamey Snell, M.D., and Dr. Nnodim Opara); “Bystander CPR skills building among community members” (Mentor: Dr. Kaufmann); and “Capacity building among women in Rural India using a train the trainer model,” (Mentor: Arun Kumar, M.D.).
The virtual graduation also honored three GLUE distinguished scholars and Dr. Cortis for their “outstanding work with Samaritas Transitional Housing Agency addressing COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy,” Dr. Nnodim Opara said.
The event’s keynote speaker was Michigan State Sen. Erika Geiss of Wayne County.
“Our theme was Reflect, Engage. Act. Her call to action was that our global health scholars of the 21st century be revolutionary, be courageous, innovative and collaborative,” Dr. Nnodim Opara added.
The physician also provided reflective remarks and presented “APC,” a tool to help actualize what she coined the 21st century global health practitioner. APC stands for:
- Amplify the work of community leaders who are already addressing the issues of concern on the ground;
- Partner to build equitable, sustainable and meaningful long-term partnerships with community groups;
- Collaborate to create community and build coalition with like-minded individuals, organizations and entities to magnify impact.
“In so doing, we begin the process of decolonizing global health paradigms and practices,” she said.
To simulate an in-person graduate experience, Dr. Snell provided sound effects and customized Zoom backgrounds, and hosted a virtual dance party at the conclusion of the ceremony.
“Overall, it was a revolutionary and fantastic experience, one that sets a standard for future graduation events and scholars,” Dr. Nnodim Opara said.
For more information about GLUE and to apply for the 2021-2023 cohort, visit www.WSUGHA.org.