By Ngozi Joe-Ikechebelu
As a public health specialist from the global south (Nigeria) and eager to start my much-anticipated Canadian PhD study, I never envisaged being involved with such a dynamic, trans-disciplinary health group as the BCCI. The on-site event at the Interior Health office in Kelowna, a city surrounded by hills, brought a serene environment suitable for capacity development in global health.
The theme was “Equity-Centered Practices for Connecting knowledge with Action,” one that the facilitators expounded on practical approaches that are aiding my academic and research inclines especially for health disparities seen with social related actions and its possible untoward health outcomes for certain groups. The associated networking and mentorship revealed the humble nature of this group in its quest for health equity. I was eager to be part of it, and it has been an eventful one year filled with academic and social processes.
I had been faced with certain capacity challenges necessary for global health practices; a contextual institutional restriction of my background. Following the Kelowna exposure, there has been a series of monthly activities at UVic (a part of BCCI) for me. The monthly networking of situated learning processes from ally researchers from different disciplines; the continuing nudges from mentors; the town and gown activity of January 2018 that featured engineering and medical researchers; the continuing webinar meetings and trainings on topical global health issues; the Social Sciences and Humanities Council (SSHRC) and Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) connection grant writings; and the Nigerian working group on the impacts of climate change on health.
All of these activities are changing my approaches to global health practices and applications of varying theoretical frameworks. The diversity of members reveals an obvious partnership that humbles one from a global south context and the dual shared benefits show a sustainable interventional health approach that can help alleviate health disparities.
Ngozi is a Public Health specialist with an MBBS from Nnamdi Azikiwe University, an MPH from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, an MSc in International Health Development and Management from the University of Birmingham, UK, and is currently a PhD student in the Social Dimensions of Health Program at the University of Victoria. Ngozi is an active member of the BCCI Community of Practice and following the event in Kelowna, she and fellow participant Paivi Abernathy reported on the BCCI in a Discussion Group on Global Health Research session with the Centre for Global Studies (CFGS).