Twenty-six health-related student organizations came together Sunday for Students Taking Action, an event hosted by the Global Health and Development Coalition, a network of health-focused student groups.
The event, which lasted most of the day, included several prominent speakers, including School of Public Health Prof. Kenneth Warner and James Holloway, vice provost for global and engaged education.
In addition to speakers, the event included a professional development panel. One panel member spent 10 months in India on a Fulbright scholarship, and another is working on a mobile app-sensor pair for monitoring blood pressure without a cuff.
LSA seniors Nick Majie and Samantha Cunningham formed the Coalition in December 2012 because they wanted to form an umbrella organization that could unite health groups on campus to increase effectiveness.
The coalition meets biweekly with a delegate from each member organization in order to plan events that will help achieve common goals.
“We wanted the effort of these groups to be as great as possible,” Cunningham said. “Sometimes it is counterproductive to have groups overlap, and we wanted to encourage collaboration.”
Majie said he started thinking about the need for a group like the coalition when he learned that the University’s Center for Global Health had dissolved in July 2012. He said the closing of the center worried him that the University may not put a big enough focus on global health.
Cunningham and Majie said they want the coalition to include a focus on professional development, innovation and support dealing with cultural issues abroad. They also want to help student groups gain access to University resources.
Public Policy junior Tracey Fu said she attended the conference to hear the speakers and learn from other passionate leaders on campus.
LSA senior Rina Joshi said she expected to learn from the event how she could efficiently serve as a student leader of her organization, FreeHearts.
Majie and Cunningham said they are beginning to plan the next coalition event. In the long run, Majie said he hopes one day the coalition might not have to exist.
“If the University took a strong enough interest in their students’ engagement, then there wouldn’t have to be an initiative like this,” he said.