Why Start Stanford Service in Global Health?
There are three main goals in starting SSGH. Firstly, the publication will allow students to communicate their experiences abroad to the rest of the Stanford community without having to design their own research project or start their own organization. Stanford currently lacks avenues for such communication except in research intensive realms. SSGH will let students highlight important global health issues that they learned abroad, as well as increase campus knowledge about cultures and communities around the world. Students will be provided an outlet for spreading the word about experiences or issues they are passionate about, and the Stanford community, in turn, will learn more about international medicine without even leaving the Farm.
Secondly, SSGH will function as an international health service hub, connecting students and faculty across campus based on a shared enthusiasm for global health. Students can find projects to participate in and student groups to join. From reading articles, visiting webpages, and talking with peers and faculty, students will not only have a personal, first hand account of what working with that program entails, but they will also have someone to contact in the future, in case they wish to find out more. SSGH can provide a network in which individuals can find new colleagues to learn from and discuss global healthcare with, or even find partners with whom they can start new projects with.
Lastly, this group will be a source of inspiration for Stanford community members. Oftentimes, students are inspired by individuals like Paul Farmer, who have done amazing things in the global healthcare world. However, hearing about the experiences of one’s peers is inspirational in a whole new way. Students will learn that one does not need an M.D. or age in order to make a difference: Stanford undergraduates are constantly doing incredible things on an international level, and anything is possible as long as one has the vision and the determination to see it through.
Stanford University places great emphasis on utilizing multidisciplinary approaches to increasing awareness of healthcare issues around the world. The establishment of SSGH Journal perfectly complements this goal by providing an outlet for student discussion of global service in the health field. Contributing authors will be selected to represent a diverse set of backgrounds, ranging from Human Biology and International Relations majors to Anthropology and Psychology students. Presenting these articles from different academic angles will enrich the University community by broadening students’ viewpoints and helping individuals see beyond the “Stanford bubble”. Community service is also a large part of Stanford life, and SSGH Journal will act as a great resource for finding great projects to get involved with. Lastly, the journal will encourage dialogue about solutions for some of the world’s healthcare issues, thus building on the innovative spirit of Stanford students that is so unique to this institution.
Last summer I spent a month in Ghana volunteering in rural villages with Unite For Sight. I learned much about eyecare, but what I took home with me were the glaring health disparities I was exposed to. Everything I learned about international health in HumBio 4B became tangible issues when I saw the state of the villages. Livestock lived with humans, food lacked nutrition, and villagers did not trust Western medicine enough to visit hospitals. I came back to Stanford ready to share my story, but I realized that there was no appropriate place for me to do so. I had not executed research or designed a project, so I felt I could not present a poster at the Fall Forum on Community Health & Public Service or any research symposiums. My story was not scientific enough to be published in SURJ, Stanford Scientific, or the Stanford Journal of Neuroscience, and my experience was not human rights based, so it did not fit with SixDegrees. I could not believe that in an institution so devoted to public health, there was no way for undergraduates to express their experiences and connect with others interested in global health issues. As a result, I want to create Stanford Service in Global Health Journal (SSGH Journal), a journal that will spearhead a multifaceted approach to spreading awareness and promoting discussion of international health related service projects in the Stanford community.
Founder of SSGH