Critical Issues in Global Health SymposiumApril 19, 2017 | Lecture Hall 4, Weill Cornell Medicine - Qatar


Globalization has led to the emergence of the term ‘global health’. As described by Koplan et al “Global health is an area for study, research, and practice that places a priority on improving health and achieving equity in health for all people worldwide. Global health emphasizes transnational health issues, determinants, and solutions; involves many disciplines within and beyond the health sciences and promotes interdisciplinary collaboration; and is a synthesis of population-based prevention with individual-level clinical care”.

Global Health is a powerful interdisciplinary intellectual synthesis aimed at understanding and productively intervening in processes of health, illness, and healing across the globe. It integrates the knowledge across cross-disciplinary fields like epidemiology, medicine, economy, and the behavioural sciences. Currently, population health worldwide is impacted by a wide range of societal and environmental factors in addition to the behaviours of individuals.

Globally, the major health challenges faced by populations include increased prevalence of chronic diseases, the rising dilemma of mental health issues, inequity in women’s health outcomes, unavailability of basic healthcare provision, gaps in healthcare professional’s education specially in low-income countries and widening national and regional health disparities. The rising epidemic of non-communicable diseases is an alarming global and public health issue worldwide. At the crux of these diseases are unhealthy behaviours and lifestyle factors leading to a large burden of disease affecting low, middle and high income countries. Sufficient evidence base is available to for the world to move forward in the direction of lifestyle medicine. A global movement is required to reduce the global burden of disease owing to the non-communicable disease paradigm.

Global health allows us to look at the health of populations not only in isolation, but also in terms of the relationships, similarities, and differences between the health statuses of populations across the globe leading to the overarching goal of better health for the world. We must learn from each other to address health challenges at both local and global levels. This will enable us to achieve ‘health for all’ which will lead to sustainable development of societies globally.

Identified Practice Gaps

Research shows that the top five non-communicable diseases (NCDs) that will affect Qatar in terms of economic burden and disability-adjusted life years are cardiovascular diseases, mental health and behavioural disorders, cancer, respiratory diseases, and diabetes. Whilst these diseases have diverse effects on patients, their causes can be traced to lifestyle-related, or behavioural, risk factors such as tobacco use, a diet heavy in fat, and physical inactivity. Evidence shows that there is an inadequate understanding of non-communicable diseases and their risk factors among healthcare professionals in Qatar. Additionally, there is a lack of awareness on mental health issues and gender health inequity with a focus on inadequate healthcare for women. The symposium will enable participants to understand the role of lifestyle medicine in addressing the non-communicable disease paradigm, learn about women’s health, develop and understanding of the challenges associated with mental health and how education of healthcare professionals can lead to better provision of healthcare leading to overall improvement of population health.

Overall Learning Objectives

At the end of the symposium, participants will be able to:

  1. Discuss the non-communicable disease paradigm and its risk factors
  2. Identify the evidence base for lifestyle medicine
  3. Discuss women’s health and gender health inequity
  4. Recognize the role of education in improving healthcare in low-income nations
  5. Outline challenges associated with mental healthcare delivery

Target Audience

Healthcare professionals including doctors, nurses, pharmacists, educators, researchers, students and other health professionals.

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