I have been interested in global health from a young age because growing up in Ethiopia exposed me to various health disparities early on. One event that particularly struck me was watching my cousin’s parents die of HIV. Even though my cousin was now parentless, no one would take care of her. It wasn’t for a lack of resources, but rather for the stigma associated with HIV. This experience made me realize that while health resources are important, the education accompanying these resources is just as valuable. I wanted to fight back against this stigma.
When I came to the US in 1997 at 10 years old, I realized the differences in health care between the US and Ethiopia. The fact that where you are born dictates how long you are able to live and the quality of life did not seem fair to me. There are so many people dying in Ethiopia from health issues that people don’t even think about in the US. I was fortunate enough to come to the US and wanted to give back through healthcare resource allocation and education.
I am an incoming Master’s of Public Health student and I am following the Leadership, Policy and Management track. I wanted to attend this conference to get exposed to what is going on. I am interested in learning about what “global health” actually means and how people are acting and creating programs within the field. Public Health issues I’m particularly interested in are mental health and maternal and child health care. This conference will be a great opportunity for me to find out what people are doing in these areas and to network with other professors and policy makers. I am only one of more than a hundred students that will attend this conference. The conference is making sure that students get to attend the event and has given scholarships to students who cannot afford to pay the fee. This conference will be a great opportunity to bring together everyone in the field of global health – students, professors, and policy makers that are all fighting for the same goal of changing the state of global health.
Meheret Endeshaw is an entering student into the Masters of Public Health Program at University of Washington.