Global learners come together for the 2017 International Summer Program

Schulich Medicine & Dentistry’s 2017 International Summer Program brought together learners from every corner of the globe for two-weeks of collaborative sharing and education. A joint initiative between the Internationalization Office, the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics and the Western English Language Centre, the Program exposes the medical and health studies graduate trainees to research projects and learning focused on global health issues.

A few students shared their experiences with us. Mahmoud Azzeh, Mary Bamimore, Karima Hazzouti and Zahraa Jamal came to the program with unique academic experiences but shared in the extraordinary learning opportunity to study and learn with international colleagues and leaders at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry.

Mahmoud Azzeh

Mahmoud Azzeh is a first year medical student studying at the Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences in Dubai. Azzeh was motivated to join the International Summer Program to learn more about research, the scientific methods involved and gain a broader view of global health issues.

Why are you interested in global health issues?

I have always been interested in global health issues, and I believe it’s important to learn about these topics from a diverse point of view and gain a big-picture understanding.

What were you looking forward to learning about in the International Summer Program?

I was excited about the research project I will be working on with my group. The topic we are researching is air pollution in China and its relation to lung diseases. I have never done research or studied anything related to this area, so I am excited to find articles and disseminating the information.

What do you hope to gain from the research project?

I am particularly interested in evaluating how China has tried to approach this problem of air pollution and lung diseases, because it is an issue that is also relevant to Dubai. In the United Arab Emirates, a lot of people use private cars and carbon dioxide emissions are quite high as a result. I think this project will allow me to critically evaluate what other countries are doing to solve their issues with pollution, and perhaps, in the future provide me with ideas as to how I can possibly contribute to solving that problem in my own country.

Mary Bamimore

Mary Bamimore is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Epidemiology at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry. Bamimore has a biochemistry background and sees the International Summer Program as an opportunity to learn more about epidemiology-based research methods and discover new collaboration possibilities for the future.

What did you hope to gain from the International Summer Program?

I was hoping the program would provide me with new ideas and framework that could be applied to my research and studies at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry and that I would have a greater understanding of public health centred issues.

I had only been in the program for a week and already I began to change my way of thinking. I learned more extensively that a lot of things, ones I wouldn’t have previously thought about, contribute to the global burden of mortality and morbidity.  From a biochemistry point-of-view, I used to think the main contributor to the global burden of mortality and morbidity was cardiovascular disease and cancer, but there are a lot of other things like suicide and road accidents.

How do your academic interests intertwine with this summer program?

Though the work I am doing for my PhD thesis is quite different from the work we are doing in the Program, I think the Program is complimentary to my academic work because it provides a new way of thinking and perspective. Currently, I’m in the stage of writing my thesis proposal, and I think the new problem solving methods that I have learned will help me to frame my topic more clearly and evaluate it in a different way potentially.

Karima Hazzouti

Karima Hazzouti is a new graduate who just completed her bachelor of sciences from the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in the Netherlands. Hazzouti came to the program with a background in biomedical sciences with research lab experience. She joined the International Summer Program to gain a greater understanding of global health and health care organization.

Why did you want to participate in this International Summer Program?

I am interested in learning more about global health and the issues other countries are facing. For instance, in the Netherlands, where I am from, I am aware of the challenges we face with regards to health. Aging populations are an issue in the Netherlands, so I was really curious to learn about the other unique or different issues other countries face.

I also like the diversity this Program offers, and everyone here is unique. I think it is important to learn from each other.

What did you hope to take away from the Program?

I hoped to gain a greater understanding of culture and how health intertwines with it. Evaluating and learning about how other countries regulate, introduce policy and analyze the health issues they are facing in their regions is also important to me.

Dr. Zahraa Jamal

Dr. Zahraa Jamal is an Internationally-trained medical graduate from the Al-Anbar University in Iraq. She is committed to life-long learning and was hoping to gain a greater understanding of the health issues that are present around the world.

What experiences did you hope to gain from the Program?

I have made great friendships here and the information that we have been learning has enabled me to think differently about ideas and issues. I think the Program will also be helpful in allowing me to decide where to continue my future academic studies.

What are some new ideas you have learned?

Before starting this program I didn’t have a greater understanding of the health issues faced in countries like the Netherlands, Africa or China, but through the professors and the international students in the class, I have learned a lot. It has also been interesting to learn about the social determinants of health.