Welcome back. We wanted to introduce you to some of our JSCOR students and activities that they have been up to over the Winter Term at the JHSPH. Life does exists outside of the classroom for our outstanding students!
First up is Dominique Vervoort, author of the below post. We want to thank him for taking his time to write this. Thanks for reading!
Dominique Vervoort, a first-year MPH/MBA student and JSCOR mentee working on racial disparities in vascular surgery with Dr. Caitlin Hicks, went to Johannesburg, South Africa during the winter break to speak at the Global Initiative for Children's Surgery (GICS) 4th Biannual Meeting. The meeting convened over 200 surgeons, other health care professionals, researchers, and advocates to improve timely access to safe, timely, and affordable children's surgery around the world.
It is estimated that 1.7 million children and adolescents lack access to surgical care when needed, leaving the socioeconomic future of low- and middle-income countries at great risk. The meeting tackled topics ranging from institutional quality improvement projects to health systems strengthening interventions across a multitude of children's surgical specialties. "Children are not small adults" often echoed through the halls as many a government's perception of children's surgery fails to extend beyond the development of general surgery training programs.
Dominique, as an active GICS member sitting in the "Cardiac Surgery" and "Financing, Policy, and Advocacy" working groups, spoke on how to leverage social media for high-level advocacy in global surgery, in order to ensure that international organizations, policymakers, and funders start to listen. Having previously completed the Paul Farmer Global Surgery Fellowship at Harvard Medical School, he has recognized the unique power of Twitter in creating and scaling grassroots advocacy movements to catalyze social change. Through this, he hopes to move the needle further towards a more equitable world in which nobody should die from surgically treatable conditions.