DLSPH Open: Humanitarianism & Social Justice
On August 19, the World Health Organization celebrates World Humanitarian Day to recognize people who risk their lives in humanitarian service. Several members of the DLSPH community are engaged in humanitarian efforts that are improving health and health systems globally, and contributing to the Faculty’s vision to have a global impact.
Professor Robert Fowler, IHPME’s Program Director of Clinical Epidemiology and Health Care Research, is the 2017 recipient of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada’s Teasdale-Corti Humanitarian Award. He was one of the first international physicians to care for patients in West Africa during the Ebola outbreak in 2014, pushed for new clinical protocols and served as a courageous role model for front-line health workers in the area.
Dr. Khaled Almilaji is another humanitarian in the DLSPH community. Before joining IHPME’s Executive Master of Health Informatics Program in June 2017, Almilaji worked with the WHO to coordinate the delivery of vaccines to 1.4 million Syrian children to curtail an outbreak of polio in 2013 and co-founded the Canadian International Medical Relief Organization, a medical charity that has delivered health care in Syria.
Not only do we have decorated humanitarians in our community, we also have deep research strength in current and historical approaches to tackling health issues and generating novel solutions that transcend borders. Professor Ross Upshur is a board member of Dignitas International, an organization dedicated to improving health care for people facing a high burden of disease and inequity, where a number of DLSPH students have competed practicums. Professor Anne-Emanuelle Birn is an internationally recognized scholar on social justice, and global health policy in the 1980s, 90s, and today. Professor Lisa Forman is a Canada Research Chair who is strengthening the international legal framework on the right to health to address global health inequity.
In view of World Humanitarian Day, let’s remember that social justice is a key ingredient in humanitarianism and in DLSPH’s vision to have an impact on global health. Let’s continue to work together to promote the inherent dignity, right to health and healthcare, and social justice of every human being.
Finally, a reminder to all faculty, students, staff and alumni who haven’t completed the DLSPH Brand survey to do so by August 18, 2017. The survey takes 10 minutes, is anonymous and will help us to articulate the DLSPH’s role in building public health and health systems.
Dalla Lana Chair in Public Health Policy
Dalla Lana School of Public Health, a Faculty of the University of Toronto