USC, UCLA collaborate to host Global Health Awareness Week

Highlighting a week of events focused on global health, USC will host a health career fair Thursday to help students realize that there are opportunities in global health beyond traditional careers.

The career fair is being held as part of Global Health Awareness Week, a joint venture between USC and UCLA that was first held last year. This year’s theme is “Urbanization and Health,” and the event has featured a number of speakers and workshops.

At the career fair, which will be on Trousdale Parkway from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., representatives from organizations including the Red Cross, Doctors for Global Health and TOMS Shoes will be present to discuss jobs and volunteer opportunities with students.

Ivette Flores, program manager of the USC Institute for Global Health, said she hopes that this week’s events will remind students about the interconnected nature of the world and the impact they can have on it.

“Los Angeles itself is a global village,” Flores said. “Even if you never leave your backyard and you live in L.A., you are experiencing global health issues because of the diversity of the population: health outcomes, mortality issues … Global health transcends all boundaries and affects everyone.”

USC student coordinators Kelly Leech and Minh Tran are optimistic about the turnout at the fair because attendance at all of this week’s events has been high.

“Attendance is up — people are talking about global health week online and on the Facebook page, and we’re getting a lot of messages from the website,” Leech said.

Various events have taken place this week at UCLA and USC, on both the Health Sciences Campus and University Park Campus. On Monday evening, an exhibit by photojournalist Paul Rockower, “Public Health through a Public Diplomacy Lens,” was unveiled in the Von KleinSmid Center courtyard, and a discussion was held featuring experts Neal Baer and Sandra de Castro Buffington, who discussed the role of entertainment in public health education.

Attendees found the presentations interesting and impactful.

“I thought the presentation was very nice,” Elizabeth Connely, a staff member at the Levan Institute, said. “I don’t think I’m going to become a doctor, but I hope that in some way I can get involved.”

The overall goal of the week, Flores said, is to raise awareness about the impact of increased urbanization on public health around the world and to help bring students interested in public health together.

“We’ve noticed that everyone on campus is doing global health work in one way or another, and we want to make it easy for students to find those kinds of things,” Flores said.

Last year’s inaugural series, “Global Health Awareness Week: Forming Partnerships, Breaking Barriers,” was initiated by a collaboration between two friends: a medical student at UCLA and a public health student at USC.

“They were students interested in breaking down the barriers between USC and UCLA ­— the intention of which was to work together to where we had global health activity going on across Los Angeles,” Flores said.

The global health collaboration between USC and UCLA does not end this week; students from both campuses and their affiliated organizations will be joining forces again April 18 to host Soccer in the Streets, a soccer game and health fair in Huntington Park to promote health and fitness.

UCLA public health student Tina Batteate looks forward to other collaborations in the future.

“I think it’s been a wonderful experience — I think we balance each other. We [each] have different faculty members working in different areas, and we complement each other’s faculty,” she said. “We have the Art and Global Health Center, they have [the Institute for Global Health] — we have different institutes on each campus as well, and it’s really great to bring them all together.”