Rural Global Health Partnership Initiative
Rural health care providers routinely face challenges accessing resources to deliver care—even in British Columbia (BC). To manage complex patient care, they must often work with their community populations to innovate and integrate solutions that best meet their needs. Continued learning about socioeconomic and cultural sensitivity, innovation, efficient resource use, and environmental stewardship, is therefore crucial, and global health partnership projects provide the opportunity to learn and practice these skills. The Rural Global Health Partnership Initiative (RGHPI) supports projects spearheaded by rural BC physicians or medical trainees and their partners based in underserved communities in BC, other parts of Canada, or internationally.
Eligible projects are founded on strong, ethical partnerships that contribute to supporting the local capacity of health services in underserved rural communities, promote and enhance rural generalism, and result in sustainable benefits to partner communities. They will create an opportunity for reciprocal learning where the project teams learn from each other in diverse contexts. RGHPI aims to demonstrate how a health partnership can create innovative solutions to address healthcare challenges in rural BC, Canada, and globally, and improve health outcomes, especially for underserved, marginalized, and Indigenous populations.
Making a Difference
And while the work often takes place across the world, the RGHPI team consistently hears feedback that those lessons can be brought back to BC.
For example, one Bhutan project team member says: “On a personal level, I have gained experience in utilizing digital technologies to provide an opportunity for people to engage in arts and be aware of mental health themes. I look forward to using what I learned in this experience and potentially apply to my future practice in medicine as I engage with my patients on topics surrounding mental health.”
The students helping with the reproductive health education sessions in Nepal also reported connecting the work to their future practices. UBC medical student, Alana Chambers, who was part of the project, says: “While the communities we’re working with in Nepal face more barriers and different barriers than the communities here in Canada where we will be practising in our futures, there are still a lot of similarities and parallels…We have lots of rural places here in BC and Canada, in general, that face those same barriers just in a different context. And I think that this problem solving process and just trying to generate creative strategies to address those and create more equitable access to care, that’s going to translate anywhere in practice.”