Share our adventures as we explore what it means to join forces with colleagues and champions across the globe as teachers; as life-long seekers of knowledge, wisdom, and truth; as champions of equity, and as women. With jokes.
Honorary "Sister" Geoff Cundiff joins Suzy and Lauri to consider what it means to be a privileged white male academic Obstetrics and Gynecology leader navigating anti-racism and the decolonization of healthcare as these forces transform the very landscape he helped to shape. To quote Bette Davis' line in the Hollywood classic, All About Eve; "Fasten your seatbelts, it's going to be a bumpy night!"
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Professor Geoffrey Cundiff, University of British Columbia
Nell Irvin Painter: The History of White People
Professor Geoff Cundiff, honorary "Sister", worked in the United States for many years before emigrating to Canada to work at the University of British Columbia. Together we tackle the burning question: Is Canadian healthcare "healthier" than healthcare in the United States? Comparing and contrasting the health systems and the Obstetrician/Gynecologist physician education and training processes, Geoff and Lauri explore the much-welcomed shift in health systems research to include the perspective of the patients in measures of success and failure. If "we treasure what we measure", which do we care more about - the patients or the profits?
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Professor Geoff Cundiff, University of British Columbia
National Bureau of Economic Research: Comparing the U.S. and Canadian Healthcare Systems
Olga Khazan in The Atlantic: What If America Had Canada's Healthcare System? (hint: Medicare for All)
Suzy and Lauri anticipate impacts, both negative and positive, of the 2nd wave of the pandemic on global health collaborations.
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Voice of America: In Tackling COVID-19, Africa Gives World Lesson.
CDC: Is it COVID or Ebola?
UNICEF: Is it Ebola or malaria? A diagnostic challenge
British Medical Journal: Positive effects of covid-19 and social determinants of health: all in it together?
British Medical Journal: The positive effects of covid-19
In this episode, Suzy and Lauri take a break from living inside COVID19 challenges to ruminate on the not-so-evident, emerging and potential future positive impacts of the pandemic on global health. As the pandemic enters the 2nd wave that is sure to wreak havoc on resource-poor and poorly implemented health systems, we take a moment to remember that disaster also brings opportunities. In this episode we explore the revitalizing aspects emerging in global health, either due to or accelerated by the COVID19 pandemic. As the 2nd tsunami wave crests over the heads of all who live in the USA and UK, we consider the potential for favorable circumstances behind the immediate and most dire impacts. Global work requires a constant revision and rethink on how we do what we do - hint keywords - sovereignty, reciprocity, bilaterality, resilience, strategic dialogue replacing one-way monologues...
And here's more for the student inside each of us:
The challenges and opportunities of a global health crisis: the management and business implications of COVID-19 from an Asian perspective https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7216126/
COVID-19 as a global challenge: towards an inclusive and sustainable future
Dr. John Varallo is the Global Director of Safe Surgery at the Johns Hopkins Program for Global Education in Gynecology and Obstetrics, also known by its acronym, JHPIEGO. John works both overseas, running JHPIEGO programs in low-income countries in Africa and Asia, as well as with marginalized communities in the USA. During the COVID pandemic, he has been working with underserved communities in Alaska.
In Episode 5, we explore the ethics of providing health care in poor communities in other countries and in our own here in the medically underserved zones of the United States. John shares his lens as a teacher, health strategist, global health leader, and lifelong champion of global, and local, heath equity.
Global health ethics: critical reflections on the contours of an emerging field, 1977–2015
It’s far too complicated’: why fragmentation persists in global health
The financial sustainability of the World Health Organization and the political economy of global health governance: a review of funding proposals . "We argue that while financial reform requires institutional changes to enhance transparency, accountability and efficiency, it is also deeply tied to the political economy of state sovereignty and ideas about the leadership role of the WHO in a crowded global health governance context."
The roots of global health are anchored in historic programs designed to keep colonizers healthy during flares of endemic illness. The underpinning goals included maintaining apace the flow of resources out of the colonies to the colonialists' home country, even, and especially, when these endemic illnesses decimated the colonized, indigenous populations whose health was excluded from colonizers' programs to combat, for example, malaria, yellow fever and cholera across African and Asian colonies.
Today, the decolonization of global health is gaining momentum. Sister Surgeons will explore this topic in a series of podcast episodes.
With Episode 4, we begin unpacking of the decolonization movement with Dr. Sierra Washington, Director of Global Women's Health at SUNY Stonybrook's Renaissance School of Medicine in Long Island, New York. Dr. Washington has a broad platform of global health experience including years lived in Tanzania and Rwanda where she supported academic and non-governmental organizations to build capacity and strengthen systems for women's health. What does global health have in common with white supremacy? What does the movement to decolonize global health have in common with anti-racism and Black Lives Matter? Dr. Washington spells it out...
Here are a few links for Sister Surgeon fans who want to explore further-
Ethics in Global Health trainings and publications include works such as:
Harvard University's platform:
Uganda US woman starts charity, plays doctor, kills children, no regulation
Uganda - No White Saviors grass roots organization
Dr. Sierra Washington, Director of Global Health for the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the State University of New York/Stonybrook Renaissance School of Medicine, talks with the Sisters about the history of the Eugenics Movement, contraception/family planning in the US and across the world, egg freezing for professionals and forced hysterectomies for detained immigrants within the world of reproductive health and rights.
Suzy and Lauri explore the "how to" of getting involved in global health through UNGA and WHA annual events, and how it all ties into today's dynamics around race, health and COVID-19.
Suzy and U.K. colleagues recent peer-reviewed publication:
Occupational risk prevention, education and support in black, Asian and ethnic minority health workers in the COVID-19 pandemic
Harvard Business Review:
The Disproportionate Impact of Covid-19 on Black Health Care Workers in the U.S.
United Nations General Assembly 75 (#UNGA75)
In Focus: The 75th session of the UN General Assembly reaffirms collective commitment to multi-lateralism
World Health Assembly 73 (#WHA73)
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Seventy-third World Health Assembly —its first-ever to be held virtually— met with a reduced agenda to fit into two days
Dr. Lauri Romanzi, from New York City, and Dr. Suzy Elneil, from London, start the conversation on how global surgeons, as women and champions of women's health and rights, are navigating the pandemic as mentors and colleagues. It's different for girls - no matter what or where one does what one does.