June 17, 2011

GHLI Conference Visited by Ghana Dignitary

His Excellency John Dramani Mahama (center); Yale University President Richard Levin (far left); and Dr. Elizabeth Bradley, faculty director of the Yale Global Health Leadership Institute (far right), join 2011 Global Health Leadership Institute Conference delegates from Ghana.

Last Thursday, the GHLI Conference opened with a talk from GHLI research scientist Leslie Curry, who presented on the importance of evaluation and learning in health care leadership roles. She focused specifically on the power of positive deviation -- the idea that solutions to a problem facing a community, often reside within that community.  “We have adapted this approach to study health care organizations. Because the solutions are developed by peers, they are more credible, feasible and likely to be adopted and sustained over time,” explains Curry.  “This approach offers great promise in our efforts to identify and spread best practices in health care and ultimately to improve health care and health systems globally.”  Curry later opened the floor to delegates who shared their experiences with evaluation and learning in the health sectors of their own countries.

The visit of Vice President John Dramani Mahama from Ghana was a highlight of the day.  Mr. Mahama first met privately with Yale President Richard Levin and then with Ghana delegates, Yale faculty and representatives from South Essex Partnership Trust to discuss the treatment and perception of mental health in his country. He explained that currently, one out of four residents in Ghana is affected by some form of mental illness.  And, due to the lack of physicians and clinical care facilities, most of these people are ostracized from society and their families.  “I hope with Yale’s help, we can begin to erase the stigma associated with mental illness and provide quality care for those who are suffering,” he stated.  When Mr. Mahama addressed all conference participants at lunch, he commented on how pleased he was that delegates from Ghana were addressing the topic of mental health care needs and said he hoped Conference participants  "go back home more confused" because that means they are looking at the issues in new and different ways. The Vice President also mentioned that he is eager to work together with the Ghana delegates to get a mental health bill passed.

President Levin offered a toast at lunch applauding the delegates’ deep commitment to health care and thanked them for "bringing ideas and energy to Yale." President Levin went on to say that the GHLI Conference underscores Yale's long standing commitment to educating our students for service and leadership. He then asked all to raise their glass to "all those bettering the lives of people around the world through the Yale Global Health Leadership Institute."

The day ended with a ceremony in which the delegates from all five countries were presented with certificates for their participation in this conference.

Nina Gumkowski, GHLI Intern

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