June 7, 2012

GHLI 2012 Conference Kicks Off with Reinforcing Words from Keynote Speakers

Nina Gumkowski, GHLI intern

The fourth GHLI conference began with a warm welcome to all delegates from faculty director of GHLI, Elizabeth Bradley and executive director of GHLI, Mike Skonieczny. Vice President and Secretary of Yale Linda Lorimer offered a keynote address focused on the internationalization of Yale. She stressed how important the development of international partnerships is to Yale’s mission to expand its reach into the global community. Lorimer reiterated that GHLI is “a centerpiece of the University’s internationalization efforts.”
After opening remarks, delegates met with David Berg, clinical professor at the Yale School of Medicine and a specialist in organizational behavior, group dynamics and research methods. The delegates worked with Berg on how to build a conference community through the development of relationships at the individual, delegation and community level. To do so, attendants were given the chance to voice, openly and honestly, the achievements, challenges and concerns for their programs.
Later, the Ethiopian delegation presented work being done to establish a hospital alliance for quality health care which was followed by a breakout session where delegates from the other three countries talked in small groups with one or two of the individuals from Ethiopia. The breakout sessions facilitate lively discussion on the issues addressed in Ethiopia and have the members of different countries learn from each other’s experiences.
The day ended with a presentation by Zack Cooper, a health economist at the London School of Economics, who addressed the need for randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of new policies. Often, new policies are not given enough funding for countrywide implementation. With RCTs, researchers can calculate the statistical differences that the policy changes made in certain implemented areas to provide solid evidence for the policy’s success.
Conversations continued during meals and coffee breaks with intermingling of different delegations and staff members. Several delegates mentioned how relieved they were to see that other countries were struggling with the same problems as their own. All attendants seemed to be looking forward to collaborating on remedies for certain problems. The events of the day provided a positive start to a week of relationship building and problem solving among global health care systems.

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