On the weekend of 6th – 7th November, Imperial’s Students for Global Health society (SfGH Imperial) successfully hosted its first national student conference, in collaboration with Imperial College Infectious Diseases Society (ID Soc). The hybrid conference, attended by over 40 delegates each day, was designed around a central theme of “learning from the pandemic” and was the first in-person national student global health conference since 2019. A broad range of workshops, seminar talks, keynote speakers and panel discussions were featured on the programme, with Saturday 6th November focussing on science communications, public health, and scientific responses to COVID-19, whilst Sunday 7th was centred around community health.
Keynote speakers included Professors Danny Altmann and Azeem Majeed from Imperial’s Departments of Immunology and Primary Care and Public Health respectively, who gave presentations on the subject of long COVID as a chronic condition for the patient, and the long-term impacts of the pandemic on the NHS. Professor Sir Michael Marmot from UCL’s Institute of Health Equity spoke passionately about the need to “build back fairer” from the pandemic, addressing structural social determinants of health, and Dr John Tregoning from Imperial’s Department of Infectious Disease delivered a highly engaging talk on how a century of scientific progress has allowed us to develop the COVID vaccines in 100 days.
Three expert panel discussions on global health careers, policy making during the pandemic and how to build more resilient communities brought diverse opinions and rich conversations to the conference, with opportunities for the audience to engage with panellists including scientists, clinicians, public health professionals, community leaders and student representatives.
Interactive workshops and talks covered diverse topics, including communicating data to the media, human rights and digital health, challenges around conducting metanalyses during a fast-moving pandemic, the impact of COVID on social care, mental health during the pandemic, and equitable access to vaccines and medicines. There were also a variety of “market stalls” from partner organisations.
“Everyone involved should be very proud of organising this event with no prior experience and under severe pandemic-related uncertainties.”
Ray Wang, SfGH Chair said: “This event has been a real team effort and partnership between SfGH and Imperial ID Soc. I would like to thank first and foremost our conference team, and in particular my colleagues Zhin Ming Tan (Secretary, SfGH) and Bryan Ooi (Chair, ID Soc) for their immense contributions behind the scenes to ensure the hybrid online and in-person conference was delivered successfully. Everyone involved should be very proud of organising this event with no prior experience and under severe pandemic-related uncertainties. We have demonstrated that our plans worked well and will have given our societies confidence to deliver similar events in the future for our members”.
The conference committee would like to extend their sincere thanks to our partners from Imperial’s School of Public Health, SfGH National Committee and UAEM National Committees for their support of this event, as well as all of our speakers, panellists, faciliators and stallholders without whose generous support and engagement, this meeting would not have been possible.