Memorial University’s World Health Organization Society, or MUN WHO, is hard at work putting together their 2018 conference. The conference, which is set to take place March 2 to 4, will operate similarly to a Model UN or Youth Parliament. “The World Health Organization itself, when it assembles, runs its debates very similarly to those organizations” explained the society’s president, Aanchal Ralhan, “we’re not directly affiliated with the World Health Organization, but we kind of simulate what that debate might look like”.
Ralhan attended a similar conference in Montreal, one of two locations across Canada that also run these simulated conferences, when she was in the fourth year of her undergrad, and decided to bring the idea back to Newfoundland.
“It’s a field that’s applicable to a lot of different spheres and faculties within the university” Rahlan explained. Students that have already signed up come from various backgrounds, including music, business, engineering, and sociology, to name a few. “It’s really great to have all these different disciplines coming together and kind of interacting in this sphere where everyone has a different knowledge set” she added.
The conference begins with a training session on Friday evening for those new to debating. Organizers aim to encourage students who have not previously debated not to be intimidated, and hope that they will feel like they can try something new.
Participating students will each act as a different country’s ambassador to the World Health Organization, and will work together within their regional blocks to discuss health policy before bringing their region’s resolution papers to the “world stage”.
This year’s theme is Critical and Acute care, which concerns things such as how a given country’s ER and OR rooms might be running, how triage works in the emergency room, whether or not emergency care is privatised and how trauma is dealt with. “Last year we did chronic care, but with Critical and Acute care I think the socio-economic status of the country really comes into play because, of course, if there’s more likelihood of natural disasters, or warfare, those kinds of things, that’s really shifting what kind of doctors you need and what kind of health care practitioners you need in the vicinity and what how much access you really have to that”.The conference will also include presentations from two speakers. Dr. Andrew Furey, an orthopedic surgeon and the founder Team Broken Earth, and Dr. Adam Dubrowski, the inaugural Academic Director for the Clinical Learning and Simulation Centre at MUN.
As of now, fifty-eight students have signed up for this year’s conference, and with seventeen staff participating as well, MUN WHO expects to have over eighty students and staff involved. Registration for the event is fifteen dollars, kept low in an effort to remain accessible for students.
Ralhan encouraged anyone interested in health, debate, and social and political issues to attend. “The biggest thing, if people are hesitant about signing up,” she reiterated, “for them to consider is the fact that most people coming don’t have debate experience, and it’s really a good way to enhance your public speaking skills, get a different experience, interact with a lot of people and learn some really intimate and intricate knowledge about a certain country […] a think it’s a really unique opportunity in that sense”.
For more information, students can visit https://www.munwho.com/
Leslie Claire Amminson