The Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health Student Advisory Council (SAC) is a student-led organization that brings together diverse students interested in global health with the goal of fostering cross-disciplinary student networking and collaboration. Although networking and collaboration often occur in person, this year, council leaders pivoted two key events to be held online. They welcomed a record attendance of Vanderbilt students, staff, faculty, and community members engaged in global health.
Since 2011, SAC has hosted the annual Global Health Case Competition at Vanderbilt. In February, SAC hosted this week-long event, which brought together over 150 students who worked in small teams to draft programs that would provide mental health support to the immigrant community in Nashville. The SAC case competition planning committee led by Sobana Balasubramanian (BA ’21) and Caitlin Washburn (MPH ’21) wrote the case and coordinated semi-finalist and finalist rounds via Zoom. The competition brought in an interdisciplinary judging panel from across the US and around the world. The winning team advanced to participate in the International Global Health Case Competition, hosted by Emory University. Muna Muday (MPH ’20) delivered an engaging and inspiring keynote address during the competition day events.
This year, SAC also hosted the fourth Global Health Symposium at Vanderbilt. The Symposium featured 26 individuals and groups who presented their research and program experiences in global health. Presentations ranged from “The Stigma of Elephantiasis” (Teresa Xu, BA ‘23) to “Multicomponent Intervention to Improve Hypertension Control in Central America” (Kristyne Mansilla, MPH ‘22). Presenters included Vanderbilt undergraduate and graduate students, staff and faculty, and partners from other universities, including the University of Botswana. In addition, the keynote speaker, Carol Etherington, Associate Professor of Nursing Emerita, Vanderbilt School of Nursing, reflected on her experience in global health practice with poignant lessons for students embarking on a global health career. The symposium planning committee was led by Nitin Prabakaran (BA ’22) and Becky Hollenberg (BA ’21).
Student co-chairs Shruti Anant (BA ’21) and Emilio Loret de Mola (BA ’20) led the SAC for the 2020-2021 academic year. Elizabeth Rose, Raphael Abayateye, and Marie Martin serve as VIGH advisers for the VIGH SAC.