UCGHI Initiative trains students, faculty to advocate for global health issues

June 30, 2017

A new UC Global Health Institute (UCGHI) initiative is training UC students and faculty on political advocacy for global health issues.

The UCGHI Advocacy Initiative will help ensure UC voices are heard by coordinating campus events and outreach to members of Congress. An inaugural group of student advocates representing each campus will lead advocacy efforts on their respective campuses, collaborating with faculty, campus global health groups, and each other to build system-wide momentum in defense of global health.

UCGHI partnered with Kyle House Group (KHG), a Washington, DC-based international advocacy and government relations consulting firm, to develop an advocacy strategy tailored to UCGHI's focus areas — Women's Health, Gender and Empowerment and Planetary Health — with a goal of harnessing the power of the 10-campus system in a shared advocacy effort.

When Congress convenes this month to discuss proposed cuts to global health funding, vital institutions — including the National Institutes of Health, United Nations and affiliates, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as climate change efforts in developing countries — face cuts that could have devastating effects on health issues both abroad and in the US. The UCGHI Advocacy Initiative plans to have students and faculty ready to effectively advocate for funding for these institutions.

"We are at a critical time for determining future leadership in global health programs," said Sarah Lawrence, a UCLA medical student and director of the UCGHI Advocacy Initiative." Our 30 student advocates have joined the Advocacy Initiative because they see the need for global health programs and want to better equip themselves to be effective advocates for the improved health of humankind and of our planet."

The program was initially conceived nearly four years ago when UCGHI Director Dr. Tom Coates and Kyle House Group founder Porter DeLaney imagined the immense potential UC has to become a force for advocacy — a collective voice across California. Now, as global health funding faces serious threats under the administration of President Donald Trump, this idea has become the UCGHI Advocacy Initiative.

To apply to be a student advocate, visit the UCGHI Advocacy Initiative for more information.