November 21, 2017
Recently, Chiwoneso Beverley Tinago, assistant professor in WCU's Department of Health, accompanied two students to the 2017 American Mock World Health Organization (AMWHO) Conference held at Emory University in Atlanta, GA.
The conference simulates the WHO World Health Assembly, the decision-making body of WHO. Delegates from all WHO member states gather annually in Geneva, Switzerland, to focus on a specific health agenda, determine the policies of the organization, appoint the director-general, supervise financial policies, and review and approve the proposed program budget.
Students participating in AMWHO wrote position papers and participated in debate and discussion as delegates representing a country, a non-profit agency, or the media. This year, delegates created resolutions on the theme "Climate Change: The Global Health Response," and all resolution documents were passed on to WHO headquarters for commentary.
Senior Linda Kusi and Alissa Schroeder, both public health majors, participated as delegates of Ghana and Algeria, respectively.
"I have witnessed the detrimental effects of climate change," said Kusi, a native of Ghana. She is an MPH fast track student focusing on community health who expects to graduate in May 2018. "I wanted to use this opportunity to represent Ghana and make equitable resolutions that put the socioeconomic, education, and cultural background of the citizens of Ghana into consideration."
Kusi noted that "Most of the students who represented the AFRO region were not from Africa and had no first-hand knowledge about the continent. Members of the AFRO region were pleased for this contribution and the knowledge I shared with them."
She said the group's resolutions included supporting sustainable agriculture practices, land conservation and disaster relief, and education. "All the NGOs gave us the sign to fund our resolutions and all our resolutions were passed by the General Assembly. At the end, I was asked to be the one of the main sponsors for the resolutions for the AFRO region but I had to decline because of our flight schedule."
Tinago added, "The students were well prepared and they contributed so meaningfully to the debates and discussions around the global health response to climate change."
Kusi and Schroeder were inspired to consider establishing a student AMWHO group at West Chester and to get more WCU students involved in next year's conference.