Community Engagement

About Us

What we do

We provide medical students with opportunities for ethical global health education, advocacy, action, and experiences.

Who we are

We are a group of pre-clerkship medical students passionate about global health and engaging with local and international communities in a meaningful way. Applications to join the team are accepted during the first block in Year 1. Feel free to email if you have any questions.

  • Vice President of Community Engagement & Canadian Federation of Medical Students Global Health Liaison
  • Community Service Learning Coordinator
  • Environmental Sustainability Representatives (Senior & Junior)
  • International Exchanges Social Committee Leads
  • Local Officers (Senior & Junior) of:
    • Exchanges
    • Global Health Advocacy
    • Global Health Education
    • Indigenous Health
    • Inner City Health
    • Sexual and Reproductive Health
  • SHINE Representatives (Senior & Junior)

Click here to learn more about the roles and responsibilities of each position.

How we are connected to the Canadian Federation of Medical Students (CFMS)

We share the CFMS's recognition that, as future physicians, we are strategically placed to promote values of health equity and social responsibility, and we strive to empower students with the tools they need to grow as global health leaders and citizens.

The CFMS's Global Health Program provides a platform for collaboration and coordinated programming of Global Health focused initiatives across Canadian medical schools. The CFMS Global Health Program consists of a VP of Global Health and National Officers, as well as Local Officers at individual medical schools. It is up to each medical school to create and fill Local Officer positions. At the University of Alberta, members of the Community Engagement Team fill the Local Officer roles.

Click here to learn more about the CFMS Global Health Program.

What is Global Health?

The term global health is not easily defined and encompasses many different concepts and ideas including international health, public health, and the social determinants of health. According to an article in the Lancet, which attempts to find a common definition of this term, "Global health is an area for study, research, and practice that places a priority on improving health and achieving equity in health for all people worldwide. Global health emphasizes transnational health issues, determinants, and solutions; involves many disciplines within and beyond the health sciences and promotes interdisciplinary collaboration; and is a synthesis of population-based prevention with individual-level clinical care."1

The WHO defines the social determinants of health as "the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age. These circumstances are shaped by the distribution of money, power and resources at global, national and local levels. The social determinants of health are mostly responsible for health inequities - the unfair and avoidable differences in health status seen within and between countries."2 These definitions of global health and the social determinants of health emphasize the importance of advocating for the health of all marginalized populations, and they are what give direction to our MSA Global Health program at the University of Alberta.

1 Koplan, JP; Bond, TC; Merson, MH; et al. Towards a common definition of global health. Lancet 2009; 373: 1993-95.

2 World Health Organization. Social determinants of health. Accessed June 29, 2017.