Global Health Forum Works to Expand Across U.S.

Maryanne Tomazic '09

Global Health Forum
Works to Expand Across U.S. 

by Maryanne Tomazic '09
09/25/2008

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GHF distributed treated bed nets in Kampala, Uganda last fall.

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To eradicate malaria is a lofty goal. To do this as college students, well, it makes it a bit harder to do. Yet the Global Health Forum (GHF) won't let anything get in their way as they expand their organization across the U.S. to begin a collegiate global health movement.

During it's first year last fall, GHF members identified a need to educate themselves about malaria. After realizing how preventable malaria was, they held a successful anti-malaria campaign that raised over $7,000 to buy insecticide-treated bed nets for the residents of the Acholi Quarter in Kampala, Uganda.

In Spring 2008, GHF received a Project Pericles grant for $25,000 to help network with other colleges and establish Global Health Forums around the country. "I'm extremely excited about the Pericles grant," says GHF executive board member Camilia Kamoun '11, from Wynnewood, Pa. "It will hopefully allow GHF to put the issue of global health on the national radar screen and make it a bigger priority for people."

With these established networks, GHF members hope to start similar anti-malaria campaigns that educate the community and support activism. "The value in generating awareness comes from the fact that this generation will be the leaders and global citizens of tomorrow," notes education director Lois Park '10, a Lang Scholar from Federal Way, Wash. "In whatever field we find ourselves, it will become increasingly important to be able to make educated opinions on health issues that are no longer just isolated to countries outside ours."

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GHF hopes to start a student movement that eventually leads to the eradication of malaria.

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The campaigns will support insecticide-treated bed net distribution in malaria-ridden countries. With the expanding number of campaigns, GHF hopes to start a student movement that eventually leads to eradication of malaria.

In addition to receiving the Pericles grant, GHF recently received a $5,000 grant from Americans for Informed Democracy, a national organization that supports students that work to solve global issues. "The goal of the grant is to bring anti-malaria campaigns to 100 college campuses across the U.S., with each campus raising about $7500," says GHF Executive Director Mark Dlugash '08. "We aim to raise a total of approximately $750,000, enough to send over 100,000 bed nets to malaria-endemic regions in the developing world."

Global Health Forum has an exciting schedule ahead for this semester. Besides the upcoming anti-malaria campaign, they will host a series of speakers and discussions on various global health issues. Chung To, a leader in the Chi Heng Foundation that helps AIDS orphans in China's Henan Province, will speak on Sept. 30th at 5 p.m. in Scheuer Room. The event, also sponsored by the Forum for Free Speech, is open to the Swarthmore community and refreshments will be provided.

GHF holds weekly meetings on Sundays at 9 p.m. in the Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility. Members welcome all who have an interest in public health issues and no prior experience or background is necessary. For those who are interested in starting a similar group at another college or would like to help out in general, please contact Maryanne Tomazic '09  or Mi Zheng '11.

Eugene M. Lang '38 and the Board of Managers of Swarthmore College created the Swarthmore Project Pericles Fund in 2005. The purpose of the Fund is to support groups of Swarthmore students who propose and implement social and civic action projects whose scope and sustainability will advance solutions for the issues in question and also promote recognition of students' motivation and capability to address such major issues effectively.

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