Christian Connections for International Health Conference Unites Health Professionals Globally
August 11, 2014
Amy Metzger, MPH; Project Manager, Christian Connections for International Health
Christian Connections for International Health, a member of the Alliance, recently held its annual conference in Arlington, Virginia. With a theme of “Transforming Lives: Christians in Global Health,” the conference convened global health veterans including many from the global south, academic institutions and affiliate organizations including FHI 360 and Management Sciences for Health, as well as public health and nursing students.
While Transforming Lives gave the overarching theme for the conference, Compassionate Care in Crisis, Excellence in Practice, Strength in Partnerships and Being a Voice for the Vulnerable were sub-themes that were addressed in the three day conference.
Dr. Gil Odendaal of World Relief opened the conference talking on The Changing Role of Christians and the Church in Global Health– Lessons in Transformational Impact. A strong plenary on Strength in Partnerships was given including Emily Sarmiento of Compassion International sharing the organization’s proven strategy for how to partner with the local church. Debbie Dortzbach of World Relief and Lara Villar of Catholic Medical Mission Board also shared their organization’s experiences on this theme. A critical session was presented by Anne Pfitzer of the Maternal and Child Health Integrated Program (MCHIP) and Jennifer Mason of USAID on Integrating Family Planning into other health interventions and we look forward to greater emphasis on integrating programs in the years to come. Bread for the World’s Rev. David Beckmann challenged the audience in the final session to become stronger advocates during his session on The Biblical Basis for Advocacy.
Following the conference, CCIH organized an Advocacy Day, which brought together around 40 CCIH members to visit their members of Congress in an effort to educate these politicians on the importance of global health, including vaccination and family planning programs. Many who participated have been doing so for the past few years with CCIH, but new participants join every year and we are excited that the numbers continue to increase each year.
For more information on the conference, including presentations and videos, visit http://www.ccih.org/2014-annual-conference-presentations.