Thursday, July 13, 2017 - 09:15
Leah Davis.
Leah Davis.

University students from across the globe will explore the connections between society, economics, environment and health at the U21 Health Sciences Summer School in Johannesburg this week.

University of Queensland physiotherapy student Leah Davis and nursing and midwifery students Elizabeth Bartetzko, Anne Tin and Sophie Bonser will represent UQ at the event.

Ms Davis said her passion for the sociological study of human health had been fired by the class, gender and ethnicity disadvantage she had observed.

 “I’m from a rural Queensland town where I attended public schools, worked at the local pharmacy and stood in lines at the financial aid offices,” she said.

“It was within these environments, surrounded by members of every class and nationality, that I first started to foster the idea that people’s health can’t be solely determined by a purely biomedical model.

“Attending this summer school is a dream come true that will allow me to gain knowledge and develop tools to help those who weren’t lucky enough to be born within the bubble of privilege.

“I'm most excited to be given the opportunity to grow as a person and as a health student.

“I believe in the importance of expanding my world beyond the life I know and am used to, and so it is going to be life-changing to witness first-hand the health struggles those in developing countries experience.”

Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences Associate Dean (Academic) Professor Sarah Roberts-Thomson said the students were ideal candidates to represent UQ.

“They have such an exciting opportunity to collaborate and share knowledge, expertise and experiences with other health students from across the world,” Professor Roberts-Thomson said.

“The interdisciplinary discussions and interaction will be invaluable to their personal and career journeys ahead.”

The theme of the summer school at the University of Johannesburg is Global Health and the Social Determinants of Health.

Students will visit private and public health care facilities and cultural and historical sites, meet with communities, and participate in interdisciplinary activities.

The summer school will bring together students from dentistry, pharmacy, nursing, midwifery, nutrition, medicine, public health, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech pathology, audiology and optometry, all from U21 Health Sciences Group member universities.

Media: UQ physiotherapy student Leah Davis, leah.davis@uq.net.au; UQ Communications Kirsten O’Leary, kirsten.oleary@uq.edu.au, +61 7 3365 7436.