SEATTLE — Global Health Corps (GHC), a U.S. nonprofit operating in southern and eastern Africa, is working towards eliminating global health inequity by fostering leadership among millennials committed to social justice.
Barbara Bush, co-founder and CEO of Global Health Corps, visited East Africa with President George W. Bush to launch the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) in 2003. Her experiences during the trip exposed her to the staggering inadequacies in the region’s healthcare system. Witnessing expansive destitution and disease gave Bush the impetus to change the course of her professional life towards global health with the goal of promoting global health equality.
Bush and her co-founders created GHC to identify and mend the gaps in the current healthcare system. A lack of trained professionals to address the various intricacies of healthcare administration is one of the biggest obstacles hindering timely and adequate access to essential healthcare. GHC strives to address these shortcomings by supporting partner organizations in need of non-medical human resources. The nonprofit platform supports passionate millennials who believe health is a human right to become leaders and advocates of social justice. It enables the involvement of individuals from all sectors and fosters innovation and creativity to solve an array of healthcare challenges.
Global Health Corps is strengthened by its social and cultural diversity which enables collaboration among a wide network of people working towards a common goal. The nonprofit is based on a unique model that provides leadership development experience to young millennials while catering to the unmet needs of healthcare organizations and ministries. Their six-step model involves selection of passionate and skilled young leaders recruited to carry out critical responsibilities at the partner organizations.
GHC’s work has an emphasis on the significance of local representatives in sustainable development. Fellows are always recruited in pairs, where one fellow from the partner organization’s host country works alongside a foreign fellow. GHC also believes that such cross-cultural collaboration fosters free flow of ideas across geographical boundaries and enhances cooperation with local authorities. The fellows receive leadership development and advocacy guidance through workshops and conferences during the one-year fellowship. GHC also aids its fellows in continuing the global health development movement by providing avenues for networking and mentoring post-fellowship.
Bush has provided compelling examples of GHC fellows from various fields including business, engineering, communications and IT passionately working towards enhancing the quality of healthcare for all. These include logistics experts streamlining the drug supply chain enabling faster and easier access to drugs in Tanzania, architects in Rwanda designing clinics that prevent spread of Tuberculosis between patients and communication specialists connecting with non-English speaking, rural women to educate them on newborn and maternal care.
GHC was launched in 2009 with Partners in Health, the Clinton Health Access Initiative and 22 fellows. Currently, it is partnered with close to 70 organizations in Uganda, Rwanda, Malawi, Zambia and the U.S., including CARE and Save the Children. Most recently, it received more than 5,500 applications and recruited 140 applicants representing 45 fields and 40 languages. Critical work done by GHC fellows includes human resource management, financing, information technology, media awareness, insurance coverage and research studies, all helping to improve the quality of life in many impoverished regions by making healthcare accessible and affordable.
Bush and GHC co-founders recognized the current deficiencies of the global healthcare system. They set out to address these inadequacies by empowering millennials around the world to use their innate desire for creating a more just world. Global Health Corps created a program that harnesses the skills and passion of these young leaders to progress global health. Their goal is to create a generation of trailblazers by building leadership potential among problem solvers and system navigators who will sustain the movement of global health equity.
– Preeti Yadav