King's College visits UNC

On April 9 and 10, UNC's Department of Social Medicine hosted visitors from King's College London's Department of Social Science, Health & Medicine in a joint event, "Pedagogical Encounters: Engaging Social Sciences & Global Health."

The focus of the event was to discuss collaborations around mutual research interests, further future faculty and student exchanges, discuss shared teaching interests and concerns and explore potential for joint teaching and research initiatives.

Both departments and institutions have global reputations for excellent interdisciplinary faculty examining health and health care in their social contexts—as well as global networks of clinical and research collaborators. These conversations were timely. UNC has been enhancing curricula for medical trainees and undergraduates heading abroad; King's College conducts BA/BSc programs in Global Health & Social Medicine, a MSc Program in Global Health & Social Justice, and a study-abroad program in London around Social Medicine and Global Health.  

With six participants from SSHM (three faculty and three PhD candidate) present on the UNC campus for three days, colleagues on both sides had a terrific opportunity to get to know each other. On Thursday April 9, the Kings delegation met mostly with members of the Department of Social Medicine. During the first half of the day, the students learned about each others' interests and about their respective departmental missions.

Later, the group focused on particular scholarly interests for pairs of colleagues on both sides. Students and faculty enjoyed an interdepartmental dinner at Crooks Corner hosted by the Department of Social Medicine. On Friday April 10, the conversation expanded: SSHM joined a "Critical Conversation for Global Health" organized by the Moral Economies of Medicine working group –based in the Department of Anthropology – in which richly varied ethnographic research projects were presented by PhD candidates from both institutions, and by SSHM faculty member Scott Vrecko.

In the afternoon, King's visitors participated in a university panel discussion concerning how the respective institutions currently prepare students (undergraduate, graduate, and health professional) for service-learning or research-learning projects in health care and health sciences in international settings, particularly in the developing world. Panel participants combined social science and public health perspectives on global health by exploring options to help students from around the world investigate and contextualize presumptions about biomedicine, and develop a clear understanding of the historical and social contexts of health in various areas around the world. The discussion, introduced by Bob Miles of UNC Global and moderated by Raul Necochea, included participants from UNC's Schools of Public Health, Dentistry, Pharmacy, and Allied Health, as well as Medicine and the College of Arts & Sciences.

This two-day workshop series was aimed at strengthening a partnership between SSHM at King's and Social Medicine at UNC. The inter-departmental link can further both faculty and student exchange in the future. The discussions emphasized pedagogy and encounters, to highlight mutual learning for social sciences and health and to underscore important relations between them. 

Filed under: