Global Health Challenge 2017 is Go!

Day one of 2017’s Global Health Challenge kicked off with vim and vigour this week as students, sponsors and staff considered challenges from eight innovative local organisations; The Archie Foundation; Deaf Links; Dundee International Women’s Centre; Faith in Community; Hearing Voices Network Dundee; PAMIS; Parkinson’s UK; and NHS Tayside Primary Care Services. Applicants from across the University’s nine schools gathered to discover, question and ruminate eight impactful challenges about health and wellbeing. Tasked with tackling issues such as awareness, stigma, and understanding, these challenges invite this year’s problem solvers to focus on being empathic and ‘walk for a little in someone else’s shoes’ to create products or tools, spaces or services that promote, support and enable healthier futures.

Working in DUSA’s Air Bar for the afternoon, the fantastic Linsay Duncan led our ice-breaker and energised us with something a little different; Northern Soul Dancing! We learned how to jump and spin and to ‘Keep on, keeping on’; valuable training in going forward over the next five weeks of the GHC as we strive to be agile, focused and dedicated in addressing the challenges posed.

Invigorated from dancing, we then heard from the eight project sponsors as they pitched and framed challenges inspired by the work they do and the real people they work with. Coming together in a BarCamp style we worked on being present, questioning our experts, contributing to discussion and generating questions and key themes to begin to explore each challenge. We worked quickly as students’ self-selected four challenges to investigate, capturing key words, themes and questions on post-its, which were then clustered together to build a picture of the problems faced. We then took some time to reflect and recap before students identified and signed up to the challenges they will work on for the duration of the GHC. The final formed groups consist of around seven members who represent various disciplines from across the University including; Art and Design, Dentistry, Education and Social Work, Humanities, Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Life Sciences, Science and Engineering and Social Sciences. These groups worked with their project sponsors to curate a set of initial questions and inquiries to drive their thinking over the next week, the aim being to begin to develop understanding of their subject area, of their group mates and of how they will work together during this creative process.

We then heard from last year’s GHC winners, Open Ears, who created a toolkit that aims to educate and raise awareness of the everyday issues experienced by people who are hard of hearing. Team members Alice, Charlie and Simran shared lessons learned and advice with this year’s cohort including; Visit your partner organisations as soon as possible to better inform understanding and collaborate with experts; Outline weekly goals and make the most of your Wednesday afternoon GHC sessions together; Communicate in between meetings using tools like Facebook; and Plan for your final presentations early as you want this to fully represent your hard work.

To close, Alice of Open Ears, shared the inspiring evolution of the team’s project since winning GHC16. Following their final presentation, Open Ears secured funding to further develop their prototype working with NHS Tayside and Deaf Hub. Through this Alice has successfully iterated the Open Ears toolkit and attained a Top 5 position in Converge Challenge 2017. This experience has not only helped to develop the toolkit to the benefit of its’ future users but also afforded Alice the opportunity to undertake entrepreneurial training and showcase the toolkit to a wider audience. There is much to be learned from Alice and her fellow Open Ears members. See Alice’s blog for more of this story:

And on this particular high note, the Induction session wrapped up leaving the teams armed with inspiration and energy for their first week of GHC17.

A visual snapshot of the session:

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