When i consider the educational qualifications of the thousands of people that pass through www.globalhealthjobs.com; one is immediately struck by the increasingly centralized way in which healthcare degrees are generating a single global health reality.
The universal ‘truth’ of what is a red blood cell, raises intriguing questions if you really think about it. You might be able to say a red blood cell has a single reality, the same answer in Pakistan as in Peru. Medicines management of an elderly person, not so much a single universal reality perhaps. Do the educational requirements of similar health jobs around the world create a harmonious global community to the detriment of local translation and ownership, or does it merely feed the needs of a rapidly expanding knowledge economy that brings smaller disconnected groups together?
The global dearth of healthcare workers now exists in the context of increasing globalization and more protests at the rising inequality of many societies. What should be underpinning the healthcare systemic exchanges that happen across different boundaries (i.e., volunteering, recruitment, medical tourism)?
Despite the appeal of classical labor market competition theories, for healthcare workers, the effects of increases in labor supply at similar levels of skill will probably prove to be negligible given the global need for workers.
Employers today expect more out of their employees than ever before. They want more knowledge, in more areas, requiring a multitude of diverse sets of skills. Today’s knowledge economy prizes flexibility, cross-functionality and the ability to think broadly. For Millennials interested in establishing a career with an international dimension, flexibility and broad skill sets are a must.
Careers in healthcare are not immune to this. Most Millennials recognize that to advance to the highest levels in a global ‘Global Health’ career, they will need to pursue a graduate degree. Graduate degrees no longer help a candidate stand out in this arena; they are now often the baseline for simply starting the conversation in Geneva.
As the global interconnectedness of the public, private and non-profit sectors continue to proliferate, the applicability of a healthcare degree in Global Health will change. For people of more challenged backgrounds to succeed in International Health, across borders, they must develop the flexible qualities of character and mind necessary for handling the challenges that globalization poses Global Health security. To become global health citizens, they must learn how to communicate and interact meaningfully with people around the world. Failing to teach them to embrace it, for all it is worth, will only condemn them to be left further behind since millions of others throughout the rest of the world will. Especially those that can afford to do so. What systems can we put in place to mitigate this risk? The international healthcare workforce cannot afford to replicate the inequalities of our societies.
Economic globalization is producing carbon copy national educational systems. Whilst broadly speaking, History and Geography might have distinct regional variances, Medicine may be dialing-down its required local lens, just as it needs to ramp it (global variance) up. The demand for medicinal education to prove its local value will continue playing out in interesting ways in the coming decade. The dynamics of making global health education effective will resonate from all levels — from localized and specific healthcare financing matters to major international infection control debates
An institution providing international health education should be run in a way that meets the requirements of a globalizing knowledge economy; keep a relationship with these lifelong learners who will be eager to continually stay mobile and up-skill throughout their entire careers.
The global increase in the number of institutions offering international health education reflects the transformation of ‘international education’ philosophy to respond to the new global economy. But, here we cannot think of anything else but making health everywhere work for everyone. The crux of the choice is between a model of shared realities and a shared workforce in a healthy world, or an unequal and unfairly distributed set of healthcare workers.