A Global Health SYPs’ Guide to COVID-19: Tips, Tricks & Resources

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by Lily Yang and Zoe Atsaidis

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc internationally, adjusting to this new normal has been no easy feat for us young “global healthers”.

As two fourth year undergraduate students and aspiring global health professionals, we totally understand that this has been an extremely stressful and difficult time. With only a couple of assignments and final exams standing between us and that university degree, we were counting down the days to our convocation and celebrating with friends. However now, with all the fun and exciting events cancelled, the only thing left is a mountain of school work amidst fear, panic and uncertainty about the future. Despite the unlimited free time, navigating this new COVID-19 landscape can feel like an extraordinary challenge.

But when life gives you lemons (or in this case indefinite days of social isolation) you make lemonade (but literally, that could be fun too). As young [aspiring] global health professionals, we find ourselves in a unique position to use our knowledge and our passion to really make a positive impact. So, we’re writing this article to give you some of our personal tips and tricks on what we can do to both better ourselves and the situation around us.

What you MUST do

  • Social distancesocial-distancing-4990640_1920

    • Lack of face-to-face social interaction can be hard, we get it. We want to go out and see our friends too. However, in thisunprecedented time it’s very important to limit the amount of people you see. In fact, you shouldn’t be seeing ANYONE outside of your family/roommates unless you’re at least two metres apart.

What you can do to keep busy at home

  • Make a to-do list

    • Daily schedules: even if it’s something small like “make lunch” or “do laundry”

    • Goals for the time off: make a list of bigger goals that you want to achieve during this time off – a project you’ve been putting off, or a global health initiative you were thinking about starting

  • Read a book/Listen to podcasts

    • Public Health on Call by John Hopkins is a good one

    • The Forum by Harvard Chan School of Public Health

    • This Podcast Will Kill You

    • Doctorradio

    • Coronavirus 411

  • Learn a new language (using apps like Duolingo, listening to podcasts, watching shows, or reading books in that language)

    • We know that a lot of you are interested in pursuing futures in global health. Speaking another language (e.g. French or Spanish) will be highly beneficial

    • Pro Tip: Médecins Sans Frontières favours workers who can communicate in French

  • Advance your researchIMG2_Work

    • Brainstorm/write an abstract for a global health literature review

    • Write an abstract or work on your manuscript

  • Use social media to raise awareness about a Global Health issue you’re passionate about

    • Become TikTok famous and then use that TikTok fame for GOOD

    • Ideas:

      • Make a chain TikTok with your colleagues/lab members/fellow aspiring global health professionals

      • Check out this global health bingo sheet we made!


What you can do to help with the crisis

We hope that you found this information helpful and it gave you some inspiration. A few key take-aways:

  • Stay calm, stay positive, and stay home.

  • Try to do things each day that make you happy.

  • Even though the current situation is difficult and heart-breaking, it WILL eventually come to an end and life WILL go back to normal…or hopefully even better than our pre-COVID-19 normal!

Stay safe and well everyone! Now back to Netflix :)

LY_HeadshotLily Yang is currently a fourth year undergraduate student at McGill University studying Interdepartmental Honours Immunology. She aspires to work in the field of global health as a medical epidemiologist and her current areas of interest include infectious diseases and Indigenous health. Presently, she is pursuing her interests through her parasitology research in which she is working towards a vaccine for the diarrheal parasite Cryptosporidium parvum. As one of the co-founders of the McGill Chapter of CCGHR she is very excited to provide like-minded students with opportunities to learn more about sustainable and ethical global health research. Aside from that, she loves to play volleyball, volunteer, and learn new things (currently learning amigurumi).

ZA_Headshot[1]Zoe Atsaidis is currently in the last year of her BSc. at McGill University studying Psychology and Neuroscience. She hopes to practice as a physician scientist specializing in global health research related to surgery or infectious diseases. Aside from her studies, Zoe currently works as a Unit Coordinator at the Montreal Children’s Hospital Emergency. Her current research projects include an analysis of pediatric trauma outcomes in northern Quebec as well as psychiatric research examining risk factors for pediatric suicidality. As a co-founder of CCGHR McGill, Zoe hopes to inspire students from different educational backgrounds to get involved with global health research and create a network of diverse and passionate students. In her free time, Zoe loves to run outdoors, cook, and try new restaurants with friends. 

The McGill student chapter of CCGHR was founded this semester by Lily Yang and Zoe Atsaidis. Their vision for the chapter is to support and encourage the next generation of global health professionals through the creation of a student network in which current topics and opportunities in ethical and sustainable global health research can be shared. If you’d like to learn more about the chapter, please email Lily and Zoe at mcgill.ccghrsc@gmail.com.