The Importance of Student Advocacy

Sharvil Patel May 17, 2019

The dawn of information technologies can provide citizens with acute awareness of social ailments. Questions about social justice and health equity are particularly intriguing in this age as students and health professionals alike are pondering the importance of transparent research practices, expanding access to life-saving treatments, and equal access to quality care. During this process, opening a discussion on the pivotal role of aspiring health professionals in pursuing equitable health access will become key to ensuring sustainable social progress.

The prerequisite to any significant progress is grassroots activism and bottom-up reform. Without civilian pressure, corporate and government entities have no incentive to design policies that advance access to healthcare. Furthermore, current grassroots movements to encourage civilians to resist health marginalization are insufficient. Despite the large domestic and international activists networks pushing for higher universal standards of wellbeing, a lasting solution cannot be reached until future professionals are integrated into and made leaders of these efforts. Because current students will be the future professionals capable of instigating meaningful change, they must be an active element in the reform mechanisms. Furthermore, the knowledge of the global health system’s mechanics coupled with the fresh ideas of a new generation could inspire innovative practices that ultimately accomplish the goals of reform.

Researchers from the UCL Global Health Institute identified a “burgeoning interest in global health teaching in undergraduate medical curricula…partly as a response to student demand and partly due to increasing globalization, cross-border movement of pathogens and international migration of health care workers” (Rowson et. al. 2012). After the exposure to global health in the abstract, students need to be encouraged to apply these lessons in the real world and actually affect change. A novel solution would be to expand current opportunities for students to be involved in NGOs or similar projects that require future graduates destined for health service to capitalize on these opportunities. Students must actively engage in public health service to push for equitable healthcare.

Works Cited

Rowson et. al. 2012. The evolution of global health curricula. Globalization and Health. 8(35). Retrieved from