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Rural Global Health Partnership Initiative

The Rural Global Health Partnership Initiative (RGHPI) offers grants to support projects spearheaded by rural BC physicians or medical trainees and their partners based in underserved rural communities in British Columbia, other parts of Canada, or internationally.

Nepal Sickle Cell Project
“This past year, we completed a needs assessment to identify gaps in pain management in rural Dang which engaged 41 community members and 18 healthcare workers. The data is now being used to inform the development of educational resources that enhance the selection and utilization of pain management options. Thanks to the support of the Rural Global Health Partnership Initiative Grant, we were able to learn from the community while building collaborative relationships. These initial needs assessment has paved the way for future interventions that aim to positively impact people living with pain in the region.”
Nepal Sickle Cell Team


Supporting global health initiatives in BC

The RGHPI grant supports physicians and medical student and residents committed to rural practice in BC who engage in global health projectsProjects may include collaborative community-based projects locally or internationally, research, and knowledge exchanges that reflect the spirit of global healthThe Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR) articulated their position in the updated Framework for Action on Global Health Research, defining “Global Health 3.0”—where health is understood to be an outcome of globally shared risks and responsibilities that require collective action to achieve good health for all. 

Promoting planetary health

Recognizing the shared risks and collective action required to ensure health equity, the RGHPI grant encourages applications that include planetary health and climate change projects that impact vulnerable populations.   

Of significance is that the first ever Health Day at the UNFCCC COP28 (Dubai, December 2023) occurred with the establishment of a COP28 Declaration on Climate and Health which states a goal:  “to work towards ensuring better health outcomes, including through the transformation of health systems to be climate-resilient, low-carbon, sustainable and equitable, and to better prepare communities and the most vulnerable populations for the impacts of climate change”. 

As with global health, communities most impacted by the harmful effects of climate change include Indigenous populations, Women and Children, Elderly, People living with disabilities, Coastal communities, homeless and other marginalized populations, and populations in low resource countries.   

Funded five physician and medical student-led projects

In 2023, the RGHPI grant funded five projects:

Three medical student-led projects:

  • Sickle Cell Disease and Pain Management in the Tharu Population of Nepal: A Sustainable Approach to Improving Community Care
  • The UBC Adolescent Health Education Program (Nepal)
  • Assessment of Practices of Assisted Vaginal Delivery in Rwanda

Two physician-led projects:

  • Use of solar technologies to improve health and wellbeing in small plot farmers in Madhya Pradesh, India
  • Co-creating a network of international exchange programs for future health leaders from historically marginalized communities and populations (BC, Brazil, Uganda)

Explore the numbers

3+ International Conference Presentations

3+ International Conference Presentations

Abstracts and manuscripts were presented at several international conferences, including Carmel Western Medical Student Research Forum, Consortium of Universities for Global Health, Towards Unity for Health.

5 Projects funded

5 Projects funded

In 2023, the RGHPI grant funded three medical student-led projects and two physician-led projects.

Partnership Work

All funded projects maintain strong partnerships with community-based organizations or those providing services to underserved and marginalized populations, particularly those experiencing the generational impacts of colonialism.

The Nepal projects partner with an NGO in a rural area of Nepal where access to basic services, including health and education is limited.  This region uniquely has a high burden of Sickle Cell disease, however, UBC medical students partnered with the NGO, Creating Possibilities, to create a grassroots and sustainable program for screening, diagnosis, and is working towards accessing government supports for treatment options. This project expanded further to support Adolescent Health education for girls and since 2020, a Sexual and Reproductive Health Education program has been delivered to over 800 girls in three rural communities in remote region of Nepal.   

The rural health education and service knowledge exchange similarly built upon strong relationships and partnerships with international organizations, Towards Unity For Health (TUFH) and Student Network Organization (SNO) and the Carrier Sekani Family Services to create a valuable exchange of knowledge, aspirations, innovations with students from Brazil, Uganda, BC and Indigenous communities.   

The Solar Cooker project introduced the use of solar cookers in a rural area of India, reducing the use of fuel and wood, and ultimately the carbon footprint.  Not only did it reduce the burden on women to spend several hours gathering wood,  but it also empower the local women and men with skills to maintain and repair the cookers, creating more sustainability.   

Making a Difference

Other success projects highlighted are the Nepal Adolescent Girls Health Education Project and India Solar Cooker project.

Nepal Adolescent Girls Health Education Project

“The main problem is our society. We need to change our mindset, we have to teach our children that gender equality is not only a girl's problem…its everyone's problem.”
Nepal female, age 16, participant of the Nepal Adolescent Girls Health Education Project

India Solar Cooker Project
“The women have noticed less sneezing, coughing and red and itchy eyes since they've started using the solar cookers. The men have also been involved in leading the assembly of them.”
India Solar Cooker Project team member

Team Members

Click on a team member to explore which other projects they have contributed to in the past year.

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