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In this 2018 photo, Cloé J.F. Zarifian, a fourth-year art and economics major at UC Santa Cruz, displays her photo intaglio printmaking, which explores her multi-ethnic background as Mexican and Armenian.

If the field of global health sends your imagination spinning around the world, you’re not wrong. But, explains Patricia (Pat) Conrad, D.V.M., Ph.D., co-director of the University of California Global Health Institute (UCGHI) and associate dean for Global Programs at UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, global health also encompasses much closer locales, including our households and community.

Many of the choices we make every day — from the foods we eat to the ways we travel and the causes we support — have an impact on global health. And the term “health” encompasses many experiences, from interactions between humans, animals (as pets, food and wildlife) and the environment to mental health and education.

This year, the UCGHI invites UC community members and their partners locally and globally to share their creative vision of global health through the UC Global Health Day 2021 Creative Expression Contest. Participants can choose between three mediums — photography, video and poetry — and two timely prompts: “health equity during the pandemic” or “social justice in global health.”

“We are living through some challenging and stressful times in this movement towards racial justice against the backdrop of the pandemic,” says Sun Cotter, M.P.H., UCGHI deputy director and co-chair of the UCGHI Black Lives Matter Task Force. “In this virtual world, many of us use photography and video to express ourselves and amplify our voices and experiences. Poetry is another powerful form of self-expression that can inspire and move us as human beings.”

The contest themes align with that of 2021 Global Health Day, Decolonizing Global Health to Advance Health Equity. Through the Creative Expression Contest, organizers hope to amplify diverse voices and perspectives in global health, specifically related to health equity and social justice.

The contest is open to current UC students, trainees (i.e. post-docs), fellows, residents, faculty and staff members, as well as affiliated local and global partners with a UC campus or UCGHI. “We know that there is extraordinary talent across the 10 UC campuses and our local and global partners. UC Global Health Day is an awesome opportunity to showcase our collective talents. In this virtual world, we feel that our contest will help build an engaged virtual community here and across the globe,” says Sun.

“I hope that on an individual level, people will see this as an opportunity to be part of the UCGHI family; to connect with people who will see their expressions — throughout UC and around the world — and to feel like they have contributed to the conversation,” says Pat. “You don’t have to do research or be an expert to add your voice and spark interest in others.”

Pat is eager to point out that participants need not be pros at their given art form to enter. Photography and videos don’t require fancy production to be impactful, she says. Sometimes cellphone captures feel more immediate. “When people speak from the heart; when they share their passions and observations, it’s really powerful,” Pat says.

How to participate in UC Global Health Day

Entries for the UC Global Health Day 2021 Creative Expression Contest are due on March 28, 2021, at 11:59 p.m. PT. Winners will receive a $500 prize! View detailed contest information and rules.

Register for UC Global Health Day 2021: Decolonizing Global Health. Taking place Saturday, April 24, 2021, this free event will feature critical conversations about the work of decolonizing global health through the lens of health equity. Attendees will be empowered to recognize and dismantle systems of oppression in their global health practices, with the goal of creating a more equitable, just and effective field. 

Learn more about the UC Global Health Institute (UCGHI), a UC-wide initiative that stimulates, nurtures and promotes global health research, education and collaboration to advance health in California and worldwide.

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