Lisha Jeena and Trishna Desai on Global Child Health mini-symposia

Green Templeton hosted a second Mini-Symposium on Global Child Health in April 2024 following a successful first event in 2022.

Green Templeton students Lisha Jeena (DPhil Clinical Medicine, 2020) and Trishna Desai (DPhil Population Health, 2018) told us what they’ve taken away from the two mini-symposia.

Q&A with Lisha and Trishna

You’ve both been involved in both the Global Child Health mini-symposia – in 2022 and then more recently this year. What’s different about this event, compared to all the other conferences out there on similar themes?

Trishna Desai With River BehindTrishna Desai: One of the unique features of this conference was the level of interaction between the speakers and students or attendees. In fact, one of the dedicated sections of the conference was designed for students to sit in small groups with the panel experts and discuss a pertinent child global health topic from the perspective of either academia, industry, or philanthropy sectors. This was such a wonderful way for each attendee to engage with and gain personal insights and discussions around interdisciplinary ways to take global health issues. It gave every single person the opportunity to contribute to these larger ideas, no matter what their backgrounds were.

What do you think was the most successful part of the day?

Trishna: In addition to the wonderful presentations from the speakers, I really enjoyed the student poster competition section of the day. It’s really incredible to see the diverse and high-level research that students across the university are leading and underscores how important it is for researchers to come together to think about new perspectives and applications to approaching the shared goal of raising empowered children.

Lisha, that leads us nicely to you, since you’ve been a winner in the poster competition not once but twice – in 2022 and two years later for a new poster on your recent work.

Lisha Jeena: I feel happy and proud of my achievement. It is a full-circle moment as I reflect on my progress since the 2022 symposium where I presented my DPhil outline. I am grateful for the student participation component. It affords me the opportunity to share my research, hear constructive feedback and learn about others’ research. I enjoy speaking with senior researchers and clinicians and learning from their experience. Research dissemination is a key part of the research cycle, and events like this create a way to share and engage with the broader community.

Can you tell us a bit about the research you shared in your poster?

Lisha Jeena Speaking By Green Templeton Lectern With Slide Projected BehindLisha: My research is about the effect of HIV on bone and muscle health during puberty among children who are born with infection. As HIV treatment options improve, increasing survival, it is important to investigate ways in which the long-term health of children living with HIV can be improved, to increase their quality of life as they progress into adulthood. I compare the bone growth of children with and without HIV, and investigate chronic HIV-associated inflammation as an underlying cause for observed differences. Children living with HIV have less bone density gain and more inflammation than children without infection, so increased prioritisation of bone and muscle morbidity within routine HIV care services is needed.

Trishna, you were also involved in the symposium this year as a representative of the Oxford Global Health and Care Systems Society. What are the aims of this society and how do these line up with this event?

Trishna: The aim of the Oxford Global Health and Care Systems Society is to bring together students, staff and faculty from around the university to engage with any broad themes related to global health. It’s an especially powerful venue for students to benefit from the wealth of knowledge, innovation, and real-world evidence that researchers from across the globe come together to share. This year’s Mini-Symposium on Global Child Health was a fantastic example of how to form these dynamic connections, as it brought together experts in global health from academic, philanthropic, and pharmaceutical backgrounds to address some of the key challenges and victories concerning the health and wellbeing of children across the world.

Do Oxford Global Health and Care Systems Society have any plans for the future that you can share?

Trishna: In keeping with the theme of shared collaboration in global health across the university, we will be hosting an event with support from Professor Alan Bernstein on behalf of Oxford Global Health on Thursday 13 June. The event will be a brainstorming discussion to create a set of priorities that we, as students and health professionals, deem paramount to advocate for within global health. We hope this will be another opportunity to continue important dialogues and connect students with passion and experience from various fields with the goal of creating equitable and quality health for all. The set of priorities will then be shared with Oxford Global Health with the hope that it will encourage student engagement within the initiative across the university.

And, finally, do you think there should be a third edition of the Mini-Symposium? A lot of participants felt it should become a regular fixture in the college calendar.

Lisha: I highly recommend future events like this to be held at Green Templeton and would encourage students to participate and share their research.

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Created: 7 May 2024