Helping Without Hurting: Best Practices in Global Nutrition Engagement
International health care is rapidly emerging from the historically colonial “North-South” mindset of “Good hearts going down to do good things” to focusing on “country-centric,” equitable, collaborative global health initiatives and programs.
The term “medical colonialism” has a long history in global development. This term describes people from high-income countries arriving in a lower resourced country and attempting to provide local communities with knowledge, direction, and expertise that they, the foreigner, perceive is needed. This attitude is being supplanted by more effective, equitable approaches based on countries driving development agendas and establishing collaborations and reciprocity agreements. It is critical for health professionals to understand the culture, history, economic, and social forces where they work and ensure the local partners’ priorities are central to the work or education being done. It is essential that dietitians are educated about global ethics and become a central participant in nutrition-focused initiatives.
This session outlines the core components of ethical global health and nutrition activities.
Planned with the Global Member Interest Group
- Describe the ethical standards for global health work, and potential inadvertent harms of short-term international projects and volunteering.
- Identify opportunities of equitable engagement where the local community needs are placed above the visitors’ needs.
- Identify resources to adequately and appropriately prepare to work globally.
- 12.3.3 Takes into consideration any population
and environmental disparities (health, availability,
finances, access) when developing programs.
- 2.2.2 Considers and respects the opinions, creativity,
values, beliefs and perspectives of others.
- 9.2.1 Assesses learning needs of the individual or
Jen Brewer, MA, RDN
Lisa Adams, MD
Associate Dean for Global Health/Associate Professor
Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth
Joanna Cummings, MS, RD-AP, CNSC
Assoc Director, Dietetic Internship; Director, Lao-OHSU Nutrition Education & Research Partnership
Oregon Health & Science University