Health and Medicine People and Community

Students foster community for global health enthusiasts

From building career skills to learning the foundations of sustainable health systems around the world, ’Canes for Global Health has hit the ground running as one of the University of Miami’s newest student organizations.
Canes for Global Health

’Canes for Global Health, a student-led organization, represents the University of Miami’s commitment to tackling global health challenges and preparing the next generation of leaders who strive to create a better world for everyone. 

At the direction of Imelda Moise, associate professor of geography and sustainable development in the College of Arts and Sciences, a group of students created the organization in April with the goal of building a community of like-minded individuals who share a passion for making a positive impact in the world. 

Ever since Sydney Reavely, president of the club, decided to change her major from international studies to global health studies, she knew there needed to be a space for students to connect—no matter their academic background. 

“It was perfect timing,” said Reavely. “Global health is extremely interdisciplinary, and we wanted people to realize that it impacts many things. We wanted to create a space for anybody who’s interested in global health to have the opportunity to learn more from guest speakers and gain real-life experience under their belt.” 

Through various programs and initiatives, ’Canes for Global Health is making a tangible effort on global health outcomes and cultivating the next generation of leaders. From networking events to narrative medicine trainings to enhance students’ listening and observations skills to hosting guest speakers, the group invites all to join the club.

“We’re pretty lucky to have this opportunity to be a part of this organization and to study at a place that offers a program like this,” said Cooper Leppard, a junior double majoring in global health and economics. “ ’Canes for Global Health offers a space for members from all over campus—who come from all over the world—to come together and share unique insights on how we can help tackle issues like the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s problem-solving on a large scale.” 

One of the organization’s key initiatives included their first-ever case competition. Earlier in the semester, ’Canes for Global Health hosted five diverse multidisciplinary teams from various colleges and schools within the University—each representing a different country—to compete using problem-solving skills and innovative thinking. The competition served as the preliminary round for selecting a team to represent the University at the Emory Morningside Global Health Case Competition this spring, where the winning team has the chance to receive a $6,000 prize. 

Inspired by the Climate Impact Institute, the five teams worked together to address the mounting crisis of climate change by creating a mock disaster preparedness plan.

“It was a really enriching experience in the sense that I got to work with these amazing teams and really foster a great relationship with students from various parts of the University,” said Abigail Cherenfant, a member of the group who is a junior double majoring in medical anthropology and microbiology and immunology. 

The winning team, which represented Mexico, included students Bhuvana Venkatappa, Marie Joseph, Tericka Cesar, and Alexandra Maters. They will compete at Emory in March 2024.