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Meet an AJO Researcher: Robin Kowalski

Meet an AJO Researcher, Robin Kowalski: “Racial differences in cyberbullying from the perspective of victims and perpetrators”

Our Meet an AJO Researcher series spotlights recent research published in the American Journal of Orthopsychiatry and the researchers behind this work.

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Breaking Down GA Positions at 74th WHA-USDHHS Stakeholder Listening Session

Prior to the 74th World Health Assembly (held from May 24-June 1, 2021) the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (USDHHS) Office of Global Affairs hosted a Listening Session on May 13th, 2021, to help provide the U.S. delegation to the World Health Assembly with knowledge, ideas, and feedback from national organizations invested in global health matters. The Global Alliance was represented at the Listening Session by Evelyn Tomaszewski, Gita Jaffe, and Surasya Guduru. In recognition of the urgent need to prioritize individual and community mental health, the Global Alliance was given the opportunity to provide statements on a variety of concerns we have historically advocated for.

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An Intern’s Experience at the 74th WHA-USDHHS Stakeholder Listening Session

On May 13th, 2021, I had the remarkable opportunity to attend the Stakeholder Listening Session hosted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (USDHHS) Office of Global Affairs. The Listening Session was developed to help provide the U.S. delegation to the World Health Assembly with knowledge, ideas, and feedback from national organizations invested in global health matters, incorporating perspectives from public health and advocacy groups; state, local, and Tribal groups; private industry; minority health organizations; and academic and scientific organizations.

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Young Leaders in the LGBTQ+ Community: Five to Watch

New leadership plays a highly influential role in mapping the future of the Pride Movement and fight for LGBTQ+ rights. Meet 5 young, up-and-coming activists to follow as they lead the next generation of Pride.

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Aging Adults in the LGBTQ+ Community

As adults who identify as LGBTQ+ age, they face several unique and challenging issues related to older adulthood, leading to social, economic, and health disparities. A recent national study found that aging adults in the LGBTQ+ community face greater levels of depression, loneliness, disability and social isolation, putting this population at increased risk for mental and physical health conditions. These findings are consistent with a growing number of studies demonstrating the health impact of the systemic oppression of the LGBTQ+ community as individuals reach older age. The “shifting contexts” of aging adults identifying as LGBTQ+ leave many older individuals vulnerable to a variety of health and social issues. As the circumstances of daily living, social life, and healthcare change throughout older age, adults in the LGBTQ+ community face fewer opportunities to maintain their health and greater barriers to achieving well-being. 

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Graduate Student Mental Health during the COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has created new realities for the entire world. In an effort to support graduate students during this time, The Global Alliance for Behavioral Health and Social Justice invited graduate students via email to participate in a global discussion group to understand how COVID-19 impacts them, their educations, and their communities. Eleven graduate students in total representing the USA, Canada, and Nepal responded to the invitation and participated in the global discussion group. The authors of this blog post represent a portion of the students who participated and moderated the discussion. While multiple concerns were raised throughout the discussion, several key themes emerged, which centered on:

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GA attends UN-HLPF SDGs Series 2020

Starting the second week of July 2020, High-level Political Forum (HLPF) (the United Nations central platform for follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)) met virtually. The theme was Building back better after COVID-19 and acting where we will have the greatest impact on the SDGs. Focusing on  “Accelerated action and transformative pathways: realizing the decade of action and delivery for sustainable development” the HLPF did not adopt a Ministerial Declaration, however a summary from the president of ECOSOC to capture key messages of the discussions can be found here.

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GA at UN: Making the commitment to the SDGs: Universities and Beyond

On July 9, 2020, The United Nations Institute for training and research (UNITAR) convened a panel entitled Teaching, Learning, and Integrating the SDGs at Universities and Beyond; using SDG 4 as the springboard for discussion.  As a social worker and educator, I was pleased to hear about both the efforts within the academy and the commitment to honoring and including live-long learning (LLL) in the conversation.

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GA at UN: Digital Skills for Development

During the UN HLM session Accelerating action through digital technologies: Strengthening digital skills and capacities for human wellbeing, the discussion focused on the role of digital skills for development and the need to close the digital divide, particularly as the correlation between risks to COVID-19 intersecting with digital and social inequities were raised. The session highlighted examples from around the world with relation to access and barriers to reliable internet, in conjunction with the skills and platforms necessary to work remotely and attend virtual school. The central point was that digital skills (on desktops, laptops, and mobile devices) are required to accelerate the achievement of all SDGs. If used properly, such skills will be used as enablers, which means that without skills people will be left further behind. COVID-19 has brought to the surface the huge connectivity challenge, with over 90% of the world’s population living in an area that has service coverage, yet only 54% are using the internet, with less developed countries having significantly less usage (ITU, 2020)

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GA at UN: Partnerships

Developing transformational partnerships to catalyze SDGs implementation panelists shared practical examples of how collaboration is necessary to accelerate the achievement of the SDGs, both between the SDGs and among stakeholders.

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GA at UN: Food Systems

During the Food Systems and Nutrition Patterns: Biodiversity, Resilience, and Food Security UN HLM session, panelists shared strategies for improving how our global food systems operate. A central theme of this session included sustainable food production and distribution. That is, critically evaluating the methods for how food is grown, harvested, raised, fished, etc., and the effects these methods have on the environment.

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GA at UN: Energy and Participatory Science

Session 6, Energy decarbonization and universal access: Participatory Science and Stakeholder Capacity Building in Sustainable Energy Development, was closely tied to SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy. Concepts relative to sustainability and energy decarbonization may not immediately come to mind when thinking of behavioral health or social justice, however, featured speakers passionately conveyed that having access to sustainable, clean energy sources is tied to health and wellness, as well as socioeconomic development. Two organizations were featured in this session.

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Canada Gairdner Global Health Symposium

by Gita Jaffe

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Get Youth and Families Involved

by Deborah Klein Walker

[Recently, Deborah Klein Walker, the Immediate Past President of the Global Alliance and a member of the Forum For Children’s Well-Being, participated in a workshop to discuss dissemination strategies for the newly released report, State of Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Health (MEB) of Children and Youth in the United States.]

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What is Needed to Promote MEB Health of Children and Youth?

by Deborah Klein Walker

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New NASEM Report Presents Opportunity to Improve MEB in Children and Youth

by Deborah Klein Walker

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GA at the UN: Wrap-Up

As I reflect on the process leading up to, and experience at the UN HLM and UNGA side events I feel hopeful that the progress made in NYC this past week is significant. It provides the necessary framework to act and amplify our voice. The meetings and events highlighted successes to date and presented glaring gaps that need to be addressed in order to achieve the SDGs and UHC in the years to come. The commitment is a long process, for each community and country. To be accountable the global community must move forward with tangible targets. For the Global Alliance our next steps include:

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GA at the UN: Turning the Tables

by Gita Jaffe
Turning the Tables: Patient Perspectives on Universal Health Coverage focussed on the importance of meaningfully engaging in patient-centred care.  It was acknowledged that there is a chasm between the political declaration and what occurs in communities. The speakers each shared their personal and professional lived experience to encourage patient knowledge in developing strategies that include collecting evidence to support efforts in moving forward in programming and policy.

GA at the UN: Global Action Plan for Healthy Lives and Wellbeing

by Gita Jaffe

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GA at the UN: A Decade of Action

Pathfinders hosted the evening A Decade of Action: Accelerating Action to build Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies which are Free from Fear and Violence, based on SDG16+ which includes SDG 16 Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions and 24 targets from seven other goals that directly measure an aspect of peace, justice, and inclusion.

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