Cornell MPH student Qijin Wang attended the 10th Consortium of Universities for Global Health (CUGH) annual conference from March 8th – 10th at Chicago, IL. Qijin presented her work “Nutrition, Food Safety and Dietary Analyses of Prahoc Consumption in Rural Villages of Siem Reap Province, Cambodia” during the conference’s poster session.
More than 1,700 researchers, global health practitioners, and students, attended this year’s conference. This year’s conference theme, Translation and Implementation for Impact in Global Health, focused on bringing academic research to improve health around the world and addressing equity on Global Health innovations to the least privileged population.
The conference had impressive sessions. Chinese CUGH held a session to discuss to the global health partnership between Africa and Asia, and experiences and lessons learned from the partnerships of what worked and what did not work. The session concluded with a discussion of the importance of addressing local needs and involving local people when tackling global health issues and conducting and implementing global health programs.
The Great Global Health Debate on “whether the field of global health should prioritize existential threats, including climate change and environmental degradation, over more proximate health concerns” triggered an engaging discussion between preventative and immediate behaviors. In one hand, human, animal, and environmental health are interconnected. Therefore working under one health philosophy and the raising concerns on the environment around us are critical to addressing future global health in a preventative way. However, on the other hand, human behavior determines a cohesive society, policies and immediate fixation and actions are also critical to solve the current problems and set the base for the next generations. It was hard to say which side was more superior since they are equally important in future global health and people around the world are working collectively to solve global health difficulties.
Qijin’s work in understanding Prahoc, an understudied traditional Cambodia fermented food, highlighted global health concern on cultural foods’ impact on human health, its seasonal smoothing function, dietary patterns, and food safety concerns.
“Prahoc is a traditional Cambodian fermented fish paste product. Although widely consumed, the dietary contributions of this Cambodian food have not been studied. Fermented fish products are known to offer a low-cost source of protein and micronutrients and are of particular value for nutritionally-vulnerable groups and low-income families…This exploratory study aims to analyze the nutritional composition of prahoc, to assess its food safety profile and to describe its general patterns of consumption… There may be variations in preparation, consumption, and knowledge of prahoc among different regions in Cambodia, which will require further studies. However, this in-depth, scientifically rigorous study will address key knowledge gaps about prahoc, the indigenous Cambodian food.”
– Adapted from Qijin’s abstract