The mere thought of participating in a roundtable discussion with Canada's Governor General David Johnston at the world's largest science fair gives one Simon Fraser University health scientist butterflies in her stomach.
"Wow, this is another big step up for global health education," says Kate Tairyan, a physician and senior lecture in SFU's Faculty of Health Sciences. She is also the director of public health for Next Generation University (NextGenU.org), the world's first free university.
NextGenU.org's founders first conceived of the university in 2001 as an on-line community that could help quickly and cost-effectively meet the world's need for more than four million trained health workers.
The governor general has invited B.C.'s two Canadian Rising Stars in Global Health federal grant recipients, including Tairyan, international scientists and federal government representatives to join him in a brainstorming session. Participants will review existing mechanisms and best practices for helping promising entrepreneurs and their inventions gain global recognition.
The invitation-only round table discussion, Thurs., Feb. 16, 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. takes place during the 2012 American Association for Advancement of Science (AAAS) conference, which is primarily at the Vancouver Convention Centre.
The roundtable discussion, which is not open to the media, will be at the nearby Fairmont Waterfront Hotel.
Tairyan will use her participation in this event to leverage global recognition and support for NextGenU.org, a project that she is nurturing with a $100,000 Canadian Rising Stars federal grant from Grand Challenges Canada.
She won the grant by creating a video demonstration of how NextGenU.org could evolve into a coordinated application of scientific, technological, social and business innovation to solve complex challenges in educating health professionals.
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