GlobeMed at Northwestern’s
GlobeMed Quarterly Volume 4, Issue 2 | Spring 2010 www.globemed.org/northwestern
Developments at the H.O.P.E. Center Tiffany Wong
As the school year comes to a close, GlobeMed at Northwestern is gearing up to send yet another group of students to visit our partner clinic, the H.O.P.E. Center, in Ho, Ghana. This time, our team will be working specifically on expanding the clinic’s child nutrition program, for which we have received $15,000 in grants and donations to use over the next five years. With such exciting plans for the future, it’s important to take a step back and look at the H.O.P.E. Center’s achievements over the past year. Since last summer, our two projects, the child nutrition program and adolescent sexual health resource center, have grown both in size and scope. The nutrition program launched its new peer educator component, which trains mothers in the community to plant protein-rich soybean crops and share that knowledge with other mothers in their villages. The peer educators also help nurses monitor child weight, which lessens the burden on the clinic staff. So far, we have peer educators in two villages surrounding the clinic, and hope to expand to eight in the next five years. As for the sexual health program, we have reached out to over 2,000 students in nine secondary schools and trained 100 students to be sexual health peer educators at their schools. We’ve also set up condom corners at the local university. The program has been so popular that the H.O.P.E. Center has been asked by several other schools to expand the program to their campuses. Because of the clinic’s remote location, it serves as a discrete facility for STI testing and counseling, and many of the Center’s patients come in for family planning services. ABOVE 2009-2010 co-president Tiffany Wong visited the H.O.P.E. Center in Ho, Ghana. in 2009. BELLOW Peer education efforts are on the rise at the H.O.P.E. Center, in partial thanks to the fundraising efforts of undergraduate students at Northwestern University.
With Ghana’s national health insurance scheme, more people are getting insured and taking advantage of available healthcare resources, and the clinic has consequently seen steady growth in its outpatient department. The H.O.P.E. Center’s diagnostic laboratory has also helped make the clinic more attractive to patients who might otherwise have to visit the district hospital or a private clinic. We’ve made great strides this year in providing quality community healthcare, and look forward to the progress this summer brings.
Sponsored by Northwestern University International Program Development and the Global Health Studies Department
2010 Newsletter staff Editors Vanessa Dopker Grace Lee
Contributors Vanessa Dopker Reema Ghatnekar Joey Gill Grace Lee Kathleen Leinweber Aimee Peng
Lalith Polepeddi Katie Singh Katie Smiley Allyson Westling Tiffany Wong
Insight gained from the Clinton Global Initiative University 2010 Lalith Polepeddi
During the summer of 2009, I had the opportunity to travel to Ghana and work at the H.O.P.E. Center for a month. The inherent nature of global partnerships like ours is limited in its accessibility, so in going there I wanted to be able to bring back my visual experience to the group. To this end I created a to-scale 3D model of the clinic to enhance global engagement through direct visualization. Upon completion of this project, it became clear there were many applications in addition to global engagement that could positively impact the efforts of global health practitioners. My explorations of these applications took me to Miami, Florida for a weekend in April for the third annual Clinton Global Initiative University (CGIU) 2010 where I had the opportunity to present my project as well as interact with nearly 1,500 students conducting ambitious and inspiring work around the world. From hearing President Clinton speak about the response to the earthquake in Haiti to discussing the role of technology in global health in small group working sessions to contemplating the future of water over Cuban food, my notebook quickly became filled with more notes and ideas than my notebook for class. One of the most innovative ideas I heard over the course of the weekend was from NYC doctor Jay Parkinson. He created a new doctor-patient model that leverages social networking to build and enhance doctor-patient relationships. His company Hello Health is like Facebook geared for doctors and patients to communicate with each other. What impressed me the most was the way in which he started this project. He wanted to develop a way for the uninsured population in his neighborhood to get access to health services, so he created a website. Patients could log into his website, view his Google calendar, make an appointment, and enter their symptoms. Jay would get an update on his iPhone and make the house call, and the patient would pay him through PayPal. Jay would then follow up with his patients via Gchat or Skype. How cool is that? These are tools that we use every day, and Jay simply repurposed these tools to make a tremendous impact in the way doctors and patients interact. Its simplicity is what struck me, because it emphasized to me that we as students have the potential right now to make a significant impact on many of the challenges in the world. It’s just a matter of extending our creativity with the tools we already possess to realize that potential.
ABOVE GlobeMed members Katie Smiley, Reema Ghatnekar and Lalith Polepeddi posted video-blogs on YouTube from the Clinton Global Initiative University to keep GlobeMed at Northwestern members up-to-date.
Getting ready to GROW in Ghana
Reema Ghatnekar, Joey Gill, Kathleen Leinweber and Allyson Westling This summer, four GlobeMed at Northwestern members will travel to Ho, Ghana on a GROW trip to work on projects that will continue to build upon the Center’s existing programs in a sustainable fashion. Here is what the students have planned to do at the H.O.P.E. Center: “I will be educating young mothers in the village of Kodzobi on how to prepare soybeans and introduce them into their childrens’ diets. In addition, I will be working on the education material to make it more accessible to the villagers and the mothers. As a group, we will also be conducting a general health survey in the surrounding villages to gauge a better understanding of what types of programs and projects we can implement in Ho in future years.” - REEMA GHATNEKAR “I plan on supporting GlobeMed’s main goal of expanding the nutrition project during our six week stay in Ghana. My individual focus will be on direct patient care, comparing what we are used to in the United States to the state of medical treatment in Ho. I want to also compare equipment that relates to patient care, such as instruments that monitor patient activity and those that are used for treating infection.” - JOEY GILL “I will be establishing a demonstration farm in Kodzobi, one of the villages closest to the H.O.P.E. Center. There, H.O.P.E. nurses will hold educational sessions for mothers about the child’s nutritional needs and the values of incorporating soybeans into the diet. They will also be taught how to farm the soybeans. Additionally, I will be implementing a survey across several of the villages near Ho, Ghana asking questions related to sexual health practices to learn if people utilize the H.O.P.E. Center as a medical clinic and what they would like to see offered.” - KATHLEEN LEINWEBER “I will be assessing the nutritional needs of expecting mothers in the surrounding villages. I plan on interviewing approximately 30 women, who are either patrons of the Center or have never sought health care services there before. My interviews will assess the nutritional needs, knowledge, and resources available to these women as well as gain a clearer understanding of the cultural beliefs and practices surrounding pregnancy. This project will provide a link between the existing nutrition program and the advent of maternal health services to be offered at the Center in the near future.” - ALLYSON WESTLING
Farmer speaks to full house at 2010 GlobeMed summit Katie Singh
“If you want to get involved in global health, try to get involved for at least 40 years. Make sure you like it,” joked Dr. Paul Farmer as he answered a question while speaking at Northwestern University in early March. Dr. Farmer spoke at the 2010 GlobeMed Global Health Summit, which brought more than 150 students from all 19 GlobeMed chapters across the country to Northwestern, to discuss this year’s theme of “Ubuntu and Social Justice.” Farmer delivered the keynote address to a sold-out audience of more than 1,000 people at Cahn Auditorium on the evening of March 5. Despite Dr. Farmer’s occasional jokes, his tone was serious. He showed images of the devastation in Haiti, commenting to the audience that the January 12 earthquake was “the worst natural disaster I have seen in my lifetime.” After discussing his own time in Haiti, Dr. Farmer answered questions from an audience of young people eager to increase their own involvement in global health. “Try hard to have a very broad vision of
partnership,” was Dr. Farmer’s most important advice. “Everything good happens in partnerships. …When we come together, we can add up to more than the sum of our parts.” Dr. Farmer was slightly more critical of how universities have responded to the Haitian crisis. “The American research university has to make some changes if it is to be truly effective in responding to the great social problems of our time,” he warned. “If we can’t link research and teaching to service, the errand will be a fruitless one.” As he concluded, Dr. Farmer reminded the idealistic young audience not to be discouraged by failure. Answering a question from GlobeMed at Northwestern co-president Lalith Polepeddi, Farmer spoke of his own time as a college student when he had felt discouraged after not receiving a Fulbright Scholarship. “That was my auspicious beginning in global health. But then I ended up with Partners in Health and everything worked out all right.”
ABOVE The official logo of the 2010 GlobeMed Global Health Summit, held in Evanston, Illinois. For more information, please visit www.globemedsummit.org. BELOW Dr. Paul Farmer and a couple of GlobeMed at Northwestern members. Photo courtesy of Katie Smiley.
Reflecting on ubuntu, solidarity and the challenges of global health at the 2010 GlobeMed summit Grace Lee
My experience at this year’s GlobeMed Global Health Summit was made wonderful not only by the inspiring speakers that I was able to listen to and learn from, but also by the many intelligent and passionate GlobeMed students I was able to rub shoulders with. For me, seeing students from the different GlobeMed chapters all in one place really captured the idea of partnership, which is at the heart of what GlobeMed is about. To quote Dr. Paul Farmer from his keynote speech, “Everything good comes from partnership not from the individual… especially when it comes to medicine.” My favorite conversation at the Summit was over a round-table brownbag lunch with Dr. Evan Lyon, a doctor currently working with Partners in Health in Haiti. I asked him whether he ever felt overwhelmed working in a community that has faced so much adversity. Without blinking an eye, Lyon immediately replied, “everyday.” I then asked him how he finds the strength to keep going everyday to fight battles in which, he acknowledged, the losses far outnumber the victories. Lyon told me that you have to decide what your goal is going to be. If your goal is to succeed or to end poverty, then most likely you’ll fail and give up; but if your goal is to stick with a group of people and become engaged with the problems they face for the long haul, then you cannot fail.
ABOVE & BELOW GlobeMed at Northwestern students at the 2010 GlobeMed summit. Photos courtesy of the GlobeMed national office.
For me, this was the missing link between my passion for global health equity and a temptation to give in to cynicism about what lasting difference we could make in societies that have fostered disparities for years. On my own, I know I probably can’t be much of a solution. But something I know I can do is to commit to long-term engagement (within a larger partnership) with specific disadvantaged communities and the most difficult problems they face.
Global Get Down 2010 GlobeMed at Northwestern hosted its second annual Global Get Down, a performance variety show, this past May, raising over $300 for the H.O.P.E. Center in Ho, Ghana.
Meet the (new) presidents ALLYSON WESTLING is a junior biochemistry ma-
jor and global health minor from Minnesota. This is her third year in GlobeMed, and she has been the Director of Development for the past two years and the GROW trip coordinator this year. She is also a clinical research assistant at Evanston Hospital and studies chronic pelvic pain in women. This summer, Allyson will be spending time at the H.O.P.E. Center conducting research in maternal health and nutrition thanks to the Mabie Public Health Fellowship. She is looking forward to furthering GlobeMed’s relationship with the Center and developing new ways that the chapter can continue to expand its positive influence on campus and abroad.
KATIE SMILEY is honored to serve as co-president
CLOCKWISE (1) Students setting up in Parkes Hall; (2) students raised over $300 at the Saturday performance show; (3) a jazz trio performing at the 2010 Global Get Down. Photos courtesy of Aimee Peng and Vanessa Dopker.
for the next year. Katie’s involvement in GlobeMed over the past few years has taught her about the power of pragmatic idealism and the pivotal role students have in creating a future with fewer health inequalities. As a junior cultural anthropology major and global health minor, Katie’s academic interests lie within the delivery of more culturally competent health care in resource-scarce settings. Katie is excited to continue the work of our amazing chapter and give more students the opportunity to become part of the solution for global change.
Building a generation of global health leaders Since our chapter’s founding, more than one hundred students have become members of GlobeMed at Northwestern. These members, along with hundreds of other students on the Northwestern campus, have participated in GlobeMed’s high-impact programming. In addition to providing students with the knowledge and skills to address issues of global health, these events have mobilized participants to join in the movement for global health equity.
How to donate With support from GlobeMed at Northwestern, the H.O.P.E. Center in Ho, Ghana is currently working on phase IV of their nutrition project, which aims to reduce the amount of malnutrition seen among children in the surrouding areas, especially children under the age of five. However, we need your help! Our projects would not be possible without help from you, our family and friends! If you feel compelled to support us, there are two ways to donate: through online donations or through sending checks in the mail. Please see the attached letter for more information. Thank you for all of your support! With your help, we can work together to fight for a brighter future.
ABOVE Co-president Tiffany Wong walks with children from Ho, Ghana across a soccer field to where future crops of soybeans will grow.