GlobeMed at Northwestern’s
GlobeMed Quarterly Volume 5, Issue 1 | Fall 2010 www.globemed.org/northwestern
GlobeMed at Northwestern kicks off the 2010-2011 school year Katie Smiley and Allyson Westling
What a quarter it has been for the GlobeMed at Northwestern chapter! After an amazing, productive summer for the GROW team at our partner site, the Health Outreach and Peer Education (H.O.P.E.) Center in Ho, Ghana, we have come into the 2010-2011 academic year with clear objectives and incredible enthusiasm. In addition to maintaining the progress of the past few years, we established goals to enhance members’ relationship with the H.O.P.E. Center, expand our multimedia communication, and restructure our chapter to make better use of our members’ skills and experience. We are simply blown away by the quality of our members this year. We selected a team of 65-members out of a competitive applicant pool of over 160. These are all individuals who have added immense talent and motivation to our organization. The life-long ties of friendship and community we are developing with each other have been invaluable. This quarter, our main fundraising event was the second annual “Global Marketplace” rummage sale. The event was a great success, raising over $1,300 to support the adolescent sexual health program at the H.O.P.E. Center. We raised an additional $1,700 from generous donors and smaller-scale fundraising activities. These funds have taken us a step closer to our year’s total goal of $10,000, all of which will directly support community-based health outreach programs at the H.O.P.E. Center. In addition to campaigns, we have a great quarter of educational programming aimed at our chapter and the campus at large. GlobeMed has also been able to co-sponsor a variety of global health and social justice events for the Northwestern campus. Guest speakers, movie screenings, a panel discussion with local public health professionals, and even a book club to discuss Mountains Beyond Mountains are just some of the many programming opportunities our chapter has developed this quarter. Every event, fundraiser, and chapter meeting allows our members to expand their global health foundation and cultivate their passion for public health. Our collective empowerment has formed the core of GlobeMed’s mission: building a strong, committed team that advances the movement for global health equity and social justice. To work with such an outstanding chapter has been an honor and a privilege. We can’t wait to see what next quarter will bring!
2010 Newsletter staff Editors William Chang Vanessa Dopker Grace Lee Carol Park Bryana Schoen
Contributors Li Gao Esha Khurana Syvatoslav Nakonechny Avra Shapiro Katie Smiley Alyson Weiner Allyson Westling
Sponsored by Northwestern University International Program Development and the Global Health Studies Department
Alumni Inspire Students of All Skills to Engage in Global Health
Northwestern Alumni Share Stories of Global Involvement Svyatoslav Nakonechny
Among all the events that the NU’s International Program Development organizes, the Global Health Alumni Panel gave Northwestern students a rare chance to hear what previous students managed to accomplish since they left Evanston. Those accomplishments seemed equally diverse and impressive.
This November, the Civically Engaged Young Alumni hosted a Global Health Alumni Panel with guests from a variety of places such as Universidad Autonoma of Mexico, Harvard School of Public Health, and the Catholic Medical Missions Board. It was encouraging to hear that all of the speakers had completely different backgrounds and majored in a wide array of subjects, ranging from biomedical and electrical engineering to legal studies, and history. Accordingly, they are all doing very different types of work in the global health world. It seems that many students today who want to get involved in global health feel the obligation to go to medical school. In this circle of accomplished global health workers, there was, in fact, only one person becoming a doctor. Many of the others spoke of their “struggle with the chemistry book” when they first arrived at school, and then realized that the sciences just wasn’t the right path for them. This message was comforting, I’m sure, for all of the undergraduates sitting in the room who clearly want to be involved with global health but haven’t yet found out their way of contributing. The panel portrayed that no matter the skill set, everyone can become a part of the global health community.
For a pre-med student like myself, it’s amazing to see where a simple interest in medicine and a desire to make a difference can take you. Mike Hoaglin, one of the panel’s guests for example, was able to channel his desire to help into an interesting direction: during his years at Northwestern he worked with various hospitals in developing countries to make the X-ray machines more accessible to the patients. As a medical student at the University of Pennsylvania, he’s now continuing his studies in the MBA program. Alexandra Komisar, a 2009 graduate, on the other hand, turned her interest in making a difference into a non-medical project. As a Global Health student at NU, she experienced the medical system of Mexico from within and continued her work there after graduation. What impressed me the most about these and other stories Northwestern alumni shared with the audience is the magnitude of their global involvement. Whether it’s an X-ray improvement program or a research study of health care in Mexico, these students managed to apply their academic background to the outside world and make an enormous difference in the lives of many, all within a few years after graduating from Northwestern. And that’s truly exceptional, something that should inspire others.
Global Marketplace Li Gao
One of the biggest and most successful events that GlobeMed organized this fall was the Global Marketplace rummage sale. Thanks to the help of dedicated chapter members and extensive advertising, the event was a huge success. This year, we raised $1324.21, including individual donations and sales. This money goes directly to the H.O.P.E. Center in Ho, Ghana. The Sexual Reproductive Health Outreach Program uses the money for transportation from the Center (in between two rural communities) to the schools and churches involved, as well as education materials and a stipend for nurses to teach the students. This program was initiated by Northwestern graduate Colleen Fant and further developed by Kathleen Leinweber this past summer. The nurses from the Center train students on important sexual health, reproductive health, hygiene and other adolescent health topics. These students in turn serve as peer educators to inform their fellow classmates and encourage them to use safe practices and the H.O.P.E. Center for testing purposes. Additionally, twice a year nurses and medical staff from the Center travel to the participating schools and churches to present in-depth presentations about health issues and to promote the Center as a resource for answering questions and concerns.
Progress at the H.O.P.E. Center Allyson Westling
I was fortunate to spend two months with the GROW team interning at the H.O.P.E. Center this summer. We were able to advance the partnership between the Center and GlobeMed at Northwestern, evaluate existing outreach programs, and conduct community-mapping initiatives. My own research focus was on maternal health and nutrition. I met with many pregnant women to assess their current nutritional knowledge, beliefs, and practices in collaboration with the H.O.P.E. Center’s effort to expand its already successful childhood nutrition program to a new patient population. The H.O.P.E. Center is an exceptional community health clinic, complete with effective outreach programs that target childhood malnutrition and adolescent sexual and reproductive health concerns, and a talented staff. I left Ghana with a much wider understanding of global health work in action, a deeper appreciation for the incredible people who make the Center what it is today, and the commitment and excitement to further advance our partnership with the Center as we continue to support these important outreach programs this academic year.
Eye Health Care in India: A Chapter Member Highlight Esha Khurana
This past summer, I stayed with Dr. Markanday Ahuja, one of the two opthalmalogists working at the renowned Sri Baba Mast Nath Eye Hospital in India. Dr. Markanday sees and diagnoses about 120 patients in an hour, which, if you do the math, means that he typically greets his patients and jots down a diagnosis and issues a prognosis and writes a prescription for medicine all within 30 seconds. Many of the patients, it seems, suffer from injuries to the eye while cutting crops or from livestock. The injuries then go untreated for years, and the corneal or lenticular abrasions are exacerbated by dust particulates in the air, harsh UV light, and age. Patients tend to see the doctor only when the eye condition develops into an acute problem. The vast majority of patients wear no form of eye wear, and if they do, they rarely know the power of their lenses. The real issue, it seems, is lack of education and persisting attitudes about eye medicine. For example, there is definitely a stigma against wearing glasses. In the eyes of a villager, if you’re wearing glasses, you suggest to others that you are not cut out for tough physical labor and that you intend to occupy your time by dawdling with books. Most of the children patients were terrified of the doctor – believing that if they did not behave well, the doctor would brandish a large needle and use it at his leisure. Even for the adults, going to the doctor is seen as a punishment, a full day’s endeavor which pulls the villagers away from daily work. Part of the problem, I believe, is the lack of a true patient-doctor relationship on account of the dearth of doctors and complete surplus of patients. Dr. Markanday does not choose to see his patients for 30 seconds; he has no choice. He either sees them equally for 30 seconds or he will not see certain patients at all. It’s clearer than 20/20 vision (pardon the lame joke) that Dr. Markanday’s hospital provides invaluable services to its patients, and honestly, he’s an inspiration to aspiring physicians like me. He practices medicine out of compassion for fellow man, not out of a desire for money or a thirst for academic glory. There’s only raw medicine, raw knowledge, and a lot of heart.
Senior Spotlight Alyson Weiner
I am a senior from New York majoring in biology with a minor in global health studies. Throughout my life, I have been interested in social justice and the inequalities that exist between people living within different parts of the United States and also throughout the rest of the world. On a whim, during the fall of my sophomore year, I enrolled in the class “Managing Global Health Challenges” with Professor Diamond. This was my first exposure to major global health issues and how the biological and social determinants of health interact to impact every individual. My professor told the class about an organization on campus called GlobeMed that works with grassroots organizations in developing countries, and I immediately realized GlobeMed would be a great opportunity for me to get involved with global health equity on the undergraduate level. Through GlobeMed, I have been able to truly contemplate health issues and learn new perspectives. Furthermore, GlobeMed has played a tremendous role in my college experience, motivating me to take more global health classes and study public health in South Africa. Going to the GlobeMed summit last year was one of the most powerful experiences of my life. It was incredible to learn from professionals involved in the global health movement and also to speak with amazing students from all over the country who are passionate about social justice. As our chapter’s co-campaign coordinator, I oversee and help organize the fundraisers for the H.O.P.E. Center, and I have really enjoyed having the opportunity to work with all the incredibly motivated and passionate people in GlobeMed for a cause we all care deeply about. I will graduate in March and begin medical school in August to pursue my goal of becoming a pediatrician. I truly hope that I can spend my life providing health care to underserved populations and working with communities to improve their health. GlobeMed has helped me realize the big picture of public health, and I plan to incorporate what I have learned both from GlobeMed and a minor in global health into my future career.
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 excited to embark on phase V 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 Former co-president Tiffany Wong walks with children from Ho, Ghana across a soccer field to where future crops of soybeans will grow.