October

The Global Health Fellows are lucky to live in a world where there are Octobers, as LM Montgomery puts it. We have given our presentations on community health workers in the public and private sectors of Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, and the Americas. Everyone did a unique job deciding what information to include in the presentation. Overall, we reached conclusions about the things that maintain a well functioning community health worker system and reinforced the effectiveness of having community health workers. We then focused ourselves back on Belize. Using the information we heard in the presentations, each group was tasked with creating a pitch tackling the community health workers in Belize. We had some extremely interesting pitches ranging from improving data collection, to tackling drug compliance, to improving the home visit system.

The 20s and 21s continue to meet together to present and discuss case studies in pairs. They are learning a lot about effective and ineffective public health interventions.

The 19s are in a heated case competition- boys vs. girls! Each team of three will study this case (link case!!!!!) and present it to the entire GHF program. Our wonderful faculty leaders will determine a winner and they will be able to hold it over the other group for the rest of the year. In all honesty, it is an extremely interesting case and I am eager to see what both groups come up with!

Happy end of October everyone. The Global Health Fellows are digging in!

 

20s Observe Cataract Surgery

Written by Sahib Chandi ’20

The Global Health Fellows class of 2020 departed early in the morning this last Thursday to the Virginia Eye Consultants. Along with Mrs. Goodson and Ms. Nasimiyu, we each had the rare opportunity to witness two cataract surgeries. Once we arrived to the Norfolk office, we were given a tour of their facility, which featured an array of administration offices, examination rooms, as well as a multitude of the latest technology for eye exams. Some of these machines were even able to determine certain topographical information, a clearly formative turn in Optometry. We were also shown a room dedicated to LASIK operations for eye correction surgery.

GHF 20’s enjoy a morning at Virginia Eye Consultants!

At the end of the tour, we were taken upstairs to the surgical units, where we each watched two cataract surgeries. Since we divided into smaller viewing groups, some of us saw the implementation of different lenses, of which included toric and multifocal lenses. I had the opportunity to view the multifocal lens, which, by indication of our hostess, had distinguishable rings in its appearance. This recent advancement, unlike monofocals, improves all aspects of vision along with cataract removal. Therefore, many patients no longer need to wear glasses or contacts after surgery. Since only three of us were allowed in a viewing room at a time, the other three of us sat in the lobby and discussed the surgeries we saw. Some of the discussions began with expressions of astonishment at the miraculous nature of this surgery. I especially expressed awe at the complete removal of the clouded lens, a quick, yet delicate process.

Personally, I was most astonished by the ease and speed at which the surgeon performed the cataract surgeries. Each surgery, took about 15 minutes in total, for the removal and replacement of the clouded lens. After seeing this process, I can say that this surgery has an extreme potential to improve the quality of life of those who live with cataracts, but have inequitable access to healthcare. Along these lines, the 20s will meet and discuss a specific case study in India which tackles this problem. Through our discussion, we hope to apply what we learned from this experience to a service-oriented context.

 

September

Written by Madeleine Munn ’19.

Hello all!

The Global Health Fellows have had a busy beginning of the new school year! We spent time discussing our time in Belize and our goals for this year. We have divided into mixed groups and are studying community health workers in Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, and the Americas in the public and private sector. We are working toward presentations to the whole group at our next meeting, during the first week of October.

Individually, the 19s have come up with a plan to give an upper school and middle school chapel regarding the book Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World – and Why Things Are Better Than You Think by Hans Rosling. We plan to do it second semester after the college craziness dies down. Speaking of college, the 19s have crafted their addenda to their college applications explaining the Global Health Fellows. Only a few more months until applications are in…

The 20s and 21s meet together. At their most recent meeting, Mrs. Goodson introduced the case study protocol to the 21s and talked about the value of case studies. She highlighted the six elements of success, which we use to evaluate case studies, and the important points to touch on when presenting a case and its background. Sahib kicked off the season of case studies with his presentation on Maternal Mortality in Sri Lanka.

It’s been a great first month of school and Global Health (except for Hurricane Florence!), and we are so excited to keep up this great momentum!

Museum of Natural History’s Outbreak Exhibit!

GHFs visit the Museum of Natural History by Madeleine Munn (2019)

GHF 20s at the Outbreak exhibition!

On Saturday we visited the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History before hitting the road toward home. There was a fascinating exhibit called “Outbreak” about infectious disease and the way it is spread. Plus, we visited the rest of the museum- and some of us immersed ourselves in butterflies! What a perfect way to end a fabulous retreat. We had a long, hot bus ride back, just reaching home before it started storming. We are so grateful to all of the organizations we met with in DC this week- they are doing the work we are inspired by. This retreat was a perfect way to keep us moving forward into the school year. Here’s to a new season of life and learning!

 

 

GHFs Visit JHU’s Bloomberg School of Public Health

Friday’s Visit to Baltimore by Erin Clayton (2021)

Connor (’20), Ells (’20) and Ingrid (’19) stop to pose on their tour at JHU’s Bloomberg School.

On our 3rd day in DC, we boarded the bus for Baltimore at the early time of 7:15, already filled up on breakfast from our hotel. Everyone was tired after the long day of Thursday, but our excitement about visiting Johns Hopkins overpowered our lack of sleep. After a short 1 hour bus ride to Baltimore, we arrived to Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and were met by Taryn Mallonee and Lauren Black, the director and assistant director of recruitment, communications, and events for the school of Public Health. After they led us to our conference room, Ms. Mallonee and Miss Black asked us about our own interests in Global Health and our favorite experiences in the field. I thought this was unique and something that we had rarely been asked on the trip. We then had the opportunity to learn all about how the Bloomberg School operates and about the student body. One of the aspects of the conversation I found particularly interesting was how of the 10 divisions of the school, one of them was Mental Health. I thought it was interesting how Johns Hopkins is the only school of Public Health that has a specific Mental Health program. The admissions experts also informed us on the great extent of Johns Hopkins research. After our first session, Ms. Mallonee and Ms. Black took us on a tour of the Bloomberg school building and also John’s Hopkins Hospital. We saw everything from labs, classrooms, and lecture halls to the gym, coffee shop, and study rooms. The facilities were beautiful and it was a great opportunity to see the work in action.

GHFs learn about the research of JHU Public Health students around the globe.

After the tour and a quick break, we had a Q&A with faculty member Dr. Donna Strobino, a professor and vice chair of Education in the department of Population, Family, and Reproductive Health. Professor Strobino was very knowledgeable about topics especially related to our work on Women’s Empowerment in Belize. She also reassured everyone that is ok to not know what you want do, and even made the fellows all laugh saying she did not know what she wanted to do. After Professor Strobino’s educational discussion, we had a second Q&A with current doctoral student Justin Jacob, who is a part of the department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Justin’s presentation described his unusual undergraduate path which involved multiple major changes, work at the Center for Disease Control that was unrelated to his studies, and ultimately ending up back at Johns Hopkins doing what Justin believed he was meant to do. This discussion continued our topic of how you do not really know where you will end up until you get there.

Madeleine Munn (GHF 19) asks Dayna Myers questions about Global Health NOW

After our morning at the University, we had a lunch break in the Hospital cafeteria followed by a break time, where my cohort went to  a coffee shop to discuss the morning’s events! We returned back to the Bloomberg School of Public Health and then had a fascinating meeting with Dayna Kerecman Myers from Global Health Now. Global Health Now is an online publication and subscription service where the most important Global Health related articles of the day are published or republished from other publications. All Global Health fellows subscribe to the website and so it was an amazing experience to hear about the behind the scenes aspect of the website. I was impressed how Ms.Myers wakes up at 5am every morning in order to publish the days newsletter. After meeting with Global Health Now, we loaded onto the bus to drive back into DC and to our surprise visit to the World Bank Group’s Visitor Center. We enjoyed a in depth and detailed tour by a volunteer tour guide, which outlined the World Bank’s efforts since its founding. We finished off our last night with a delicious dinner at Bar Louie and some ice cream from Haagen Daz.

GHFs Visit Chemonics, the State Department, CARE, and Mary’s Center

GHFs Visit Chemonics, the State Department, CARE, and Mary’s Center by Julia Duarte (2020)

On Thursday, I woke up to Madeleine calling my name at 7:00. After a few more minutes of comfortable sleep, I forced myself to get out of bed and I proceeded to get ready.  Thoughts reminiscing about the inspirational speakers of the previous day and preparing myself for the full day ahead ran through my head as I brushed my teeth. Once we were all ready, Madeleine, Anaiya, and I grabbed our bags and went downstairs for breakfast.

GHF 19s present about our program and work in Belize to a panel at Chemonics.

After we were all fueled by waffles and coffee, we jogged on to the bus at 8:10, a time which was a little earlier than planned in the event that we met some D.C. traffic. Our cautiousness was awarded by an extra 20 minute break outside in the nice weather. When 8:50 came around, we crossed the street to the large building that houses the private international development company, Chemonics. We made our way up an elevator to a sunlit room where we would be both presenting to a panel of experts (this was the only company to ask us to do this)  and listening to the presentation of the panelists. I grabbed a coffee (yes, for the second time) and sat down with my cohort at a table and directed my attention to the ‘19s, who would be presenting our mission and previous work in the field. Watching the seniors carry themselves with poise and listening to them speak with clarity and a sort of passion made me only hope that someday I could be as confident of a public speaker as they were. I was definitely proud to have them representing this program. Once the presentation concluded, I saw the amazed gazes of the three women sitting in front of us. Ms. Doris Youngs, Ms. Ashley Greve, and Ms. Megan Nelson directed some questions our way, which excited me to see three experts interested in the work of a handful of teenagers.

Panel of experts at Chemonics!

After they talked about their own work within and outside of Chemonics, we began to slowly pour out our thoughts and questions to them. With each question, the three spoke with more and more passion and displayed their knowledge and experience in front of us. I was so overwhelmed (in a good way) by so much information that two hours flew by too quickly. We said hasty goodbyes and headed off to lunch. I ate a filling salad at Panera while getting to know Leila, a newbie to this program.

Ambassador Birx welcomes GHFs to the State Department

At 12:50, we all convened in front of the US Department of State building. Andrew and Kara, the leaders of the day, briefed us on PEPFAR right before two men came outside to escort us through security and to the elevators. At the conference room, we got the chance to meet and speak to Ambassador Birx, Mr. Jason Bowman, Ms. Neeta Bhandari and others. We learned about the United States’ involvement in the history of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the application of maps and geographic information to outbreaks and disease, public-private partnerships, and more. An hour and a half did not offer sufficient time for us to hear what the experts had to say and to ask questions. At the end, we thanked everyone who spoke to us, were ushered downstairs, and quickly hopped on the bus so that we could be taken to our next stop. At 3:00 we were dropped off at CARE, an international humanitarian organization. We met with Ms. Kristin Wells, who does advocacy work at CARE (fun fact: the first care packages were created here). CARE has certainly evolved from physical care packages to “conceptual care packages”, as Ms. Wells stated. Now, they are offering emergency relief aid, women’s rights advocacy, and long-term development programs around the world.

Next, we arrived at the community health center, Mary’s Center (which was founded in a basement!) and we listened to Ms. Bethlehem Muleta and Ms. Selene Tituana speak about the mission of Mary’s Center and community health education research that has been conducted. After we asked a few questions, we split into two groups and we were taken on a tour around the facility. Seeing many components, such has the medical sector, dental sector, and education facilities, really opened my eyes to all the good that they offer to people of all ages and backgrounds. We left the building (not before taking a few pictures.. Which reminds me, please check out our twitter! @NA_Fellows) and made our regular dash onto the bus. Before we knew it, we were at the hotel and running into the lobby. We were given ample time to change out from our formal outfits and relax before heading downstairs to head to Shake Shack (shoutout to Ells’ persistent pleas for burgers). At Shake Shack, I sat with Courtney, Connor, and Sahib and laughed at nothing and everything. That, combined with a good burger and shake, was a perfect conclusion to a perfect day.

GHFs pose in front of Mary’s Center.

I’m not done yet (so sorry)!! In the evening we all met up in Ms. Nas’ room, listened to each others’ roses and thorns, got a spiel of tomorrow’s schedule from Madeleine, and read Global Health Now! articles to prepare for tomorrow’s visit.  

At night, we were in Connor and Sahib’s room after the meeting and talked about what you expect teenagers to talk about: gossip, school, vines, etc. But looking around at the different but the most familiar faces and knowing that we are all connected by a common interest, that we all experienced the once unimaginable, and that we were in for more adventures, jokes, teasing, learning, thinking, laughs, and growing up with one another, I felt an overwhelming feeling of joy that this experience permanently intertwines us into each others’ lives. I reflected on this in my bedroom and before I knew it, my 6:00 alarm was blaring into my ear signalling the start of a new, exciting day.

GHFs arrive to Washington DC

GHF Retreat Blog Post 8/9/18 by Andrew Thetford (2019)

Our first day of the DC portion of our retreat was an early one.  We met at the Arch at 6:30, bags in hand, and boarded the biggest NA bus to get on the road to our first stop at Cycle Technologies.  We all made sure to be on time, because our driver, Roy, said that 6:45 was the latest time we could depart and still be on time. However, about 20 minutes into our drive, we experienced some technical difficulties with the bus and had to turn around and go back to NA to get on another, much smaller bus. It all worked out in the end, as we made it to Cycle Technologies with a couple minutes to spare due to an unnatural lack of traffic for a weekday morning in the nation’s capital.  

Ann Mullen (Cycle Technologies) presents about their product development process.

Cycle Technologies was a very good start to the trip.  They’re a corporation that designs products ranging from necklaces to apps that help women in both the US and especially countries in levels 1-3 to keep track of their menstrual cycle to avoid unwanted pregnancies as well as to facilitate family planning.  We had a great dialogue with two representatives from Cycle Technologies, and came away very impressed with their innovation and energized for our next stop, Conservation International.

Conservation International is an organization that works with foreign governments, companies, and locals in biodiversity hotspots to conserve our world and essentially our ability to live.  Our meeting with their representative, Ms. Janet Edmond, involved a general presentation about Conservation International’s work and a Q&A session regarding Ms. Edmond’s story and the interests of our group.

GHFs pose with Robert Clay, VP of Global Health at Save the Children.

Our final meeting of the day was with the Save the Children organization, a group that works around the world to improve the child mortality rate, provide children with education, and help them escape conflict and violence.  This was one of the highlights of the entire trip for some of the GHFs, and we left all of our meetings wishing we had more time.

After a rough drive in DC traffic, we made it to the hotel, unpacked, and headed out for our first dinner of the trip at some nearby restaurants.  We ended the day with a reflection meeting and preparation for the next day of our retreat. Overall, it was an excellent start to our DC/Baltimore trip!

GHFs Back on Campus – Retreat Day 1

Reflections on the First Day by Ray Fitzgerald (2019)

The Global Health Fellows 2018 Summer Retreat began at 9:00 AM on August 7th. The day began with warm greetings around the room, and an icebreaker led by Ingrid. The icebreaker consisted of a homemade volleyball with various questions being passed around the room. It was a great way to get everyone more comfortable talking to each other again after a long summer. Soon after the icebreaker, the 19’s presented the work that was done in Belize this summer to everyone, with an ongoing discussion about how we can improve our ideas and tackle issues we faced while in Belize. Everyone was doing an amazing job of contributing to the conversation on what will be best for the future of our work in Belize.

After a short break, we began a group discussion on the book Factfulness, a book that all the Fellows read this summer that discusses 10 instincts that a majority of people have that distort their view on certain issues that impact people around the globe. Ingrid began the discussion with a few opening questions and discussion points, and then everyone split up into groups of two or three. Each group then travelled from senior to senior to discuss the different chapters. I personally believe that everyone got a lot out of these discussions, and I was very impressed with how intrigued everyone was with this book, and we all hope to keep this discussion going in the future.

The 19’s then led  the group through a practice run of a presentation that they would be giving later in the retreat to Chemonics. This presentation ran through who we are and what we have done in the past as well as our plans for the future. The younger cohorts gave very insightful feedback, with some help from Mrs. Goodson and Mrs. Hall. Soon after the presentation and feedback Andrew did a quick run through of some packing reminders, as well as overview of the week ahead.

Lunch consisted of some amazing food, courtesy of the Munn family! While the 20’s and 21’s ate, the 19’s had a working lunch with Mrs. Livingston to discuss and work on their senior Addendums to supplement their college applications. Once lunch was over, everyone packed up and began the trip to Escape Room for a team building activity. During this activity, everyone split up into their cohorts and were ‘locked’ in a room for an hour and given clues and riddles to solve in order to get out. The 19’s were the only ones to get out in time, but the team work shown by all three cohorts was very impressive. Overall, it was an amazing start to a great 2018 Global Health Fellows Retreat!

Travel Home from Belize – Day 8

Written by Madeleine Munn ’19 to recount Saturday, June 16, 2018:

1 hour and 13 minutes. We will touch down in Norfolk then, and there is no world in which I could capture 8 days in 1 hour and 13 minutes. Douglas Adams said that “to give real service you must add something which cannot be bought or measured with money, and that is sincerity and integrity.” You could not have measured the chance to turn on a light in a young girl’s mind which had never even known it was in the dark. You could not have bought the smile on Ray’s face when he finally met and talked to a Mennonite. You could not have measured or bought the kindness and openness of 97 patients. There’s no buying or measuring or summarizing 8 days of intense experience, thoughtful reflection, and sweet, tender moments- 8 days of sincerity and integrity. It was a bittersweet finale for the seniors, a fresh first for the sophomores, and an exciting adventure for all.

We traveled to towns where people had no teason to open their door to teenage gringos who wanted to measure their glucose levels, blood pressure, and vitals, but they did- without hesitation- and we were lucky to talk with them and to begin to ponder how to continue a relationship with their communities. The point is, we (the USA) have a lot to learn from Belize, its residents, its healthcare system (and its food!!). It is many things but ugly is not one of them. Neither is unfriendly. Every single person we met was equally as welcoming and beautiful as the landscape they inhabited. That says a lot about people. In a lot of ways, we become our surroundings; but also, we choose the final product- we choose unearned gratitude, trustworthy affection, boundless grace. We are shaped by them but they don’t determine us, only we do that.

As I look around me at our tired faces, I feel the fullness of the hearts inside. I feel the heat of last night’s bonfire, the final gathering. I hear the laughter of a group that put an insane amount of work into changing the world, and drank sodas together in the downtime. And I know that no matter how delirious some of us may be after a day of traveling and a week of hard work, and no matter how much we are waiting, on the edge of our seats, for the summer ahead, Belize will always be our rose.

Travel to Belize – Day 7

The last full day, Friday, June 15th, is captured by Ella Davis (2021).

The excitement of the week carried us all the way to our last day in Belize and for some their last day of international GHF travel. Today was filled with work, reflection, and bonding mixed with happy memories and an overwhelming feeling of how much we’ll miss this place. The morning began with the health fair, giving us one last opportunity to interact with our community. There were vitals, blood pressure/blood glucose being taken, vaccines being distributed and babies being measured and weighed. I taught nutritional lessons to the women in the waiting area along with the hand-washing curriculum. The moms were very interactive and it was great to see that what we were teaching  would make a difference within their households. While others were hard at work tending to patients, a few of us kept the kids occupied while their mothers waited. We handed out tooth brushing pamphlets for them to color, sat in a small circle and talked about everything from the colors of the Crayons to their school lives. One little five year old boy and I bonded in particular. I taught him how to use hand sanitizer and showed him all of our germs under the glow light. When it was time for everyone to pack up he ran over to me and gave me one of the best hugs of my life and that was when I truly felt that my job was special. After a fun-filled start to the day, our group decided to stop by the Pentecostal schools cultural day before lunch. Walking in, we were greeted by the kids we had taught just days before. But instead of uniforms, they were dressed in traditional Mennonite, Creole, Indian and American outfits and sold food out of each cultures tent. We played, ate and conversed for a while until we reluctantly headed back. Fortunately, our home stay families greeted us with a fantastic last lunch of the trip! After taking a quick but well deserved nap, we headed to the community center and started reflections. I was given the time to think about every awesome event on this trip, and just to think about the impact that we had on so many people’s lives. As we shared our reflections one by one, I couldn’t help but feel sad. I felt sad that we didn’t have more time to give to the people of these communities, and that we didn’t have more time to just be with each other without the temptations of electronics. Nonetheless, our last experience on our 2018 GHF Belize trip consisted of a bonfire, a few chairs and a lot of laughs. We chowed down on the going away cake for Kirsten (who will be missed greatly) sat around the dimly lit fire, just enjoying each other’s company, and playing a few rounds of Mafia. I’m going to bed thinking of the great memories we will all share in many years to come.