Leadership Lab for GHF ’19s

While our GHF ’18s and ’20s have been in Belize this week, a few of our ’19s have been participating on the Leadership Lab alongside all other Center for Civic and Global Leadership Fellows in their class (Chesapeake Bay Fellows, Literacy Fellows, International Relations Fellows, Engineering/Design/Innovation Fellows). Three week-long Leadership Labs are happening throughout the course of the summer. Half of the week is spent in the wilderness at Calleva Farm and the last few days are spent in Washington, DC. Here is a picture of the first CCGL ’19s Leadership Lab group after their solo night in the woods:

 

Thursday: Home Visits and Tech Sessions

Written by Laura Read (GHF ’20) to recount Thursday, June 16, 2017:

It was yet another hot, sunny day in San Antonio. We woke up early to a delicious breakfast of toast, peanut butter, and coffee from our host family mother, Miss Sandra. At 8:00, we headed off to the community center for an activity packed day! It was going to be out last day of home care visits. 

      The three groups split off again to cover the villages. Gabi, Connor, Claire, Mrs. Goodson, Hector, and I (the Tortilla group strikes again) took the city bus to Cristo Rey, a village about 25 minutes away from San Antonio. We had a interesting conversation with a family about the Belizean education system, which was awesome to hear. The woman we talked to had a lot of insight and a strong opinion on how it should be changed to better the community. Gabi and I got a lot of practice taking glucose levels! I made an effort to practice more of the Spanish I’ve been learning. It’s wildly cool to see how I’m able to understand the conversations the families are having between themselves and Hector. Then, a few hours and some good laughs later, we headed over to the bus stop to travel back to our town. 

     After our last few visits, we headed back to our home stays for some rest and lunch. Olivia and I had a kind of chicken wrapped in fry jacks and it was incredible. Then I played with Miss Sandra’s adorable son, Norbert, who is five. He’s been so cute this week and I’m going to miss him when we leave!

     At 2:00, we all met up in the community center for a tech session. We covered the different uses of ser and estar, listening comprehension, and the pretérito (past) tense in the advanced Spanish group with Hector. I’m learning to think quickly through my Spanish. After our lesson, the groups switched and Kristen (who is awesome and living in my home stay with me) taught us all about maternal health. We learned about maternal mortality, teen pregnancy, family planning, the stages of pregnancy, and maternal health in Belize. It was a really informative presentation!

     Then we headed home for a quick dinner. At 7:30 we were to head over to Sahib, Lawson, and Hector’s home stay for a bonfire and some bonding time. We roasted pineapple and marshmallows! We all hung out in the hammocks for ages. It was a great time. Sahib made us all die laughing, as usual. Then we played Mafia in the back of the pick up truck. It was a lot of fun despite Hunt personally turned Johan against me (cough, cough). 

     Unfortunately, our last round was cut short when the clock struck 9:00, and we all had to say goodbye for the night. We took a few pictures and walked back to our home stays.

     I can’t believe tomorrow is our last full day here. I’m going to miss it so much! (especially Norbert.)

Wednesday: Health workshops at a school and more home visits

Written by Hunt Stockwell (GHF ’18) and Ells Boone (GHF ’20) to recount Wednesday, June 14, 2017:

After yet another delicious breakfast set up by our host mother, we all met up at the San Antonio Pentecostal School to teach the lessons on hand washing and toothbrushing we had created in the previous days. There were four separate groups: two taught the younger kids (kindergarten through third grade), while two had slightly more advanced lessons for the older kids (fourth through sixth grades). As a member of the group that taught toothbrushing to the younger kids, I quickly learned how difficult it was to capture the full attention of six through nine year olds, especially in a classroom setting. Our lessons went extremely well nonetheless, and I was pleasantly surprised by the fact they already kept up good toothbrushing habits; they claimed to brush their teeth three times a day for three minutes each, but I’m not sure if I fully believe that. We ended our sessions with a game of “tooth tooth cavity,” an educational alternative to “duck duck goose”. After we finished our teaching, we joined the kids for recess. We played a myriad of games with the children, including soccer and tag, in which either I was it, or everyone else was. We left to return to our homestays for lunch exhausted but ecstatic from our time at the school. – Hunt, GHF ’18

Having just woken up from our post-lunch siesta, we headed to the community center for another round of home visits. My group went to Cristo Rey, a 30 minute bus ride from San Antonio. In Cristo Rey, my group and I visited houses located near the school. The first house had just one man who graciously let us take his vitals. The 2 other homes we visited were rather uneventful but we collected important data for our needs assessment. A quick bus ride back to San Antonio, a visit to the bakery and Marleney’s store, and we completed the afternoon. – Ells, GHF ’20

After we completed our home visits, everyone reconvened in the community center to discuss our plans to prepare a presentation for another school near San Antonio. We split into on two groups, one group discussing hygiene and nutrition, and the other group discussing sexual education. When we completed these discussions, we walked back to the school and played a pick up soccer game with some very skilled locals. Despite our best efforts, our team lost in the last two minutes by two, unfortunate goals. 

Tuesday: Home Visits in San Antonio

“Team Torillas” trek through San Antonio conducting home visits.

This morning we began with a filling breakfast of pancakes and fresh fruit. We then left our home and headed to the community center to begin our first day of home visits. My group stayed in San Antonio and we visited a total of four homes. We completed blood pressure, blood glucose levels, and other calculations for the free screenings. We also conducted our needs assessment after our screenings. So we asked questions on topics regarding education, nutrition, and illness. Around 11:30 am, we all returned back to the community center and returned home for lunch to refuel for the rest of the day. – Lawson, GHF ’18 

This afternoon, we split into two groups based on our Spanish proficiency: there was the beginner’s group and the group comprised of those who study Spanish. As a member of the more advanced class, we discussed the difference between “por” and “para” in Spanish. Later we were given a lecture about malnutrition, undernourishment, and its impacts on the culture and daily life in the context of Belize. We then spent time refining our needs assessment after our first round of home visits. We discovered that some of our questions were not pertinent to Belize while they were to Haiti. In preparation for our lectures to school children tomorrow about hand washing and tooth brushing, the different groups continued planning and lesson design. Later that night, we went to the local restaurant and had competitive games of cards. – Sahib, GHF ’20

Monday: Tech Sessions, Pottery, Tortillas, and Football

Monday, June 12, 2017:

To start off the day, we woke up early and ate breakfast with our host families before setting off for an activity-packed day. For the first half of the day, we again met at the community center for a tech session, led by Kaitlyn, one of our GPSA student leaders, on the tests we will be administering durning our house visits with the community health workers. We started by learning how take blood glucose levels using a finger prick. Our group split up into our three working groups, which we will be in during the house visits, and we each practiced being the doctor, assistant, and the patient as we all got our blood glucose tested. We then worked to perfect our skill at taking blood pressure, which some of us picked up more easily than others. Kaitlyn then talked to us about measuring pulse and respiration, temperature, and BMI. In order to be able to go to the houses and put our newly learned techniques into practice, we had to pass a test. We were each partnered up and took each other’s blood pressure while Vanessa, our GPSA leader, examined us to make sure our procedure was correct. Thankfully, we all passed and we are excited to get to work in the communities tomorrow! After this morning session, we headed home for lunch, but on the way we were eager to stop at the bakery, which is only open a few times per week. Most of us bought either a freshly baked cinnamon roll, a slice of bread pudding, or a sweet bread that were all very delicious.  

– Gabi Diskin, GHF ’18

For lunch with our host families, we had the national dish of Belize: rice and beans. It was delicious! After a post-lunch nap, we headed over to the local women’s co-op. We observed and participated in the making of corn tortillas which is a Mayan tradition. We mashed the corn and flattened the tortillas and then cooked them on a wood-fire stove. We ate them with coconut oil and salt which made them amazing! After the tasty snack we looked at the Mayan traditional pottery and the various paints they use which are specific to the type of clay used in the pottery. After learning we were able to take part in making pottery and using the wheel where I made a bowl. After our fun day of learning we settled under the gazebo to write our schedules for the school day about tooth brushing and hand washing. – Liz Heckard, GHF ’18

After a long day of learning about and experiencing Belize’s culture, the ’20s and ’18s, along with Mrs. Goodson, Mr. Runzo, a few GPSA leaders, and a couple local children, competed in a friendly game of soccer. Many laughs and falls later, we walked to our separate home stays to shower and prepare for dinner. In the evening, our host mom prepared delicious johnnycakes, which we ate with peanut butter, jelly, cheese, or beans. After we finished eating, we headed to our room to play with our host family’s three-year-old son, Leo. His high energy level brought smiles to our faces, and we spent time laughing along to his antics. Later, we headed to the local restaurant, where we shared a plate of watermelon as we watched the NBA finals. A few of us also drifted to different tables to play a couple rounds of the card game, Hearts. A couple of nodding heads later, we all admitted that we were tired and headed off to our separate home stays to sleep.     Julia Duarte, GHF ’20

GHF ’18s and ’20s head to Belize to work with GPSA

Written by Courtney Kilduff (GHF ’20) to account for June 10-11, 2017:

After two flights and a long bus ride, the Global Health Fellows (’18s and ’20s) arrived in San Ignacio, Belize! We took a relaxing afternoon to settle in and get to know our host families. The following day (Sunday, June 11) started off with a meeting with Global Public Service Academies (GPSA) volunteers; we listened to presentations about hand-washing and patient care, were informed of the week to come, and even learned some more Spanish. Some things we learned included the 7 steps of patient care: preparing the station, greeting the patient, introducing yourself and your program, making sure the patient is in a relaxed position, explaining what you hope to do, following the protocol, and gaining consent before anything else. We role played interacting properly with patients. After eating lunch with our separate host families again (we eat all our meals in our homes), we took a bus to see the Mayan ruins at Xunantunich.


Written by Claire Cunningham, GHF ’18, to recount afternoon of June 11, 2017:

After lunch with our host families we all met up to go to the Mayan ruins. After about an hour long bus ride with our bus driver and tour guide, José, we got on a ferry to get to the ruins. To get to the ruins we walked up a big hill and saw howler monkeys on the way. José told us many interesting stories about the Mayans including the fact that the did not call themselves the Maya. When Columbus arrived in Central America he asked the people what they called themselves. They replied “maya” which means “I do not understand.” Therefore, Columbus wrote about the people who call themselves the Maya. We saw several different ancient buildings. The largest of which was the Castillo. The Castillo is a staggering 40 meters tall. It was hard to imagine how the Mayans were able to build such grand structures without modern tools. The view from the top was breathtaking. We had lots of fun exploring the ruins and the animals that now inhabit them such as monkeys, tarantulas, and iguanas. Visiting the ruins really gave us insight to the culture of the ancestors of many people in Belize. Afterwards we visited a market right outside of the ruins to buy souvenirs. We all returned to our host houses for dinner and went to the store afterwards to buy ice cream — which is without a doubt the best way to end a great day in the sun. 

Observing Cataract Surgery

The Global Health Fellows in the 2018 and 2019 cohorts recently read and discussed an interesting case from the Center for Global Development on treating cataracts in India.  Following the case, the 2019 cohort traveled to Virginia Eye Consultants.  

Below is a reflection from Andrew Thetford, GHF ’19.

This past Tuesday, the 22nd of March, the 2019 Global Health Fellows had the privilege of watching two cataract surgeries and touring the facility that offers these services.  Our day at the Virginia Eye Consultants Center began with a tour of their amazing building, one of the nicest and most comfortable medical centers I had ever been to.  We viewed the many offices that are located in the building, including a newly renovated area that greatly increased the working space.  We were also shown to two different machines for diagnosing cataracts and other issues in the eye.  One was the Fundus Photo Camera, and the other was called an OCT machine.  Each device took detailed pictures of the back of the eye using high resolution photos, and these pictures could then be studied to examine the severity of a cataract or other problems.  

After our tour, we watched our first surgery. The first patient was a woman around 75 years old, and she was having surgery done on a cataract in her left eye.  This being my first time observing a surgery, I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect, but I was very amazed at what I saw.  The patient is awake the whole time, and is just given a pill to make them feel “as if they have had a couple of drinks,” as our guide explained.  They have to focus on a light directly above them during the entire surgery, which lasts 7-10 minutes, and they feel absolutely nothing during the procedure.  The surgeon began by lubricating the eyeball with fluid, then making two small incisions around and above the iris, the colored part of the eye.  After making these cuts, he sliced off the thin membrane that sits right above the lens of the eye, which itself sits right below the iris and can be seen through the pupil, the dark opening in the center of the iris.  He then removed this membrane with a very small pair of tweezer-like tools.  Now, the cataract was visible.  And like I said, I’m no cataract expert at all, but even I could tell that this was one old cataract.  It was very thick and dark, and really reminded me of the inside of a jelly bean in appearance and texture.  The doctor poked around for a little bit, then inserted a vacuum-like tool into the slits and began to extract the cataract.  Because of the thickness of the cataract, it took a while.  The cataract fell apart in chunks and was quickly sucked up by the tube.  After finishing, the doctor inserted the new lens into the opening.  The lens was rolled up like a contact, and sprung apart once inserted into the eye.  The new lens immediately improves vision, allowing the patient to perceive colors and details that they had not been able to in a long time.  

Our second patient was a little different.  A few years younger than the previous patient, this woman had had a laser procedure done on the cataract before actually having it removed.  This means that a precision laser device softened and cut up the cataract to make it easier to extract.  This combined with a younger and softer cataract made for a swifter and easier procedure.  

After finishing up with both patients, we finished our visit with a tour of the Pre- and Post-Op area.  This room was filled with curtained-off sections for wheelchairs and hospital beds.  One of the patients we had watched, who had just finished up with surgery no more than 15 minutes before, was already up and ready to leave.  We were also shown the laser machine that performed the preliminary procedure on the second patient.  It filled an entire room, and had several dials and buttons that made no sense to my cohort.  The operator of the machine, however, obviously possessed a wealth of knowledge and experience for how to operate the device, and gave us a very detailed overview of how it worked.

Our trip to the Virginia Eye Consultants was a great experience.  The 18’s and 19’s just recently finished a case study discussing cataracts in India, so this was an awesome way to experience it firsthand.  Additionally, several of us are interesting in further researching optical health in developing countries, so having learned about and witnessing cataract surgeries is not a bad thing to have under our belts.

GHF Visits CGH at UVa

The Global Health Fellows traveled to Charlottesville, Virginia on February 10th and 11th for a wonderful opportunity visiting UVA’s Center for Global Health, a panel at Darden School’s “Pay for Success” conference, and spent some time reflecting on the year and goal setting for the spring semester.  

Below are reflections from our Fellows from the weekend:

Friday Morning – By Kara Kaufman (GHF ’19)

We began our trip with a departure at 7:30 from Norfolk Academy. ​I, of course, grabbed two Hardees biscuits for the trip, and many of us slept through the entire bus ride. About half way there, Mrs. Goodson handed out the case study on Migrants in South Africa, and we congregated in our groups to devise a rough outline of our plan to solve one of the many issues mentioned within the case. We soon arrived at UVA’s Center for Global Health, which is a really nice work space and a new sight for the 20’s. April Ballard, one of the main directors of the center, gave us a warm welcome, and we received some advice from Colleen Laurence (UVA Case Competition Founder) via Skype about how we should go about tackling the case. Groups assembled once again and progressed their plans until lunchtime.

During lunch, we listened to Ashwinraj Karthikeyan talk about his project, Pheonix Aid, which designs and provids wound dressings for diabetic foot ulcers all over the world. Next, Ashwanth Samuel and Eliza Campbell touched on their research and work through public health. Samuel gave us his story and insight into the system of mobile banking in third world countries, and Campbell shared her experience in developing a more effective diagnosis for child depression in Malawi.

Then, a group of students and professors came to guide us through our cases, and really provided useful opinions and views that, for my group, completely changed and shaped our ideas. I felt much more confident in our program of a mobile clinic reaching outside of the insufficient government community clinics to reach all migrants within a neighborhood, tackling inequality within the heath care of South Africa. Finally, each group then presented their ideas informally, and it was time to leave.

Friday Evening – by Laura Read (GHF ’20)

It had been a long day of learning and interacting with incredible UVa students and leaders in the global health department. We’d had an incredible experience working with these people, but the day was coming to a close, and it was time to unwind with snow tubing at Wintergreen!
After a long day at the UVA CGH and Darden Business School, we gathered our snow gear (and snow pants) and changed quickly back at the Center for Global Health. Then we were in for the winding drive up the mountains! Mrs. Hall passed out some hand warmers which we were all thankful for when we finally reached the peak. After grabbing our gloves and hats, it was time to get our tickets and head out for an hour on the slopes. Tubing was so fun! It was an awesome opportunity to bond with each other, albeit getting our faces frozen and soaked in the artificial snow. There is nothing quite like the feeling of racing down a snowy hill in the dark with wind slapping your bare skin, surrounded by your friends.
Afterwards, we warmed up inside the cozy lodge. Olivia and I grabbed some hot chocolates (that had whipped cream amazingly) and waited for our hands to thaw.  Then our journey back down the Blue Ridge began: next stop, Rodes Farm.
The air was fresh and crisp, and we were greeted by Barbara, the kind woman who ran the farm. She welcomed us inside the Rodes Manor House for a warm dinner of lasagna, salad, and garlic bread, which was delicious after a long day! After dinner, we gathered in the living area to present our cases that we’d been working on all day. Each group presented a thoughtful and unique approach to the scenario, and each group member had insightful ideas that they presented to the meeting. It was nice to hear all that we had been working on, and the effects that the UVa students who had previously gone to South Africa had on our solutions. We all found out that we had started with completely different ideas before their input!
It was around 9:00pm, and we were all gathered outside in the dark on the edge of a hill. Just being on the hammock with the 20’s girls in the dark, under the stars and the full moon, was so nice. All the others were messing around on the rope swings on the other side of the tree. It was freezing, and all three of us were wrapped up in blankets and using the hand warmers from earlier. Then Mrs. Goodson and Mrs. Hall called us over to start the campfire, which took a while to start. But thanks to Hunt’s incredible fire-making skills, a lot of lighter fluid, a tissue, and old waiver sheets, a roaring fire was started before we froze. Helen brought stuff to make s’mores!
Mrs. Goodson asked us each to talk a little bit about what we like about Global Health Fellows and what we would like to accomplish in the next few years. It was really nice to just listen to the entire group voice their thoughts about the day and the program. We discussed what we want to do with our futures and the impacts we can make.
Around 11:00pm we finally made our way back to our houses and rooms. The 20’s all played Anomia with Mrs. Goodson, which resulted in a lot of competitive yelling! After a few good rounds of that, we headed to the second house where the others were. It was fun to bond with the 20’s then. We all headed to bed way too late.
It was a riveting day full of learning and laughter, and the fellows program is incredible for just this reason. I can’t wait for the next time we get to travel together.

Saturday Morning – by Ells Boone (GHF ’20)

The Global Health Fellows woke up on Saturday morning at Rodes Farm ready to go for our last day of the retreat. We awoke around 8 AM and enjoyed a breakfast consisting of bagels and bananas. After breakfast, we turned our attention towards improving our needs assessment that we will take to Belize this June. The needs assessment focuses on various questions from 7 main categories: Smoke inhalation problem due to inside cooking, Water/Sanitation, Hunger/Nutrition, Illness, Maternal and Child Health, Education, and Energy Poverty. Once we finished our work on the needs assessment, the fellows loaded up the bus and took off back to NA. On the ride back, we stopped at the Market at Bellair for sandwiches and continued on our way. We got home in time for Snowball (Upper School dance) and called the retreat a success.  

Dr. Janice Newsome speaks about Interventional Radiology

Dr. Janice Newsome, mother of Olivia Newsome (GHF ‘18) and doctor at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, came to talk to the Global Health Fellows in mid November about her journey into the medical field. Now an Interventional Radiologist at Emory, the path Dr. Newsome took towards her current career is unlike many we have previously heard. She was born in a poor community in Jamaica and was raised by a group of nuns from her community. At age 14, she moved to New York City and entered into a public school system extremely different from the one she had left. In Jamaica she was deemed “smart”, therefore she had focused on math and science classes and it was assumed that she would go into a similar career. Once in New York, she applied to the gifted program at school, not knowing if she was considered gifted or not, and was accepted into the more advanced public school system. After high school, she went through the 6 year undergraduate and medical school program at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. She then continues with residency at VCU and a fellowship at Jackson Memorial Hospital. She worked at a few different hospitals before landing at Emory University as a doctor and a teacher.

Interventional Radiology is a recently added specialty, as is usually had fallen as a subspecialty of Radiology. These radiologists perform diagnostic procedures, treat obstructions and bleeding, perform procedures to avoid surgery and treat cancers, just to name a few. Dr. Newsome not only performs procedures, but also is constantly thinking of innovative ways to advance her field. She has five ongoing project designs for devices that will improve the effectiveness and efficiency of procedures. One of those projects is a bio convertible filter for patients whose blood will not clot properly. Typically the patient would have the filter inserted and then removed at a later date through another procedure. Dr. Newsome’s design would eliminate this second procedure, as the device would dissolve on its own. She works with a team of engineers to put her ideas into action and is preparing to present some of her new innovations at the Georgia Tech Capstone Design Expo this December. As well as working at the hospital, Dr. Newsome leads and mentors a group of Interventional Radiology fellows. Ever since she was a little girl in Jamaica, she gravitated toward teaching people anything and everything, and that passion still has not gone away. She believes that being able to share your knowledge and experience with others is a valuable skill and finds this part of her job to be extremely fulfilling.
Throughout her talk, Dr. Newsome reminded us to follow through with our passions, even if obstacles may stand in the way and to take advantage of all opportunities. She dedicated herself to what she loves and it has lead her to be a innovative and progressive leader in her field. Dr. Newsome remains grateful for the opportunities she was given on her own path to Emory and ended her presentation to us with the reminder: “To whom much is given, much is required.”

GHF 2020’s First Week of Community Service

The first day of the 2020’s community service began on Wednesday afternoon at Lifenet Health. As we arrived, we were warmly greeted by Morgan Burgess, the Lifenet Health Foundation Development Coordinator. After we put on our visitor’s badges, we were escorted to a conference room where we were asked to complete a quiz on organ and tissue donations. The quiz was comprised of 15 questions on the most common myths and misconceptions of organ and tissue donations. Each question contained a statement that the test taker had to identify as either fact or fiction. After everyone had completed the test, Mrs. Burgess reviewed each question and gave us the opportunity to take notes and ask questions. Following a detailed discussion about the quiz, Mrs. Burgess introduced us to the 2016 Norfolk Academy Global Health Fellows and Lifenet Health Project. The goal of the project is to create a slogan to promote awareness of organ and tissue donation on a personal and emotional level. We then said our goodbyes and headed back to the Norfolk Academy campus. During the first week of community service the class of 2020 learned two important things. One being the importance of fully understanding a topic before making a strong decision and the other being the value of spreading a positive message in the community to benefit others. I  really enjoyed my first week and I cannot wait to see what week #2 has to offer!