Last Day on the Eastern Shore: August 7, 2021

Written by Julianne Hood ’22

Today was our last day on the Eastern Shore for our 2021 Global Health Fellows retreat. After most of us were working on our case competitions late into the night, we woke up groggy, packed up, and headed to the Life Center of the Bay Creek Resort. There we placed the finishing touches of our case competitions. Then we headed straight into the final presentations in front of peers and to be judged by our three judges: Carter Furr, Mrs. Hall, and Ms. Sarah DeCamp. The goal of the case competition was to create a six month emergency plan and twelve month long term plan in order to improve the mental health of health care workers in Dougherty County, Georgia with a $750,000 grant. The first group; consisting of Abby Fernandez, Jen Yuan, Liam Sullivan, and Sophie Pollio; created a six month emergency plan of providing a year’s supply of personal protective equipment to Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital, posters and emails with online resources, workshops to address mental health stigmas, “Wellness Wednesday” mindfulness workshops, and surveys for hospital staff. Their twelve month plan included more hospital wide workshops with plans to continue annually, a continuation of “Wellness Wednesday”, and a final survey. Group two’s members; Avery Britt, Ben Roberts, Ryan Guzik, and Gretchen Scott; created a six month intervention consisting of a survey to assess the mental health of health care workers, cognitive behavioral therapy, and medications. Their long term plan included a class for incoming hospital staff by partnering with Norfolk’s very own Chas Foundation in order to recognize mental health issues, teaching mindfulness, and improving the hospital environment for those with PTSD. The third group to present included myself, Saoirse Dowd, Jenny Vazquez Paramo, Van Deans, and Varish Sappati. In our six month intervention we applied WHO’s Self Help Plus Program, Northampton Children Hospital’s reflective groups, and Telemedicine. On our twelve month intervention we created an app with resources, a local ad campaign to gather community support, and incorporated local surgeon, Dr. Valliere-White to destigmatize health care workers asking for mental health support. The final group made up of Mariana Duarte, Gavin Goss, Bella Burr, Joe Bakkar, and Shelby Beverly created a six month intervention including the use of therapy dogs, yoga, and relaxing essential oils. Their twelve month plan consisted of the use of the app TalkSpace, a COVID vaccine incentive campaign, and supplying more beds to a nearby hospital. This comes as no surprise, but group three won!

To finish the day, we wrote thank you letters to all of the amazing people and organizations that so generously donated their time in order to help us learn more about the Eastern Shore. We then wrote ourselves letters to our future selves about what we have learned about ourselves from the trip and to self reflect. We then boarded the bus, and our fantastic driver, Mr. Roy Newman, drove us back to Norfolk Academy safely. I’d like to end this blog post by thanking Mrs. Hall, Mr. Wetmore, Carter Furr, and the Batten Leadership Program for giving us this opportunity and planning this trip. I would also like to give thanks on behalf of the program to Ms. Sarah DeCamps and Mr. Bryan Gomes from the World Leadership School for their immeasurable contribution. Most of all, I’d like to express how amazing it was to get to know everyone better and how I cannot wait for another amazing year of global health!

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