Thursday, January 15, 2009

The end of AIH...

but the beginning of something even more wonderful!

I won't be posting any more on Adventures in Health. It's been a great experience and I've been able to learn some blogging skills and have had a lot of fun too. From now on, I'll be blogging with my good friend and global health whiz-kid Peter Luckow at the Students for Global Health Equity blog (sghe):

Please check us out!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

100 Global Health Blogs

USPharmD+ provides a list of the top global health blogs on the net. AIH didn't make the top list... but GlobeMed did (#76)!!

Lots of great resources to check out!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Creating a global health student-led seminar

As part of a commitment made to attend the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGIU), myself and a team of students are currently working to develop a student-led seminar designed to get students to think more deeply about the role that they can play in global health as well as to think critically about the ethics and potential negative effects of their actions.

Today, university students have an unprecedented awareness of growing health disparities throughout the world. Not only are students aware, but they are eager take action to address these observed disparities. Along with taking advantage of academic programs on university campuses, students more than ever are traveling to underserved communities and taking part in medical service delivery. While global health volunteerism can be accomplished in ways that are sustainable, culturally sensitive, and positive for the recipient communities, we worry that too often students are thrust into situations where they are ill-prepared to make actual positive impact. Worse still, without proper training and preparation, volunteer efforts could unintentionally result in significant harm to vulnerable populations or health hazards for the volunteers themselves.

We believe that students can create positive change in global health by being culturally competent, striving for sustainability, and understanding the ethical implications of our actions. Therefore, we seek to develop a student-led seminar that will engage students in critical thought about effective student involvement in global health. By addressing the root causes that drive global health inequity we hope to frame a discussion which creates discernment amongst participants about their own motivations to be involved in this movement. Using models of existing, student-led organizations, the course will explore issues of global health service, such as cultural competency, asset-based community development, medical ethics, and extending one's impact beyond their stay. Upon completion of the course, students will be better able to maximize the impact of their global health volunteerism and be equipped with the skills and judgment to be tomorrow's global health leaders.

Here is a brief outline of the topics we hope to cover in the seminar:

Week #

1.Global Burden of Disease
  • An introduction to major trends of the distribution
2.Root Causes of global health inequities
  • Structural violence, neoliberal economic policies, etc.
3.Discernment, motivations, and goals
  • Asking the question: Why do we really want to be a part of this movement?
4.Students can cause harm
  • Reading such things as Duffel Bag Medicine, by Maya Roberts and To Hell with Good Intentions, by Ivan Illych
5.The 4P's: Power, Privilege, Position, and Posture
6.Cultural Competency

7.Long term vs. short term engagement
  • Developing tools to measure impact
8.Sustaining your impact
  • Case studies of effective/ not effective student-led organizations
9.Reflection/Moving Forward

I'd love for an comments/ideas for resources/criticism of what we've got so far. I'll keep you posted about our progress!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Not just any hemorrhagic fever: ebola in the DNC

I've always been fascinated and horrified by the ebola virus. It is one of those diseases that seems like it belongs in a science fiction movie rather than real life. Unfortunately, it exists and a new outbreak has been recorded in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Here are a few reports on the situation:

Two more dead from ebola outbreak in DR Congo: MSF - WHO

Ebola -- in people, DRC - Aetiology

Death Toll Up in DR Congo - BBC News

Democratic Republic of Congo: MSF Responds to Ebola Outbreak in Kasai

Ebola in the DRC - MSF Blog

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Lessons and Social Justice

Nathaniel Whittemore, the founding director of Northwestern's Center for Global Engagement has a really great blog post about what Charles Dicken's 'A Christmas Carol' can teach us about social justice. I had the opportunity to go see a play at an adaptation of the play at a local Portland theater on Christmas eve. For me, it was an excellent reminder of the things that matter most.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Monday, December 22, 2008

This I Believe

This I Believe: Health is a human right. Here is a moving essay by Paul Farmer read on NPR.

Propagating structural violence

Really disheartening news that the United States recently was the only voting nation to vote against "the right to food" for the world's poorest in the UN General Assembly.

UN General Assembly press release:
"Draft resolution XX on the right to food, approved on 24 November by a recorded vote of 180 in favour to 1 against (United States), with no abstentions, would have the Assembly reaffirm that hunger constitutes an outrage and a violation of human dignity, requiring the adoption of urgent measures at the national, regional and international level, for its elimination. "
It is really sad to me that the United States would vote against something like this, but I can't say that it is surprising. It highlights the need to change the way we look at rights in the United States. We need to adopt a mindset about rights which is broader and includes social and economic rights in addition to civil and political rights.

Human rights matter. I can't wait to have a President and an administration that agree.