Saturday, August 2, 2008

Introducing our team

Four of us will be traveling to Ghana and the HOPE Center: Colleen Fant, the former co-president of GlobeMed at Northwestern (and a recent grad of NU), Nikita Kohli, the current co-president of GlobeMed at NU, Sarah Mihalov, global project coordinator for GlobeMed at NU, and myself. I'm really excited by the dedication each has shown to GlobeMed and the HOPE Center, and I know that as a team, we'll be able to get a ton done.

Each of us will be focusing on separate projects, but we'll definitely be working collaboratively on each as well. I'll be focusing on installing an electronic medical records system on the two computers currently at the Center. We'll be using an open-source software system available from OpenEMR. The system seems to be really good for the needs of the Center. Its really quite simple, and will be vastly more useful for keeping track of patient information and scheduling appointments. Right now the Center is trying to use Microsoft Excel to keep track of patient information, but this is cumbersome, and will grow increasingly so as the number of patients treated at the Center continues to grow. I'm pretty green, especially with regard to EMR software, so if anyone has any specific expertise or suggestions, they would be greatly appreciated!

Nikita Kohli, co-president along with me of GlobeMed at Northwestern, will be primarily working to collect large numbers of photos, video, and stories to use to create marketing and communication documents to publicize the work of the HOPE Center. She'll also be engaged in doing community asset mapping. This will include creating a geographical map of the region, interviewing community leaders to identify assets within the community, and then creating a useful document for Center staff to use in their community outreach work.

Sarah Mihalov, the global project coordinator for GlobeMed at NU, will be doing research funded by a Northwestern Undergraduate Research Grant. She will be conducting anthropology research on the topic of: Factors affecting feeding practices in the Volta Region, Ghana: The Relationship with Malnutrition. This research will be of direct use to future planning for the Center as we expand the community nutrition project and continue as a Regional Nutrition Center.

Finally, Colleen Fant, who was co-president of GlobeMed at NU with me last year, will be using her funding from the Mind the Gap Fellowship to spend nearly an entire year working at the Center, conducting ethnographic research with formal and informal interviews of community members about HIV needs, and translating that data into the implementation of an HIV voluntary counseling and testing center (VCT) at the HOPE Center.

I am really excited about all of these projects. Everyone on our team is top notch, and I'm confident that we'll be able to get a ton of valuable work done. I'll keep you updated with our progress.

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