Check out the article here and the discussion here.
Here are some of my thoughts after reading the article and thinking about it in relation to my experiences in Ghana and at the HOPE Center:
After spending the past 3 1/2 weeks at our health partner, the
Unfortunately, there is no way that the Center's current clinic management systems could handle a large influx of new patients. Our team from GlobeMed at NU talked often about how, what the HOPE Center really needed was a medical director - someone good with computers, scheduling, budgeting, and effectively allocating the precious human resources provided by the nurses. Unfortunately, right now, we do not have the resources for a professional clinic manager. So, what can we do in the mean time?
Here is where, I think, GlobeMed health partnerships have the exciting possibility of going beyond boring old fundraising. Depending on the type, size, and nature of the partner organization, I believe that students could take on roles similar to consultants. Basically, consultants are hired by companies – and increasingly both large and small nonprofits – to analyze and create solutions to business problems. Consultants add value to businesses by bringing in a fresh set of brains with different problem solving and analysis tools. While staff members and management must juggle many balls, consultants are able to narrow their scope and focus on a smaller subset of problems at one time. Although students are not professionals, I do believe that we have valuable skills, analytical minds, and a growing body of knowledge fueled by our university education. Exactly as Victor just mentioned in “Recruitment for GlobeMed Chapters,” we should be engaging students from a wide variety of fields – engineers, economists, sociologists, and anthropologists. Each of these unique perspectives will allow health partnership projects that go deeper than fundraising, allowing students to use their growing specialty knowledge to improve the systems that ultimately allow the expansion of health care capacity.
As a next step, I think that this project could be awesome to think of in terms of consulting. Here is one where we could engage some of our computer science whizzes at NU in using their expertise to build a more formal EMR system for the Center. I think that it would be very possible to assess the needs and limitations of the
Of course, students need the tools to enable them to effectively analyze problems and then apply that analysis to developing solutions. While working with the
It is always important to realize that we are students and not professionals. It’s a frustrating position when we all want so badly to just jump in and help, but are prevented by our lack of medical training. Although not as “sexy” as going on “medical missions,” I think that students can really make a huge impact analyzing and proposing solutions to management issues. Here are problems that we can engage with less fear of breaching medical ethics.
Sorry for the rambling rant, but these are just some ideas – spurred by that interesting article and discussion – that I’ve only started to piece together. I’m still here in