Monday, April 26, 2010
Photo taken by Kim Tu
It was fun to see the looks of enlightenment on kids’ faces as they learned about the merits of eating healthier (who knew hot Cheetos contains an ingredient that can also be found in deodorant?). Parents approached the local clinics’ booths with as much zeal as the children. By day’s end, most of the local booths had run out of educational material and all of the booths providing services ran out of testing supplies. Everyone who attended the health fair left with new knowledge of how to live a healthier lifestyle and received a free screening from at least one of the many services available.
Soccer in the Streets Entertainment
Catering to the Latino majority in Huntington Park, the entertainment at Soccer in the Streets was a varied array of the performing arts. From the swirling dresses of USC Ballet Folklórico to colorful traditional Bolivian dancers, Soccer in the Streets entertainment sampled a variety of Latin American culture. Huntington Park’s own Joe Nuñez sang a lulling ballad in Spanish, as well as popular American songs such as “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz. Johnny Polanco and his band kept the crowd dancing with saucy salsa and the UCLA LASA’s Meregue Troupe showed off their moves for the audience. Families sat on the grass and enjoyed the festivities with their free healthy lunch or danced to the live music on the dance floor in the middle of the park.
Photos by Andrew O'Neal
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
The USC Institute for Global Health provided me with funding to attend the 19th Annual Global Health Education Consortium (GHEC) in Cuernavaca, Mexico. The conference was held at the Instituto Nacional de Salud Publica from April 9th though 11th. The conference started with a lecture by Dr. David Bloom from Harvard School of Public Health. He discussed the importance of collaboration across several different fields such as public health, law, business, and medicine. He emphasized that this type of collaboration will result in more effective ways of implementing public health findings to create program interventions. After hearing lectures by several other speakers, I had the opportunity to present my poster at the conference. This was the most enjoyable part of this experience because I was able to speak with and get helpful feedback from professors, residents, and students. I was excited when one of the professors told me that he looked forward to reading about my study in a journal publication. I had residents ask me about how leprosy was treated and how HIV/AIDS patients face a similar stigma. There were students from another U.S. medical school who will be working in a leprosy camp in Brazil this summer and I brainstormed with them on potential research projects. I also met medical students from Mexico and they gave me some more information about the stigma that leprosy patients face in Mexico because of the community’s fear of the disease. By attending this conference, I am certain that I will be able to improve my research study based on the constructive feedback I received. I also enjoyed being able to read the posters of other medical students and residents. One study that I found particularly interesting was “The Social Impact of Albino Killings on Albino School Children in Tanzania.” During the rest of the conference, I attended panels on ethics of global health, social determinants of health, clinical practice and global health, and current issues in HIV/AIDS.
Doing medical work in Africa has always been one my life-long goals. The health disparities that exist between Tanzania and the United States have been particularly appalling for me. I have always had a desire to do international medical work to try to narrow the great “epidemiological divide” that exists between countries. Living in a rural village in Tanzania for one month was the most life-changing experience I have ever had, and I know that I will never forget the lessons I learned of compassion and strength. The people of Tanzania are the kindest, most hospitable people I have ever met and I felt privileged to be able to work with them.
Saturday, April 10, 2010
On Monday, April 5th, Globe Med invited Dr. Marc Strassburg to share about his experiences eradicating smallpox and to also discuss bioterrorism. Being that it was our first lunchtime event, we had a great turn out, with 52 attendees.
On Tuesday, April 6th, Dr. Nafisa Abdullah spoke about her experiences in Emergency Medicine in Afghanistan. She spoke with such charisma and passion and it was clear that those in the audience were moved to follow her example and use what they learn in the classroom to bring hope and restoration to places in need. This event also had a great turn out, with over 60 attendees.
On Wednesday, April 7th, Dr. Edward Newton came to speak about his experiences as part of the Haiti medical aid team. Dr. Newton moved the audience with the video clip and images he showed us from his time in Haiti. It was truly inspirational to see images of the USC/LAC team working wholeheartedly to also bring hope and restoration to Haiti. We had over 3o attendees at this event.
On Friday, April 9th, the volunteer coordinator, Taja McKinney-Zisler, for the Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking (CAST) came to lead a discussion on a film entitled "Kavi" and discuss modern day slavery and trafficking. Taja spoke with such power and passion and informed the audience about how serious and prevalent of an issue this is.
I have friends who are in the Keck School of Medicine and who came to these events. They mentioned to me that these events were very informative and eye-opening and that they enjoyed learning more about what is occurring globally in the realm of health.
My favorite lunchtime event was on Friday April 9th. A short video of Kavi was shown which was filmed by USC students, nominated for Oscars, and portrayed modern day slavery in India. Following Kavi, the volunteer coordinator from the Coalition to Abolish Slavery & Trafficking (CAST) gave a phenomenal presentation on modern day human trafficking in the United States. I feel that most members of the audience like myself were shocked to even find several cases of human trafficking within Los Angeles. Taja, the CAST representative, informed us that health professionals should be observant for signs of "enslaved" individuals. We discussed the issue fervently and learned of volunteer and interpreter positions needed by CAST. For more information on this issue, visit www.CASTLA.org
I would like to give special thanks to the following contributors to USC GHAW events:
USC Institute for Global Health
USC Graduate and Professional Student Senate (GPSS)
Kress Hollywood nightclub
USC World Med
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
The theme of this year's Global Health Awareness Week is Urbanization and Health. Although we live in the city ourselves, it's still often easy for us to dissociate ourselves from the problems that we see around us, both locally and globally. It's all too easy for us to just live our lives and not pay attention to the suffering and injustice in the world. However, we have to realize that we have a part in the world, that other human beings don't deserve less than we do.
This stance of social justice and equity is what motivates me and what motivates us as GlobeMed. Our mission is to improve the health of the impoverished by partnering with grassroots organizations around the world. We want to go beyond the short-term work of medical trips and travel, and focus on working directly with grassroots organizations in long-term partnerships of solidarity and mutual understanding. Each GlobeMed chapter (of which there are currently 19 nationwide) is partnered with a grassroots organization and works with them throughout the years to raise funds for projects that they are motivated to develop for their community. Our USC chapter began working with Care Net Ghana (which was actually founded by Ghanaian university students back in 1993) last fall, and we're fundraising this year to support the establishment of a medical laboratory in their community of Hohoe. The overall goal of this project is to improve maternal and child health in the area by making it possible for health workers to provide timely and accurate diagnoses of any complications that may arise during pregnancy or the birthing process. This summer, I and a few others will go to Hohoe to meet the people of Care Net for the first time. During this trip, we hope to connect with and better understand the community there, to see what our work this past school year has done, and to bring back that connection to further our work for them here at USC in the next school year.
The funding of a simple medical laboratory in Ghana means so much to their community, which currently has no pediatric care and a doctor to patient ratio of 1/200,000. Let's not be blinded by privilege, but open our eyes to the opportunity to make a lasting impact in the lives of others. It can be as easy as attending and donating at a fun event like our Global Get Down!