Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Sunday, September 25, 2011
It’s almost time for me to leave and I have yet to complete my survey! I’m getting a little anxious as Dr. Pan’s schedule seems quite heavy and everything depends on when he can get me in to survey people. He suggested the end of August to my collaborator here, Dr. Duan, but she informed him I’m leaving on August 25 so he scheduled me in for August 23 (just two days before I leave!)…but he insists that I can survey 30+ people in one day, and there is really nothing I can do about it at this point, so I just have to trust that this will get done. I’m glad that I had a full 5 weeks here, which I had imagined to be not enough time, but apparently this entire time was needed as Dr. Pan’s schedule is quite full and he keeps making revisions to the questionnaire. His suggestions are good so I’m not complaining but again, the time frame does make me a little anxious. I guess I just have to learn to be patient and learn how to deal with "China time" (translation: delays). For now, I’ll leave you with these beautiful pictures of Gǔlóu Jiē (Old Drum Tower Road) and the Beijing Art District. Just when I think I could never live/survive/cope in China and I’m feeling overwhelmed and frustrated, I'm reminded of how beautiful, fun, and quirky this city is. The Drum Tower Road pictures were taken on my way to eat lamb skewers—a popular street food item. Enjoy!
Thursday, September 22, 2011
I’ve been in Beijing for a little over two weeks now, and I’m really starting to settle into life here. I have a studio apartment which I am leasing on a day-to-day basis from a family friend and it’s much nicer and cozier than I expected (albeit rather expensive).
On my second day here, I visited the Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences (CRAES) and met with my collaborators, Dr. Duan and a PhD student who insists that I call her what her friends call her, Zhenzhen. I presented my research topic and questionnaire to them and Dr. Duan is going to arrange for me to meet with a physician from the Beijing Maternal and Children’s Hospital (BMCH), who will facilitate the administration of the survey. Dr. Duan has made some minor revisions to the survey which I composed before my departure as I had to submit it for IRB approval. I then asked a relative to translate it into Chinese for me and Dr. Duan is helping me refine the Chinese version so it is easier for participants to understand. I hope that I can start administering the survey soon, but this really depends on Dr. Pan’s (from BMCH) schedule. In the meantime, Zhenzhen and I went shopping to purchase the gifts we’re going to be giving to the participants—packages of disposable diaper wipes. Dr. Duan believes the study participants will appreciate them and put them to good use.
Before arriving in China, Dr. Zhang had given me some interesting background in the population I'll be working with. He informed me that the average pregnant woman in Beijing is older and more educated than her American counterpart. Because of China’s strict one-child policy, women in urban areas of China do their best to make sure they are ready—in terms of family structure and finances—before attempting to have a child. There are also fewer teen pregnancies and single-mother pregnancies in Chinese urban areas in comparison to the States. I believe this places a lot of pressure on Chinese women to attain the right balance of success and stability before a certain age so that their one child will be born into the environment parents wish them to be brought up in. As you can imagine, the one-child policy—and the added pressures that come with it—have serious and far-reaching effects on social relationships and structures. It will be very interesting to see if the results reflect these demographics and how the average (educated) pregnant woman in Beijing views air pollution and its effects on her child.
‘Til next time,
Packages of disposable diaper wipes for the participants.
Zhenzhen "MODELS"ing our gifts!
The Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences:
Monday, September 19, 2011
It’s a big week for IGH!!
On Friday our first online course with the New York Times Knowledge Network launched focused on the Global Rise of NCDs and the UN High Level Meeting on NCDs. The course offers a great forum for in-depth discussion about how to manage the global rise in NCDs.
Today we spent the day dodging (heavy) security around the UN interviewing governmental, non-governmental, and industry delegates to the High Level Meeting and posting the interviews on the course website (see picture of the beautiful NYC day!). We have two more Live Classroom discussions tomorrow and Thursday. If you want to join in, it’s not too late!! Register on our website.
Tomorrow we are co-hosting a lunchtime side event at the High Level Meeting with the Ugandan Permanent Mission to the UN focused on the Rise of NCDs in Sub-Saharan Africa. We are expecting a good turn out and a great discussion.
Then on Wednesday we are attending the Social Goods Summit to launch our Facebook game ‘1000 Days’, developed with ABC News and the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition. The game is live so go on and play and share it with your friends!! (apps.facebook.com/thousanddays)
Perhaps the most interesting part of the week so far has been in the incredible security at the UN and all over New York. It just so happens that the hotel I am staying in is also the hotel for the security dog teams…. Literally there are dozens and dozens of enormous dogs staying on my floor. Signs on all the doors say “DO NOT DISTURB – BEWARE OF DOG”!!