Thursday, March 5, 2015

La Autoestima (Self-Esteem)

Hey everybody!

We're back with another update on how GlobeMed is faring at Amherst College.

We have instated our new executive board, and we're excited to see how our new e-board members will carry on the GM legacy next year. But, we would particularly like to thank all our faithful staff members who are the reasons why GM is as great as it is today. Thank you GlobeMedders! We would be nothing without you guys :)

This past staff meeting, we took a trip down memory lane as we discussed about previous ghU topics. Last academic year, we discussed public health topics from "All Around the World." And, this year, we explored how to tackle public health issues in ways that were "Outside the Box." It's been a long journey filled with remarkable discussions and presentations, and we're excited for the more ghU insights to come.

For partnerships, we did a cool activity: we replicated one of the workshops that was conducted this past summer in El Salvador. We got into our houses and wrote on posters what self-esteem meant to us. Originally conducted by Pastoral workers with young teenagers, this activity is a reflection of how, back in El Salvador, an adolescent's low self-esteem is often taken advantage of by gang recruiters. Pastoral de la Salud believes that, by raising young leaders within schools to become more confident and to take more ambitious initiatives, this workshop will help shape the younger community overall. On a less serious note, maybe we should re-introduce the "power pose" to Pastoral and our fellow GlobeMedders as a way to boost our confidence??

Anyways, why don't you comment below on what self-esteem means to you?

Hope all of you are hanging in there and looking forward to spring!

Until next time,
GM <3

(Below are photos of our self-esteem posters and Queen Bee showing us how to power pose!!)

Monday, February 16, 2015

Word Day of Social Justice

I know. I know. You've been going through withdrawals, right?

Fear not. We're back to share the GM love <3

For this week's staff meeting, we began with a fun community event. Without speaking, members had to form a circle. Easy enough. What's the catch, you ask? Everyone had to stand in order according to his/her birthday. We managed to successfully form the circle (all thanks to our Amherst education), and we also discovered that two pairs of people shared the same birthday with each other! Then, Calvin the Crab, who lives with the Member of the Week, has found itself temporarily under the care of Christine, who did a great job collecting/organizing money during our Date Auction event.

Which leads us to our next topic! Date Auction was a huge success! Thank you everyone who came to support us and thanks to all our wonderful participants who strutted their awesomeness on stage. We earned around $2,600 and that wouldn't have been possible without YOU :)

For Partnerships, we are finally drafting our Partnership Action Framework, and we are excited to see how the money we raised will support Pastoral de la Salud train 50 local volunteers to become Community Health Workers in their respective parishes.

And, last but not least, GlobeMed is hosting a week-long campaign in preparation for World Day of Social Justice this Friday! We will be asking students on campus to write what they think would make the world a better place and taking photos of them holding their statements. So, keep your eyes open for photos on our Facebook page. Also, on Friday, Globemedders will walk around with balloons so that other students can easily spot us and ask us about what social justice issue we're passionate about and what GlobeMed does in terms of social justice.

We end this blog by asking you to think about what you believe would make the world a better place (or what social justice issue you are concerned about).

"The world would be a better place if...[insert your viewpoint here]"

 Have a lovely week~

Thursday, February 5, 2015

GM stands for General Motors right?

Hey ;)

So, we just wanted to clarify.... GM does NOT stand for General Motors. It stands for GlobeMed!! And, what do we do at GlobeMed, you ask? Well, as one of the most active clubs on Amherst campus, our mission is to raise funds to support our partner, Pastoral de la Salud, a public health organization in El Salvador. We also raise awareness about global health iniquities as well as promote how, even as students, we can make a difference.

Anyhoo, our weekly staff meetings include community team builders/ice-breakers, ghU (which could either stand for global health U or global health University...), and partnership updates/info sessions, just to name a few.

This past meeting we had the cool opportunity to watch a brilliant presentation (by lovely Camel) showcasing our finances from last semester. We're happy to say that we raised around $4000 to date! We especially wanted to thank those who helped make this happen. GlobeMed would be nothing without you all.

Also, Partnerships showed a video that displayed the dire conditions of gang prisons in El Salvador. We saw that men, young and old, lived in overcrowded living spaces that definitely fell below safe living standards. We'll definitely discuss more about gang problems and global prison issues in the next few meetings.

We, then, transitioned into a fun and stimulating debate on Obama’s proposed $1billion foreign aid investment in Central America (including El Salvador). Each team had to argue for a specific case, and many members brought to the table very interesting points. Likewise, we see this as a potential opportunity for advocacy work!

Last but not least, GM members and supporters, please attend Date Auction on Feb. 13 at 7pm. Make sure to save the date!!! It'll be fun and exciting and all funds will support Pastoral workers in conducting much-needed projects for the Salvadoran communities.

Keep your eyes open for other GM events and have a great rest of the week.

Stay warm from the snow,

GM <3

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

First Meeting of Spring 2015!

Hey everyone!

Welcome to the new spring semester~ GlobeMed is more than excited to launch our plans for the coming weeks.

At our staff meeting, Community team (Devyn and Keelin) led us with a fun names game that helped old members and new members get to know one another. As our co-prez Emily mentioned, GlobeMed is a club of diverse members from different backgrounds and different ambitions who all are striving towards the same goal, and we should be proud of that. Of course, there's always room for improvement, but, hopefully, community ice-breakers will lessen the #AmherstAwkward between our own members.

During ghU, we had the cool opportunity to hear about Kelly Close's talk, during the Fink Bioscience Symposium, about the intersection of technology and medicine. We broke off into our teams to discuss about the pros and cons of online-communities for illnesses and of doctor-patient relationships formed via technology, such as FaceTime. The general consensus on the matter was that, though social media/technology as a medical medium will make certain treatments more efficient, direct and personal doctor-patient interactions should not be overlooked.

Well, I hope everyone is pumped for this semester! We are already organizing the logistics for DATE AUCTION, possibly one of the coolest events to ever have existed on campus.  So, keep your eyes peeled for flyers and Facebook notifications about the event, which will be held on February 13th!

Have a great rest of the week :)

GM <3

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Exciting Week for GlobeMed

At this week's GlobeMed meeting, we were lucky to have two special guests come speak to us. The first was Dr. Andy Anderson, who gave a presentation on how geographic information systems (GIS) can be applied to public health.

The first example he used was the 1854 Broad Street pump cholera outbreak in London, where 616 people died from a contagion of unknown cause. It occurred primarily in areas with older housing that lacked proper plumbing and sewage. Many people believed the sickness was due to noxious vapors wafting north from the Thames River, the city’s sewer, or was a reemergence of the black plague. However, after anesthesiologist John Snow (shout out to house Snow!) mapped the deaths, he found that the victims all lived within walking distance from the Broad Street pump, the neighborhood’s water supply that had been contaminated by a broken cesspit. Now we know that cholera originated in Northern India and was spread through global trade, and that prevention of the bacterium comes from clean water systems.

Other uses of maps in public health include discovering a relationship between trauma deserts and mortality in Chicago, tracing fluoride in water supplies, and finding no spatial or temporal clustering for early onset breast cancer. Dr. Anderson also talked about supporting Ebola first responders in West Africa through OpenStreetMap, a website that allows users to map high-risk areas.

Our second speaker was Megan Lyster, who is teaching an interterm course called Social Enterprise in Action. In the course, students will work with two partner organizations, Amherst Survival Center and Book and Plow Farm. With Amherst Survival Center, students will help develop a social media campaign to support diaper need awareness, and with Book and Plow Farm, students will research and recommend a new product that will preserve extra produce during the summer.

House Points Tally

Farmer: 27
Nightingale: 28 
Snow: 22
Barton: 23

Last but not least, clubs and groups are coming together for the Global Health 10-Day Event! GlobeMed is sponsoring the NGO Panel, the “This I Believe” campaign, and the Human Rights Day Dinner.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Thanksgiving is just around the corner...

Hello GM members and supporters :)

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and that means, after a few more days, we'll finally be able to relax and unwind with family and friends while counting all of our blessings~

But before that, let's not forget all that we did in our past staff meeting!

We began our meeting by breaking off into our houses and competing with each other by seeing which group had the best elevator pitch! The catch was, however, the whole team had to collectively give their elevator pitch in 1 minute, and each member was allowed to say only one sentence during his/her turn. Nonetheless, it was fun to see how each member gave his/her own spin on an aspect of GlobeMed. Without a doubt, every single one of us had gotten closer to becoming seasoned veterans at giving GM-worthy elevator pitches after the activity! 

Thereafter, Courage, one of our ghU coordinators, led us in a discussion on the documentary, A Place at the Table (check out last week's blog to learn more!). Many of our members articulated great points about the documentary and also raised a few remarkable questions. Some of the main ideas were:

  • We realized that, after watching this documentary, we become more aware of our own eating habits and tendencies and the privileges we often take for granted here at Amherst College.
  • There is the ironic reality that people are sometimes worse off being employed at a workplace that pays minimum wage than being unemployed, because they no longer qualify for food stamp programs but still do not earn enough money to buy healthy foods for their families.
  • Many children, who perform poorly at school because they are hungry or malnourished, are often overlooked and considered to be "problem students" by teachers who fail to recognize the actual problem. 
  • The government, instead of charities or NGOs, need to be responsible for its citizens and re-start programs that were successful in tackling food insecurity in the past.
  • There's a correlation between obesity and food insecurity in the States that needs to be recognized.
  • Most of the time, the voices of people who suffer from food insecurity are not heard by the general public.
In Partnership, Imani showed us a short YouTube clip that provided a very human look into gang violence in El Salvador. BBC interviewed a man named Duke, a member of the gang called "Calle 18." The largest gangs that exist in El Salvador, including Calle 18, actually originated from Los Angeles, CA. The video portrayed the camaraderie and support that exist between gang members. These qualities may help explain why many members join gangs in the first place. Many of the members are recruited at a very young age and are led to believe that the gang is their family. What was most shocking was the open, unashamed attitude many of the members held. This implies just how much gang life is integrated into Salvadoran society and reveals how difficult it will be to stop gang activity, especially when the present infrastructure lacks the necessary resources or authority to effectively combat the issue.

On a brighter note, El Pastoral de la Salud has also shared with us plans for the new upcoming project! The project aims to create a system which will allow local volunteers to be trained in very specialized ways to better their own communities in a 2-year program. Also, 10 volunteers will be chosen to become new leaders in their communities by joining the local parish. We are very excited for this project and pumped up to start campaigning to make this project become a reality! This will be the perfect incentive for us to start raising funds via individual givings and business outreach.

Last but not least, here is a rundown of house points:
Team (Paul) Farmer: 30
Team (Florence) Nightingale: 27
Team (John) Snow: 24
Team (Clara) Barton: 19

Until next time! 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

A Place at the Table

In our last staff meeting, we watched an informative documentary - filmed in 2012 - that focused on the hunger crisis that still exists in the Unites States today. The documentary told a powerful narrative largely through the stories of three people suffering from food insecurity:
  • Barbie, a single Philadelphia mother who grew up in poverty and is trying to provide a better life for her two children;
  • Rosie, a Colorado fifth-grader who often has to depend on friends and neighbors to feed her and has trouble concentrating in school; and
  • Tremonica, a Mississippi second-grader whose asthma and health problems are exacerbated by the largely-empty calories her hard-working mother can afford.

We learned that there were about 50 million Americans who were food insecure in 2012. This was approximately 1 in 6 of the overall population, with the proportion of children facing food insecurity even higher at about 1 in 4. 

The documentary revealed a poignant truth that hunger poses a serious threat to the socioeconomic and cultural dynamics in the U.S. The reason why people are going hungry is not because of food shortages but because of poverty. While charities can alleviate suffering, long-term transformations are shaped by public policy. 

Additionally, watching these stories has not only taught us new facts about our country but has also presented a call-to-action to make a difference. Our goal should be to make healthy food available and affordable for everyone. It would also be instructive to see how comparable food insecurity issues in El Salvador are to the issues in the U.S. and also see how these issues can be tackled.

Thus, we look forward to more discussions about "A Place at the Table" and the hunger crisis at large at our next week's staff meeting!