Monday, November 9, 2015

More Than a Single Story

Hello everyone,

GlobeMed is revving up for its many upcoming events in the following weeks, especially some big ones you for which you should be on the lookout come December.

We have decided to split up into our houses and take trips to nearby thrift stores to purchase ugly sweaters for our Ugly Sweater Christmas Sale.  We're expecting a variety of sweaters in a variety of sizes and we hope that you'll support our sale in exchange for a fantastically ugly sweater that you can show off at Christmas dinners with your family.

The 10 Days of Global Health will also be taking part in early December and we will be sending out flyers and creating Facebook events after Thanksgiving Break.  Keep in mind that our purpose with The 10 Days of Global Health is to link each day with the next in order to create an overarching message about global health.  We want to raise public awareness as well as provide everyone a wonderful time when they come to our events.

In our immediate horizon is an Instead Of Sale.  You can buy coffee and donuts at Starbucks but instead of going all the way there, why don't you get coffee and donuts with us and also support our cause?  A Facebook event will be coming up with specifics.

Aside from our shameless advertisements, we do have important questions for you to pose.  Tonight, for ghU, we were asked to come up with words on the board that come to mind when we see "El Salvador."  It was no surprise that phrases such as "gang violence" and "teen pregnancy," alongside other negative words, predominated the board.  Although it's important to keep in mind the issues going on in El Salvador, it's also important to remember that there is more than "a single story."  Going off of this, Fellowships was able to show us the beautiful photos taken during their trip to El Salvador to bring to light the beauty of the mountain silhouettes adorning every photo, the look of safety and genuine happiness in the eyes of the elementary school kids, and the passion that emanates from all of the leaders of the community that Partnerships visited in El Salvador.  El Salvador has many stories and if we just sat back and listened, we'd see both the beauties and the hardships.  But the problem is that the single stories we hear come from the news sources that highlight the negative aspects of El Salvador as the positive aspects would definitely never make the front page.  So what can be done to prevent us from seeing "a single story?"  This is admittedly a hard question but if you're willing, we'd love to hear your thoughts on this.  Also, our discussion was based on the ideas brought up from this TED talk, which we highly recommend:

As always, we appreciate the support and have a wonderful week.

GM <3

Thursday, November 5, 2015

In Their Shoes

Hey guys!

This week at GlobeMed, we learned a little bit about what it's like to grapple with the problems our partner organization encounters everyday. In El Salvador, El Pastoral de la Salud has to deal with everything from tobacco usage to transmission of STDs, but without a reliable government or police service, sometimes, they have to get a little creative. During the meeting, we received scenarios describing real-life problems and had to come up with our own solutions to combat them. Perhaps the most difficult part of this exercise was realizing the context and culture from which these troubles arose because only then could we formulate adequate fixes.  

For example, a contentious issue for a lot of Salvadorans is teaching safe sex education because Catholicism and a belief in abstinence are so deeply rooted in society. We had to brainstorm a way to protect people's health while also respecting their culture. One possible solution is to teach safe sex within the context of marriage to avoid this roadblock, but any resolution has its drawbacks as we discovered. 

Another problem was trying to lower tobacco usage because currently, 30% of Salvadorans smoke cigarettes. We could tackle this issue by attempting greater education of the harmful effects of tobacco. We could try to quantify the money spent on tobacco so people could see how much they could save if they quit. Many of these solutions are much harder to implement than they sound, so we definitely respect what the ladies at El Pastoral de la Salud do even more now!

On another note, GlobeMed has lots of great events coming up to raise awareness about public health, and we would love your participation. Some include the "What I Believe" campaign, the Human Rights dinner, and the Ugly Christmas Sweater sale. Many of these events are part of the 10 Days of Global Health, so look out for more info about them in the coming weeks.

Thanks and have a great week, 
GM <3


Saturday, October 31, 2015

Off to a good start!

Hello everyone!

GlobeMed is up and running for the beginning of Fall 2015, with new and ambitious members.

So far, we've had the privilege of welcoming Ellen Billard, the co-founder of Road to Mafraq, to Amherst College for an informative and emotionally inspiring speech.  She shared with us her inspiration for starting Road to Mafraq and how she believes supporting the children of the Syrian refugee crisis, through providing access to education and healthcare, will have a big impact on the future of the refugees.  It was an insightful presentation and really put into perspective the difficulty of the conditions in which the Syrian refugees are placed.  If anyone would like to learn more about Road to Mafraq, including ways to contribute to their cause, feel free to visit their website:

On another note, Homecoming weekend has come and passed.  GlobeMedders were tabling for the Homecoming game and selling koozies in order to help raise money.  Although it was a chilly afternoon, it was well worth the effort as we were able to raise enough money to profit from the sales.
Thank you so much to everyone who helped support our cause!  You make GlobeMed possible. We're always looking for new ideas to expand our program, either through spreading public health awareness or helping with fundraising.  If you have any ideas, please comment below!

As always, our GlobeMed meetings are insightful.  This recent meeting, ghU brought up the issue of sex education in America.  We were shocked to find that only 22 states in the United States mandate sex education as a required class and only 13 states require that the information from sex education classes be medically accurate.  This inconsistency of sex education in America causes many problems for teens, especially in the states that don't require sex education as a class.  What are your opinions on sex education?

Lastly, Partnerships brought to light the gang violence prominent in El Salvador.  In the podcasts and pictures they showed us were victims of gang violence, both of whom were young girls.  In both cases, the young girls were targeted for trivial reasons.  Gang violence appears to reign over El Salvador like a dark cloud, leaving those who become victims of gang threats with nowhere to go and no one to go to.  In one of the stories, the sister of the girl who was killed witnessed her death and believes the gangs will target her next.  Her parents can only hope to smuggle her to America in order to save her.  We discussed ways on which the issue of gang violence can be solved in El Salvador and also the implications that arise from the victims of gang violence, such as the role of women.

On a lighter note, we'd love to hear what you have to say about all of the issues mentioned.

As always, have a great week.

GM <3

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