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!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

It’s November!

This week’s staff meeting was kicked off by a tally of points for the four houses, with House Farmer in the lead. Points were awarded for tabling at GlobeMed events as well as winning various activities during meeting time.

We then turned over to ghU and wrote our reactions towards a cartoon of black and white Ebola patients. Continuing the discussion of Ebola, we watched a news video regarding Kaci Hickox, an American nurse returning from treating Ebola patients in Sierra Leone, who was quarantined against her wishes. She felt she had no reason to be quarantined because she showed no symptoms and tested negative for the disease. GlobeMed members were split into two teams, arguing for and against the use of quarantine.  Our conclusion was that while quarantine prevents the spread of Ebola to some degree, it also causes unnecessary fear among the public and inconveniences for returning volunteers.

In addition, partnerships created an informative, artistic, and thought provoking picture gallery regarding gang violence in El Salvador. After going around the gallery, members reflected on the causes, effects, and current status of gang activity. Topics of conversation included the mental health of gang members, the treatment of women, and if it was possible to leave a gang. 

On another note, we will be continuing our trend of successful campaigns during Homecoming this weekend. Come check out our koozies!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Happy Halloween

Hello Everyone!

At this week's staff meeting, our executive board had decided to switch things up a bit. While we usually start off with a fun community building exercise, this Monday, we launched right into an interesting ghU/Partnerships activity.

Our club members were divided into four groups, each tasked to perform one skit encompassing an aspect of El Salvadoran society. One team focused on the "chicken-and-egg" situation present in El Salvador in regards to the economy and gang violence. The dilemma was that the lack of income encourages youth to join gangs for quick money, yet increased gang violence hinder any investments that can spur on the nation's economy. Another team presented an interesting court case between the Coca Cola Company and representatives of child laborers. This skit revealed the harsh reality of how child laborers are being hired by local companies, whose patron is Coca Cola, and suffer from unfair, dangerous working conditions. Coca Cola has yet to be held responsible. The third team acted in a hilarious game show hosted by Caesar Flickerman (a.k.a our very own communications director, David Dickinson). Caesar Flickerman interviewed a woman named Daisy, who has successfully secured a job that allowed her to provide income alongside her husband. Last but not least, one team performed a very artistic representation of how a teacher in El Salvador teaches her students: fun, creative yet informative ways.

The night ended with our staff being divided into four "houses" (a system similar to the one found in Harry Potter). Named after a famous figure in public health, each team drew an emblem to represent themselves. We are hoping that our members will find a closer knit of people inside the club as all of us try to earn points for our house during ghU and more!

It was, all in all, a very enjoyable evening. We look forward to GlobeMed's Halloween party this friday and the many more events to come.

Also, congratulations to Ricky Choi for being selected to be this year's GROW coordinator!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Color Wars

Hi all!

We had a fantastic turnout for Color Wars this semester; pictures are below and on our Facebook page!

Thanks to your support, we raised $180 for our partner at this event. Look out for another one in the spring!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Early ghU Reflections

For our first meetings this year, we’ve moved the Global Health U presentations and reflections to the beginning of the meeting and started the discussions online. These have been really engaging so far, so thanks to staff members old and new for their interest!

So far we’ve thought about service organization models, the ebola crisis, and personal fitness. We started with members sharing their experiences in other organizations like GlobeMed, comparing what we like about each model and how each can perform better. Hopefully we’ll keep this in mind all year! Feel free to comment or speak up at a meeting whenever you see room for improvement.

Obviously, the ebola crisis has a lot of relevance to our club interests. Specifically, we have looked at the cultural effects of ebola, which we examined through the lens of the pop song NPR has reported on: http://www.npr.org/blogs/goatsandsoda/2014/08/19/341412011/shadow-and-d-12-sing-an-infectious-song-about-ebola. This will be important to keep in mind as we explore public health issues; cultural considerations need to made along with statistical or biological ones as policy is shaped.

Thanks for the interest so far! We’re looking forward to a great year of productive dialogue. Keep thinking critically and keep contributing!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Thoughts on Summit

Last week, we got to hear from our chapter members who went to the GlobeMed Global Health Summit at Northwestern. Here's their presentation and a few thoughts:


_focus on building a sustainable program that will be able to be sustained after we leave our partnership
_work on getting high schoolers involved in our initiative`` become a bigger organization

- One of my biggest takeaways was really being able to get a sense of how expansive and supportive the GlobeMed community is. It was amazing to be in a room of over 300 people who are passionate about global health and are working to make a change in the world. There was really a sense of community and family in a room full of strangers, which was such a surreal experience.
- Each of the panelists and the speakers brought something different to the table, a different way of viewing and approaching global health inequality. The importance of collaboration and investing in people was really emphasized - that building a network of people to allow for the exchange of ideas and provide support for NGO’s, grassroots organizations, and individuals is crucial to continue to make strides towards global health equality. This really connects with what we do with our partner organization in El Salvador. Even though fundraising for workshops to teach skills to the community is not as “sexy” as building a school or a medical center, it can make a more long-lasting and sustainable impact. 

The 2014 GlobeMed Summit reaffirmed my commitment to GlobeMed's mission. Part of GlobeMed's official approach is to create "a generation of young people equipped to transform the world." At Summit you can see this idea come to fruition. In small group discussions with collaborative GlobeMed members from around the nation we discussed solutions to the problems other members were facing on their respective campuses. I was also inspired by how many panelists gave us useful information and tangible goals that they challenged us to achieve. For example, during a panel on global health education inequalities, Tomás Magaña, founder of FACES for the Future Coalition, challenged GlobeMed students to be a mentor to younger people and educate them about the importance of global health equity and social justice. Also, the keynote speaker Dr. Prabjhot Singh challenged us to speak our "big ideas" aloud. These calls to action really challenged me to think about my values, goals and "big ideas." Overall, interactions with panelists, speakers and other GlobeMed members made the 2014 GlobeMed Summit and inspirational event that I will always remember.