Monday, February 6, 2017

Healthcare Today

GlobeMed is off to another great semester this year! We are very excited about our new partnership with the Imidido Project in Rwanda, but other things are changing in our world. With the country ushering in a new presidency, many parts of healthcare will and already have changed. President Trump has made many promises of healthcare reform, and with the partial rolling back of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), we are hopeful he will fulfill his promises. In addition, he has already instituted a global gag rule for all NGOs, preventing them from even mentioning abortion. He also plans to scale back federal funding for abortion. As a public health organization, GlobeMed is closely watching how public policies change, and we hope they change for the best! Thanks for another great meeting!
GM Love <3

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Amherst GlobeMed/Ten Thousand Villages Shopping Event

Hello all,
We have some exciting news. GlobeMed at Amherst will be partnering with Ten Thousand Villages - Boston!
Ten Thousand Villages is an exceptional source for unique handmade gifts, jewelry, home decor, art and sculpture, textiles, serveware and personal accessories representing the diverse cultures of artisans in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East. The company strives to improve the livelihood of tens of thousands of disadvantaged artisans in 38 countries by establishing a sustainable market for handmade products in North America, and building long term buying relationships in places where skilled artisan partners lack opportunities for stable income.
The missions of GlobeMed and Ten Thousand Villages really align because we are both interested in supporting economically disadvantaged people use their skills to promote sustainable development.
On Saturday, April 30 from 2-6 PM, their Boston location will be hosting a shopping event, and 10% of the proceeds will go to GlobeMed!
We know that it may be difficult for many of you to get to Boston, but we would really appreciate it if you let your professors, friends, and family in the Boston area know about this awesome event!
More information about the event can be found here, on the event page.
Here is a link to their website and Facebook page if you are interested in learning more about their mission.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Issues of dirty water and alcohol

Hello GlobeMedders!  

For the past couple of weeks, the members of GlobeMed have been grappling with major current issues and brainstorming possible solutions.

The first issue brought to our attention by ghU was the Flint Water Crisis.  If you haven't heard, the water in Flint, Michigan is contaminated with lead, creating a serious health risk.  Residents of Flint have been given water filters and bottled water for the time being while possible solutions for the water crisis are being sorted.  Unfortunately, a video by a Flint resident shows that the water filters given to them did not properly filter the water whereas a more expensive Brita filter was able to filter the water.  With this, and other facts, in mind, GlobeMedders brainstormed on possible short-term and long-term solutions for the crisis.  Ultimately, it became clear to all of us that the best way to provide clean water for every Flint citizen is to replace all of the pipes, which sadly requires lots of time and money.

Another issue brought up by ghU was a recent announcement by the CDC regarding women and alcohol.  In short, the announcement recommends that women of child-bearing age who are not taking birth control should reduce their intake of alcohol as it can cause complications for the fetus if pregnancy were to occur.  The announcement is shown below.  Please note that this is the edited version that the CDC released after receiving criticism on its initial version.

While the facts are true and backed up by extensive studies, the method of presenting the facts caused controversy among the public.  As an exercise, GlobeMedders were asked to split into two groups and assigned a side to argue for: in defense of the CDC or of the public.  What do you think of this announcement?  We'd love to hear your input on both the Flint Water Crisis and this CDC announcement!

As for announcements, GlobeMed will be hosting one of our biggest events of the year: Date Auction!  This event will be taking place on February 27th and we'd love for you to join us.  Date Auction has received lots of controversy regarding its name in the past years, with many students misunderstanding the event.  To make things clear, we will be posting an upcoming blog with more details on Date Auction so stay tuned!  As always, funds raised from Date Auction will go towards helping Pastoral de la Salud.  Make a date.  Make a friend.  Make a difference.

See you next week!


Monday, February 1, 2016

New Threats: The Zika Virus

Hey guys!
      GlobeMed is back with a buzz! As you may have heard, the Zika virus has been creating quite a stir in the public health world lately, and today at GlobeMed, that was the topic of our discussion. Although the Zika virus has been around for over 50 years, only recently has it been gaining attention. In the past year, the virus has migrated to the Western hemisphere, particularly Latin American countries like Brazil and El Salvador. Originally, this virus was assumed to be relatively mild because people would experience slight or even no symptoms. However, there have been recent findings that indicate that strong correlations exist between the infection of the Zika virus and birthrates of babies diagnosed with microcephaly. In layman's terms, microcephaly is when a baby is born with a smaller head, and the effects can range from completely inconsequential to severe mental defects such as not being able to talk or walk. Women in the first or second trimester are particularly susceptible to having babies with these effects, and they are being advised not to travel to infected regions. 

Our partner country El Salvador has taken precautions one step further and advised women not to get pregnant until 2018. In this heavily Roman Catholic region, abortion is stringently illegal, and birth control is advocated against, so abstinence seems to be the viable option. However, in giving such a directive, problems will invariably arise, one of the most prominent being that little to no information has been given to the civilians about why it is important to avoid pregnancy. There is a general lack of information about the Zika virus. Only recently has any significant research been done to understand the effects of this pathogen. In fact, just today, the World Health Organization declared the Zika virus a global emergency which should increase funds toward research.

As studies continues, the most immediate solution of stopping the spread of the virus is killing its vector: the mosquito. Governments have initiated mass gassings of mosquitos, but it will be near impossible to eradicate the problem. Unfortunately, the regions affected seem to be those least equipped to deal with health issues: those countries that lack sufficient infrastructure and resources. As scientists scramble for a vaccine, we must continue our efforts to be more informed and support the affected countries in any way we can. 

Until next week,
GM <3

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

10 Days of Global Health

Hey guys!
          These past few days, GlobeMed has been involved with other organizations in promoting awareness about public health through our ongoing campaign, 10 Days of Global Health. The World AIDS Day Benefit Dinner last week was a great success as we learned more about the challenges people face in understanding this disease in the context of their culture and sexuality. Our keynote speaker was Professor Suzanne Leclerc-Madlala, a renowned anthropologist who studies culture, sexuality, and HIV in Africa. She has also helped develop several HIV policies in South Africa.
          On Wednesday, we had our This I Believe event. This was based on an NPR program where listeners were encouraged to speak about their beliefs and respect those of others. At our event in the Powerhouse, people shared what they want to see from the world. We also participated in fun jewelry-making at this event and ate some awesome pizza.

        Our last and upcoming event is the Human Rights Day Dinner on Friday in the Friedmann room at 6 pm. Come to hear faculty members talk about their beliefs and experiences on human rights and discuss what human rights means to us. There will also be awesome food from Pasta E Basta and tearolls from Fresh Side!! It will be a fun way to explore the challenges of human rights with great company.

         Also, remember to buy your ugly holiday sweaters from Keefe this week. We have a great selection to supply all your festive needs. Thanks so much for supporting all of our events.  We hope you learned a lot about issues of global health!

Until next time,
GM <3

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