I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to listen to a panel of three truly inspirational men speak at Tufts yesterday. Peter Luckow, Mark Arnoldy, and Jon Schaffer, all former GlobeMedders, spoke with such eloquence and passion about what got them interested and keeps them interested in global health, how to remain involved in public health after college or GlobeMed, and their view on the way HIV/AIDS is currently being dealt with.
As a new member, relatively uninformed and ininspired, the panel was truly eye-opening. Peter spoke about a “catastrophic lack of imagination” in battling HIV/AIDS, giving the example of Liberians in rural areas dying of AIDS while the treatment they needed was sitting in warehouses in the capitol. Apparently there were no doctors present in these areas to administer the treatment. Mark Arnoldy told us about his health problems as a child, admitting that were it not for the vast resources available to him and his family, he wouldn’t physically be the person he is today. More recently, while in Nepal during a national strike, Mark almost died from a peanut allergy. Throughout their still young careers, events like these have made Peter, Mark, and Jon, not only aware of some of the injustices in public health, but also frustrated, indignant, and truly inspired to try to make a change. They were all alluding to the fact that this sort of passion is what it takes to have a meaningful career in public health, and the only way to develop this passion was to learn, internalize, and then to experience first hand. Their inspiration was contagious. Listening to their stories and thoughts, I couldn’t help but feel what they felt, and neither could the other members of GlobeMed at Amherst who came. After the panel, we all stood in a circle and eagerly bounced around ideas, thoughts, plans for the future. It was really exciting!
Looking back at our most recent individual giving campaign, I asked ten friends and relatives for donations with “heartfelt” e-mails, then patted myself on the back as if my job here was done. I didn’t feel any sense of urgency. Coming to the panel taught me a little more about the injustice in access to health faced by so much of the world, and the scale of the work yet to be done. It also showed me what it takes, and what it looks like to dedicate a part ourselves to our cause. I would recommend anybody who hasn’t been to any conferences, panels, or even skyped with Mercedes, to do so at least once. It has the potential to change the way you think about GlobeMed and what it does. Once again, thanks to Mark, Jon, and Peter for an inspiring night.