Week by week

Monday, October 25, 2010

Bernard J. Turnock, MD MPH, guest lectured

Week Ending 10/22/2010
                This week, Bernard J. Turnock, MD MPH,  guest lectured on his experiences working in various public health departments.  It was fascinating to hear of his experiences and all the forces at play while he was Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health. (http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/cdph.html/).  Wednesday I attended the Chicago Board of Health and heard about the different projects they are overseeing including smoke-free housing and teen pregnancy, as well as a presentation on breast cancer disparities amongst women in Chicago.  We also had our second Epi midterm this week.  I think the test went fine but it really made me feel like the semester is coming to an end so quickly! 
This week in my global health class, we discussed women and maternal health.  The presentations were interesting- discussing fistulas, forced sterilization, and adolescent marriages.  When thinking of issues in the global context it is interesting to think of the recurring themes of many of the same issues facing different health problems- education, access, financial, research, etc.  We have also been working on a variety of group projects for different classes- it is fun to combine the ideas of many and I think it has been made so much easier with easy access to technology.

Friday, October 22, 2010

I am excited to start transcribing my interviews and start analyzing the data.

Week Ending 10/15/10
                I met with my UIC mentor, Dr. Nadine Peacock,  this week and we devised a strategy for the first steps of my data analysis.  She was so encouraging about what I was able to get done in Ghana even though it is a small project.  I am excited to start transcribing my interviews and start analyzing.  It is also a good experience working with qualitative data, since most of my work in research has previously been done with quantitative data.
                My CHSC course was cancelled for the week, so I just worked on some online assignments and surveys.  In epidemiology we have an exam next week so I am finishing up the assignment for this week and preparing for the exam.  In my global health course, we discussed men’s health.  It was really interesting because there has been a lot of focus on women’s health and there is even a concentration offered in it at UIC, but men’s health has been relatively neglected.

Friday, October 8, 2010

we discussed the global burden of non-communicable diseases

Week Ending 10/8/10
                I got back to the US this week and have been exhausted!  I made it back in time to make all of my classes this week.  Turns out there were some unforeseen make-up assignments for my week away, but I am now all caught up.  It was really interesting that this week in my global health class we discussed the global burden of non-communicable diseases, which results in a double burden for many developing countries.  This was especially interesting after my trip, where I was able to see how much chronic diseases affect those in developing countries- especially diabetes, hypertension, and mental conditions.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Five days providing medical care in Ghana

Week Ending 10/1/10
                This week has been intense.  We worked 4 days at the hospital seeing over 200 people and fit more than 75 hearing aids.  Yesterday we went to a village instead of working at the hospital.  It was difficult to travel there (no good roads) and once we were there over 600 people came to see us.  This village has no running water or electricity so our services were limited.  As part of the ear team we screened everyone for infections or bugs we could remove from their ears- whereas at the hospital we could also do ear washes, hearing tests, and fit those eligible for custom hearing aids.  

                 Here are some links you might be interested in: 

Anidaso Health is the organization I went to Ghana with:  http://www.anidasohealth.org/Anidaso_Health/Akwaaba_(Welcome).html
The Slaormey Volunteers Group (SVG) is the organization that coordinated everything in Africa: http://www.svgafrica.org/

The Starkey Hearing Foundation is where we get the hearing aids from at affordable prices for global missions.  http://www.starkeyhearingfoundation.org/

Here is a Flickr site with photos of the 2010 Ghana mission:  Anidaso Health is the organization
                The medical team did a lot of work this week as well, focusing a lot on diabetes and hypertension screenings.  Although many associate developing countries with infectious disease, chronic disease is an important part of the disease burden experienced there. 
I leave for the US in the morning and expect it to be a long but uneventful trip home, just as it was coming here.  I am looking forward to seeing my family and have to get back to work on my project and school assignments, but I wish I was able to stay longer.  There is way more need than a 5 day trip can provide.

Friday, September 24, 2010

I leave in the morning for Ghana

Week Ending 9/24/10
                I leave in the morning for Ghana, so this week has been full of packing and extra class work.  We had our first exam this week in epidemiology and despite the tech difficulties, the exam went well.  Once that was over, I had to start working on my assignments that are due when I am gone because I won’t have internet access overseas.  It was a little difficult working ahead, but I think things went well and I am glad that they are done so I won’t have to worry about catching up on too much when I return. Also, I received my IRB approval today- just in time!  I am feeling a little anxious about the trip and feel like I still have a million things to do to prepare so please excuse how short this entry is- my mind is all over the place.

Friday, September 17, 2010

I completed and submitted my IRB application for my project in Ghana.

Week Ending 9/17/10
                This week has been so busy!  I completed and submitted my IRB application for my project in Ghana.  I have never been part of a research project at this stage so it was a great experience and a chance to learn something new about the research process.  As part of this, I completed the online training modules to be eligible through IRB to conduct research.  This is done to try to educate people about the research process, ethics, and ensuring confidentiality.  I feel fortunate to have the support and advice of so many people.
                My classes this week have focused on health inequity.  One class focused more on health in the United States and interventions there, while this week my global health class focused on the neglected tropical diseases.  It was interesting because although education is important and a large focus of public health interventions, it is not always sustainable or the most effective.  Success often comes when interventions also provide a means to change the situation.  One example is how New York City required screens on homes in windows along with parental education that resulted in a 96% decrease in window falls.  Many of the interventions for the neglected tropical diseases include sanitation and clean water.  It is not enough to educate villages on the importance of this if they do not have the means to provide it.  It is so interesting to learn of the ways people have made large scale impacts through different interventions as opposed to learning how to help an individual.
                This week was also insightful because I learned of all the research that has to go into monitoring, measuring, and delivering interventions.  Many places do not have accurate reporting of diseases and death making it difficult to always determine need.  Additionally, research has to be done to develop methods on how to survey geographic areas to most cost effectively determine incidence of diseases to be able to deliver the proper amount of medications or other procedures.  Also, interventions can be integrated to more cost effectively deliver services to address multiple health issues at once.  There are so many aspects that go into developing good public health interventions and policies as well as how to innovate them.

Friday, September 10, 2010

After my third week at UIC, I am really feeling comfortable

Week Ending 9/10/10
                After my third week at UIC, I am really feeling comfortable there and with all of my classes.  I am not as shy about participating or anxious as to what is expected.  There really is an environment of cooperative learning and respect of all the different experiences that shape everyone’s opinions.   I have spent this week mainly focused on my classes.   This week in my global health class we discussed the relationship between health and economics.  One aspect of this discussion was about how much money goes into many different interventions that haven’t been able to be sustained in many areas that need the most development.  It also brought up how some policies and interventions may actually inhibit growth, development, and self-sufficiency.  It is so important to remember that good intentions don’t always translate into good results and what works some places may not be beneficial everywhere.
 One of the difficulties I find with my classes is the online epidemiology class.  I am realizing that I really value a traditional lecture setting.  I find listening to a person lecture about a topic and watching them work through problems step by step goes well with my style of learning so I have to adapt to the online learning experience and work a little harder to learn the material. 
                  As far as my project on my trip to Ghana goes, I began working on the interview questions so that I can apply for IRB approval next week through National.   The audiology team (on which I am working primarily) met this week to begin to divide supplies for packing, learn new testing techniques, refresh skills for making ear molds, and make lists of things we still need.