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Week by week

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. 

Friday, September 3, 2010

Classes are in full swing now! -- week ending 09/03/2010

Week Ending 9/3/10

                Classes are in full swing now!  We have had many assignments, quizzes, and been assigned our groups.  I am enjoying classes because everyone is from such different backgrounds that every discussion has many perspectives - I am learning new things constantly.  I am excited for the group projects to begin so I can get to know some of the other students better and learn from them as well.  Also, many seminars are starting to be announced and I hope to attend some of those in future weeks.
                I have began the literature search for my project (global health knowledge, attitudes and practice towards complementary and alternative medicine and chiropractic – click here to see a basic PubMed search on the topic),  but feel there is so much more information to find and read.  Additionally, I have been reading on qualitative methods to best learn how to conduct my project and how I can begin to analyze the data when I return from my trip.  My mentor, Dr. Nadine Peacock, and I were not able to meet this week, but I am continuing with the plan we devised last session and hopefully will be able to move forward next week.