This week Co-Director of Communications, Mykenzie, shares her GlobeMed experiences and the pivotal moments that have shaped her view today– starting with her “aha” moment at Summit last year! Mykenzie is a third year and a passionate member of our chapter, and she brings to us insightful perspective on global health, but also an empathetic spirit that inspires our chapter. Next quarter Myks will be headed to Sweden to study abroad, and we will really miss her (y’all don’t even know what you’re missing)! Check out this blog post to learn a little more about her before she leaves us for a couple months… but before that, we have received some THRILLING news on the national level.
Dates have been announced for Summit 2013 and our chapter could not be more excited to attend (and to bring some west coast representation).
Spring of my sophomore year at UCLA I attended GlobeMed’s National Summit at Northwestern University. While there were some interesting twists and turns in the travel aspect of the trip, the experience ascended above and beyond anything I could ever have anticipated.
Prior to attending Summit I don’t think I fully understood GlobeMed, nor recognized the importance of the organization to my life. Not only is the organization innovative in the movement fighting for global health, but also the people within the network are some of the most passionate and inspiring people I have ever met.
Here is a little more on what I learned at Summit, and the reasons why I am a GlobeMedder for life:
GlobeMed is a student-run non-profit organization that partners with Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) around the world, working with them to improve the health of the people living in our partners’ communities. Our model of partnership is a dialogue between both parties, each contributing within their capacity, to problem solve the issues in their communities; all the while growing and learning from one another.
At the national level GlobeMed, to put it simply, is impressive. It’s a young organization, recently celebrating its fifth birthday. But it’s also young in the sense of the individuals running the organization, as everyone involved isn’t older than twenty-six years of age. GlobeMed is recognized by the leading global health organizations as a progressive and effective movement, that is not only changing the lives of people in our partner communities, but is also developing future leaders in all disciplines.
We as GlobeMed are catching leaders’ attentions. Dr. Tewodros Adhanom, the Ethiopian Minister of Health made a point to talk with us about his work, although he was more interested in ours. Pamela Barnes, the previous CEO and president of the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, came to speak with us at Summit. What she said I think you will find interesting: there is a list of all America’s leaders who have participated in the Peace Corps, and Pamela sees there being a similar list compiled in the next five to ten years, but based on leaders involved in GlobeMed!
Previously I have belittled the validity, significance, and impact GlobeMed has, partly due to my own ignorance, but now I see, GlobeMed is HUGE. Not in size, but in impact. As I have recently learned one of our mottos is always choosing quality over quantity. We work to make small but lasting changes, that step by step will accumulate to a transformed, healthy community.
How exactly does GlobeMed at UCLA fit into all this? We are one of fifty chapters nation wide. We partner with the Nwoya Youth Center in Anaka, located in the LRA war torn area of Northern Uganda. As a result of the war, the area is overflowing with disabled and HIV positive youth, The Nwoya Youth Center’s mission is to provide an outlet and a venue to learn about sexual health. By transforming and educating youth to de-stigmatize sexual health, it helps to create a population that will then give back and pass on the information they have learned to their community. It would never work to just throw condoms at people and tell them “be safe.” What is needed is a knowledge of why it’s important to care about being sexually responsible.
Last year our project was aimed at improving the dialogue between youth about sexual health and we are taking on six separate programs:
1) Boy/Girl Talk Outreach
2) Sexual Reproductive Health Outreach (SRH) to Schools
3) Sports and Games for SRH Programs
4) Condom Awareness Sessions
5) Outreach to persons with Disabilities (PWD) and Young Positives
6) Sanitary Pad Distribution
All of these are amazing programs, which you can learn more about by exploring our site.
Laura Parajon, the Medical Director for A Ministry of Sharing (AMOS), said as she spoke with a small group of us that an important aspect to being in a partnership is to always self reflect and analyze what you’ve learned and experienced:
For me in GlobeMed I used to get discouraged. I joined to make a difference in the world, but when I was putting in lots of work and not physically seeing the results or personally knowing those whom I’m working with to empower and liberate their communities from sickness and poverty, it can be challenging to maintain a sense of drive. At Summit, I was reminded I’m already making a difference by learning about social injustices around the world, being consciously aware of the atrocities many of
the world’s population live through on a daily basis, and by engaging in conversations in the hope that others can reach a level of awareness as well. I no longer am discouraged, I am one hundred percent dedicated to GlobeMed, and after the most recent GROW trip, our team did such a wonderful job of bringing the trip back here to Los Angeles and including the rest of the chapter in their experiences, that I now almost feel as if I was one of the members who traveled to Uganda. GlobeMed at UCLA is stronger than ever and is only getting better by the day!
The work GlobeMed does is transformational, but the lasting message of never being content with the world while corruption and injustices are present GlobeMed has left with me and 1,500 other college students so far, is what makes all the difference.
Laura Parajon also said, our lives need to be a reflection of what we believe. By being a part of GlobeMed at UCLA I am taking the first step towards living my life based on my belief in health equality and social justice. I hope you can find it in your hearts to embrace GlobeMed’s message, learn more about our organization, and support us in our efforts.