WOW! It’s been a busy, fantastic quarter. Our new members have proven to be everything we dreamed of and more, and all of our events have been great! We’re making more improvements as we get to 2013 but there’s no doubt about how amazing GlobeMed at UCLA has been. We’ve got some exciting things next quarter planned (which we’ll get to in another post) but to wrap up this quarter we’ve got our Director of Community Building, Juliette writing about how excited she is for things to come. Juliette is a third year psychobiology student, hailing from Telluride, Colorado. She’s a great contributor to our chapter, but we’ll let you read on to show you just how amazing she is and will be! Check it out!
I truly cannot express how extremely excited, nervous, eager, and grateful I am to be a member of our newly established GROW team! I know that it will change me in so many powerful ways and I cannot wait to spend a full six weeks delving deeper into our partnership with the Nwoya Youth Center. The returning GROW team has done an excellent job of connecting the entire chapter to our partner and I hope to do the same following my time there. I am strong believer in the power of GlobeMed’s model of partnership to bring about sustainable change. The GROW internship is truly what bridges the gap between what we do here at UCLA and what the Nwoya Youth Center does on the ground in Anaka. Being able to experience firsthand what the Youth Center is doing on a day to day basis allows us to better understand what we should focus on throughout the year as well as how to increase the efficiency of our partner organization.
Not only am I eager to learn more about the Nwoya Youth Center and observe its impact in the region, I am also quite interested in assessing the prevalence of and treatment available for those affected with HIV/AIDS. Some fellow GlobeMedders and I attended a fantastic seminar that assessed the effectiveness of international institutions’ fight to end the HIV/AIDS pandemic. The speaker, Ambassador Stephen Lewis, was one of the most enthusiastic humanitarians I have ever come in contact with. His vivid vocabulary, exuberant body language, and overarching tone of passionate commitment to Human Rights were quite entertaining to say the least. Ambassador Lewis presented us with some frightening facts regarding the current status of the disease. 1) There were 2.5 million cases diagnosed in the last year, yet only 1.4 million were put in treatment. 2) There are currently 34 million people living with the disease yet only 8 million are receiving treatment. Last but not least, 3) in the US, patients with a CD4 count of 500 are put on antiretroviral therapy, while patients in Africa are not treated until their CD4 count drops to 350. This discrepancy poses many moral questions regarding the standards we set for ourselves and for others. How can we believe that one human life is more worth saving than another? Ambassador Lewis concluded that there is still much to be done before we can even fathom an AIDS free world, and I hope that I will be able to gain more insight into this insanely complex issue.
GlobeMed has truly transformed my entire perspective on the world. Regarding the fight for global health equity, I often feel insignificant and powerless in such a complicated and confusing reality. What GlobeMed has given me is hope, hope that someday we will be able to stop treating diseases we can prevent because they will be eradicated, everyone will have the opportunity to lead a healthy, productive life, and most of all that Human Rights violations with be a frightening nightmare of the past. At times I must remind myself that I cannot place the weight of the world on my own two shoulders, and GlobeMed has helped me to do so through it’s focus on sustainable partnerships that work from the bottom up. I am so happy to be a part of such an amazing group of intelligent, like-minded, and most of all passionate individuals that share my belief in, and hope for a better world.