Natasha Mehta is a 3rd year Psychobiology and South Asian Studies double major. It is her first year involved in GlobeMed, and she is a member of the Communications team. Keep reading to hear about Natasha’s experience at Summit 2014!
I think its safe to say that everyone in our chapter LOVES and bleeds GlobeMed, at least every Thursday from 6-8. Now imagine the enthusiasm and passion from our chapter times six. The GlobeMed summit that took place last weekend brought me closer to some of the most inspiring students and activists I will ever meet, encouraged me to continue innovating for new solutions to the problems in global healthcare, and reaffirmed my desire to continue progressing the movement towards healthcare equity and social justice. The weekend was filled with thought-provoking and emotional lectures, panels and discussions; but three rules really stuck with me.
Dr. Prabjot Singh, the director of systems design at the Earth Institute and an Assistant Professor at Columbia gave the keynote lecture on Saturday afternoon. After he and his brother were beaten up and verbally abused by robbers in Central Park for the way he looked and dressed, he used his presence in the news to encourage compassion and understanding between cultures. He gave us three rules to follow: Invest in yourself. Invest in each other. Invest in big ideas.
I’ve heard this said to me in some way or another many times throughout my life, but here’s what I took away from this.
1. Investing in yourself means investing in experiences. Go out of your way every once in a while and put yourself in a situation that forces you to think and act in a way you wouldn’t normally. Dr. Singh believes this is the first step towards making us more compassionate and understanding of other people. My thoughts? Live a day without water to really experience what our friends in Uganda deal with on a daily basis.
2. Invest in each other; in our partnerships, the GlobeMed network and our friendships. Dr. Singh really stressed the idea of investing in people. Many organizations will fund resources that can be given to people without access to healthcare because material resources are more tangible. We’ve seen many times that a clinic will be established by nonprofit in another country and it will appear to be running exactly as planned, but the second we leave, the people running the clinic on their end do not have the training or skills to uphold the clinic and it becomes ineffective. Investing in people and forming friendships takes a more intangible effort, but the gains we receive from building a large community and directly teaching our partners how to sustain their progress after we leave are more important.
3. Investing in big ideas keeps us moving forward. Amirah, one of the activists who spoke on a panel, reminded us that none of us will singlehandedly change the world. But that shouldn’t stop each of us for pushing ourselves towards greater and bigger goals. Amirah and nine other people saved 1.5 billion dollars of funding for global medicine reform by themselves when the Obama administration wanted to cut it. If we keep thinking big and are motivated enough to work towards what we want, I believe the GlobeMed network will get us there.
At the beginning of Summit, I thought my role as a member of this chapter was to individually work towards raising awareness for our partner and fundraising for our project. As the weekend progressed, I saw myself fitting into a bigger movement of people and forming connections in our entire GlobeMed network. I am one of the billions of people who believe in equal access to healthcare, but what I learned from this weekend is that my voice and my fight is important. I hope that we can encourage others to use what Dr. Singh said as fire to keep us pushing for social justice, even at the lowest points.