Harveen Sekhon is a second year student and Pre-Human Biology and Society major. She is from the Bay Area and is the Grow Coordinator at GlobeMed at UCLA. She has recently discovered a new love for the banana cream pudding from Magnolia Bakery in Chicago!
This past weekend, I had the amazing opportunity to attend GROW institute along with other GROW interns from different chapters across the United States.
During the institute, one of the major themes was “Why GROW?” and the power of partnerships.
GROW offers the opportunity to truly listen and collaborate with our partner, the MPOMA Community HIV/AIDS Initiative. Research articles and secondary communication have their limits; however, GROW seeks to bridge this gap by allowing interns to completely immerse themselves with the partner community that they have built a relationship with over the past few years. It is this immersive experience that truly allows for an opportunity to understand a community’s problems and to gauge the impact of our current projects. More so, GROW allows for the chance to create community based change; It is an opportunity to transform our partnerships and encourage communities to create change themselves.
However, more than this, GROW is an essential component of the GlobeMed partnership model. Partnerships offer a unique opportunity to create sustainable change. Unlike a typical donor-recipient model, GlobeMed’s partnership model allows for critical conversation between the equal partners. In this way, we are able to help the partner community work on issues that they are actually affected by, rather than a donor deciding what issue he or she would like to fund. It is through this identification and understanding of the needs of the community that we can begin to create change. In the words of Paul Farmer, “As you seek to imagine or re-imagine solutions to the greatest problems of our time, harness the power of partnership.”