Dr. Htin Zaw leads a CHOP session.
Dear GlobeMed at University of Cincinnati supporters,
First, I hope this letter finds you all happy and healthy in the new year. This new semester has brought many exciting developments for GlobeMed at UC, the most notable of which is the successful completion of our first GrassRoots On-site Work (GROW) internship in Mae Sot, Thailand. Six of our Executive Board members (Julia Tasset, co-president, Stephanie Lux, co-president, Radhika Teli, Director of Communications, Zef Vesel, GlobalhealthU (GhU) Coordinator, Jarred Campbell, GROW Coordinator, and Erin Slater, GROW Coordinator) traveled to the Thai-Burmese border and worked with our partner, Social Action for Women (SAW), for the three week period of winter break. While this life-changing experience cannot be summed up in one short letter, suffice it to say that each member left feeling inspired about the cause of social justice, better educated about global disparities, and more confident in our partnership with SAW. For more reflections and photos from our trip, please visit our blog at www.globemedatcincinnatigrow.tumblr.com.
While in Mae Sot, we were able to witness one of the workshops from the Community Health Outreach Program Phase I (CHOP I), which we supported last year and is currently being implemented. Dr. Htin Zaw, former National League for Democracy leader and current staff physician for SAW, led a day-long educational workshop about general and reproductive health knowledge. Thirty adult men and women from ten target migrant communities in the very rural Phop Phra area were recruited to attend the workshop. Through our project coordinator, Ko Myo, who translated from Burmese into English for us, we were able to follow along with the questions being asked and the lessons being dispensed. Topics of discussion included: occupational safety, malaria, birth control, sexually transmitted infections, and respiratory infections. As college students who frequently witness our peers asleep or texting during class, we were impressed with the attention and enthusiasm of all the attendees.
Some of you may know that our former Project Coordinator and mastermind of the CHOP program, Ko Myo, has taken a new position and is no longer with SAW. Not to fear, our new contact people, Yi Yi Win and Dwin Lin Aung, have already participated in planning sessions with us for CHOP Phase II and are finishing the implementation of CHOP I. We were very impressed by their commitment to tailored, targeted health education that meets the needs of this vulnerable group. Most notably, during our first Skype call after our return to the United States, they expressed a need to present more in-depth lesson plans during CHOP sessions. They had just returned from a meeting with the leaders from each of the ten target migrant groups and learned about several areas which need more focus, including gender based violence (a workshop for this topic, which will reach 30 different community members, is now scheduled for the last week of February). This underscores the commitment of CHOP to serving the real needs of the community and being flexible to feedback. We are very proud to be working with an organization who is so responsive to and invested in their community.
Once again, we thank you for the support in this important work and your faith in students to make a tangible difference in the world of global health.
Yours in health,
Julia Tasset and Stephanie Lux
Co-presidents, GlobeMed at University of Cincinnati