global

Tips for Getting the Most Out of Field Visits

By Alanna Shaikh Flickr | ILRI Here’s how to get the most out of your field visits: 1) Don’t call them missions. That’s just offensive. It’s a field visit, a site visit, or a trip out to see your programs. Unless you are trying to convert people to the one true faith of your choice, it’s not a mission. Calling it one implies that you’re heading out there to teach the locals what’s what. You are heading out there so the locals can teach you. Don’t forget it. 2) Always keep this in mind: your two primary goals in any trip are to learn more about your programs, and more about the context they operate in. You may have specific tasks to achieve on your trip, but if you fail at those your trip still has value as long as you learn. Flickr | highersights 3) Listen. Talk to people. Talk to your staff. Talk to your beneficiaries. Talk to government officials and community leaders, and taxi drivers. It doesn’t take probing questions, or special insight on your part, just a willingness to sit down and hear what people have to say. Pack your schedule with as many meetings as you can humanly stand. By listening, you learn how your project and organization is perceived, what your community thinks of you, and what your own staff is thinking. You...

What’s in a Name: Consequences of Haphazard Disease Naming

In 2009, Egypt wiped out its entire pig population in response to the fear of swine flu alone, as the disease hadn’t affected anyone in the country yet. In the following months after the major ecosystem disruption evidenced by hazardous trash accumulation in the streets (formerly consumed by the pigs), severe economic consequences, and the newfound presence of swine flu in the country, Egypt acknowledged the misguided move, but the damage was already done.     Another case, which illustrates the lasting effects of such haphazard naming, is the fate of Old Lyme, Connecticut, the namesake of the tick-borne disease, which is still suffering the repercussions of the disease first discovered in children there in the 1970s, as the New York Times explains. The accumulation of various unnecessary misunderstandings with drastic consequences around the world has sparked a new initiative by the World Health Organization to combat unintended negative and often destructive impacts towards populations, communities, and economic sectors.   As of May 8th, the WHO announced a new set of guidelines for naming infectious diseases in light of recent epidemics with strongly stigmatized names. According to Dr. Keiji Fukuda, the assistant director-general for Health Security, WHO, while this may seem like a trivial issue, “we’ve seen certain disease names provoke a backlash against members of particular religious or ethnic communities, create unjustified barriers to travel, commerce and trade, and...

TED Talks For Food Lovers #10: What’s Wrong With What We Eat

There’s no better way to bring it all home with a talk that reviews some of the basic facts behind what we eat, why it’s bad, and the need to change. TED speaker Mark Bittman brings his wealth of knowledge from years of experience as a New York Times food writer, pointing to the necessary changes that need to be implemented in order to save human society from itself.     Diet and health are highly interdependent. The food people eat over the course of a lifetime often plays a huge role in determining many of the ailments they incur. Referring to some recent exploration into the field of microbiomics, the large quantity and variety of bacteria in our body may likewise be acutely as well as chronically transforming due to the food we eat and the changes we make to our diets. Lastly, for aspiring medical personnel, quick food sources such as cold pizzas, Chipotle veggie bowls, and espresso shots often make up our daily sustenance. What effect do these have on our health?   Over the course of the next several articles, I would like to take you all on a run through some of the most interesting TED talks on food, some quite interesting and others downright genius. As you watch these videos, reflect on the close ties between nutrition and medicine, and what we can...

TED Talks For Food Lovers #8: Teach Every Child About Food

Ignorance is one of the first concerns in encountering a global issue. According to the TED prize winner Jamie Oliver, obesity needs to be targeted with this very angle in mind, going even further by incorporating childhood learning and understanding in order to help prevent the issue from precipitating in the first place.     Diet and health are highly interdependent. The food people eat over the course of a lifetime often plays a huge role in determining many of the ailments they incur. Referring to some recent exploration into the field of microbiomics, the large quantity and variety of bacteria in our body may likewise be acutely as well as chronically transforming due to the food we eat and the changes we make to our diets. Lastly, for aspiring medical personnel, quick food sources such as cold pizzas, Chipotle veggie bowls, and espresso shots often make up our daily sustenance. What effect do these have on our health?   Over the course of the next several articles, I would like to take you all on a run through some of the most interesting TED talks on food, some quite interesting and others downright genius. As you watch these videos, reflect on the close ties between nutrition and medicine, and what we can due as future clinicians to best counsel our patients in the face of changing food consumption...

TED Talks For Food Lovers #3: Aquaculture

Well, I promised you something offbeat, so here it is. In this TED Talk by Chef Dan Barber, listen to his discovery of a delicious fish that he could bring and keep on the menu for those salivating mouths, incorporating the novelty of a revolutionary farming method in Spain. In the future, this new aquaculture could give us a sustainable way to keep fish in our diets, as well as our future patients’ diets.     Diet and health are highly interdependent. The food people eat over the course of a lifetime often plays a huge role in determining many of the ailments they incur. Referring to some recent exploration into the field of microbiomics, the large quantity and variety of bacteria in our body may likewise be acutely as well as chronically transforming due to the food we eat and the changes we make to our diets. Lastly, for aspiring medical personnel, quick food sources such as cold pizzas, Chipotle veggie bowls, and espresso shots often make up our daily sustenance. What effect do these have on our health?   Over the course of the next several articles, I would like to take you all on a run through some of the most interesting TED talks on food, some quite interesting and others downright genius. As you watch these videos, reflect on the close ties between nutrition and...

Healthcare Around The World #10: Brazil

Finally, we end our series of healthcare around the world with Brazil. Though I can’t believe the summer Olympics have already come and gone, I remember leading up to the event there was a lot of controversy surrounding how the country’s healthcare system would be able to support a huge influx of people from all over the world. After the fact, it seems that there was no problem. How exactly did they handle it? Still, that doesn’t mean the system is perfect.     To at least some degree, we are all aware of the dynamics around healthcare in the United States, centering around the struggles to make services affordable, ensuring equal access to care, and juggling the politics of party-line views between private and federally-sponsored healthcare (with everything along the middle of that spectrum). But how do other countries around the world offer healthcare to its people? Can their models provide us with some insight into how to modify our system to make it better?   Over the course of the next several articles, we will be viewing some interesting clips on the general model of healthcare in select countries across the globe. While this sampling is in no way representative of all possible models out there, it undoubtedly provides us with intriguing information to ponder.   Also, a disclaimer before we start. Some of the videos may...

Healthcare Around The World #9: Ethiopia

Transitioning from countries such as the United States, England, and France, developing countries such as Ethiopia carry a whole new set of challenges. The conversation shifts from long-term sustainability to establishing a system that can have the right resources and allow people equal access. Considering the relatively low standard of living across of country, Ethiopians require care that is highly affordable. As shown in this video, several steps need to be taken in order to even start to overcome the struggle against healthcare challenges.     To at least some degree, we are all aware of the dynamics around healthcare in the United States, centering around the struggles to make services affordable, ensuring equal access to care, and juggling the politics of party-line views between private and federally-sponsored healthcare (with everything along the middle of that spectrum). But how do other countries around the world offer healthcare to its people? Can their models provide us with some insight into how to modify our system to make it better?   Over the course of the next several articles, we will be viewing some interesting clips on the general model of healthcare in select countries across the globe. While this sampling is in no way representative of all possible models out there, it undoubtedly provides us with intriguing information to ponder.   Also, a disclaimer before we start. Some of the...