Jon LaBrecque, "Almost" MSW, MPH

I am a dual degree student at Boston University’s social work and public health program. I am in my third year and getting ready to change the world.

Research Is Not Social Change

Research ≠ Social Action The shouting and tone of their voices sprung me from daydreaming. I looked up at them and they were still going talking. What were they so angry about?   There exists a very real and impactful barrier between healthcare providers and the community residents who we serve.  There are issues of power, class, race, history, and identity attached to what makes us as healthcare providers different from the people we serve, especially the poor.  The med school education, or possibly any college experience, may be something that significantly differentiates us from poor communities.  Hispanic college rates are 13%, Black college rates are 14%, while White college rates are 61%. These differences in education are meaningful and significantly affect the way we approach a problem and how that may be different than someone who has not received the same education or privileges as we have.  College changes the way we think. We learn new information and new theories about how the world operates that we would not otherwise have been exposed to. College wants this.  The social pressures which drive these differences in educational usage and attainment also affect how we view the world and its problems.   Every time, it’s just another hospital. It’s not fair to us.   But this difference does not on its own account for why they were angry.  These people...

I’m an International Public Health Social Worker…Seriously!

Say what now? No it really is a thing! I promise! It’s called international public health social work. It’s really important to know about. Well why? That’s a loaded question. It’s focused on prevention. But in a unique way and brings a set of skills which require thinking on a clinical and population level at the same time and being able to understand that empowerment is not simply a tag line you put into a grant application. It’s about understanding the importance of balancing process with outcomes. It’s focused on the social environment as a significant contributing factor to health statuses. After all, it is not an accident that African Americans tend to be at a higher risk of obesity, diabetes, violence, and lower birth weight. Mostly, it’s about being able to approach a problem from two different and valuable perspectives. Being an international public health social worker, or at least being in this field, requires me to have an elevator speech ready to go in order for someone to understand what I am doing and bringing to the table. A doctor is more or less universally understood, no matter if it is in a tent in a refugee camp in Kakuma, a health clinic in Lima, or the emergency room on Friday night at Boston Medical Center. We understand doctors and what they do – they diagnose and...