Month: April 2013

Opening Night: Summit 2013

The night began with a great dinner, and ended with an even more elaborate feast of discussion.

After gobbling some cheesy lasagna, it was time for the meaty part of the night. First up was the opening keynote speaker, Northwestern University President, Morton Schapiro. Next, we watched How to Survive a Plague, a documentary on AIDS activism in the US in the 80’s and 90’s. Finally, there was a panel discussion with Amirah Sequeira, the National Coordinator of the Student Global AIDS Campaign and Peter Staley, a founding member of the Treatment Action Group and leading subject of the preceeding documentary.

President Schapiro’s speech struck me as a particularly effective way to launch this year’s Summit. He spoke frankly about our generation’s power to enact change, and his generation’s failures in addressing fundamental global issues. Today’s American youth has been described as a generation of cynicism; we were children when planes struck the Twin Towers, barely boasting double-digit ages while the US began two wars in the Middle East, and teens when the worst economic recession since the 1930’s hit. Schapiro argued that our experience with these negative global and domestic issues transform us to act, but that we cannot act alone. The 300 of us Globemedders sitting there needed something to bring back to our chapters, to our schools, to our communities. We need data.

If we can tell people about global health issues in a way that incorporates the facts, the staggering numbers associated with epidemics and poverty the world over, that we would force people out of complacency. The numbers don’t lie, and I think as a chapter, Tufts has a lot to offer. We have data, we can get those numbers, and we can convince our chapter members and our fellow Tufts students to care, to feel connected, to get upset and take action.

Schapiro also spoke about what makes an effective leader in the world of development:

  1. Have empathy. Experience someone else’s perspective. Open yourself up to listening to the people you are trying to help.
  2. Have humility. Schapiro said one of his biggest regrets as a young economist years ago was have the hubris to tell government officials in African countries how to run things. It ended up hurting more than helping. We are not smarter, we are not better than those we are trying to help. “But for the grace of God,” as Schapiro put it, we are not in their place.
  3. Hold yourself accountable. This is where the data comes in. Have facts, have ways to monitor what you do, and if what you’re doing isn’t working, change. Prove that you are being a positive and effective agent.

Schapiro ended with a joke about the incompetency of his generation, and how his faith in youth relied on the fact that he knew we couldn’t mess up as badly. We all laughed, and in that room of 300, we all somehow felt the electricity of our potential. We will do more than ‘not mess up as badly’ as our predecessors.

Rachel Weinstock ’15

GlobeMed Presents: A Night for Light

ImageOn Saturday, April 6, Tufts students, parents, and professors joined the GlobeMed staff for a silent auction benefit night. The money raised through the silent auction will be going to our chapter’s partner, Nyaya Health. This organization will use this money, in addition to thefunds we have procured through various other campaigns throughout the year, to construct solar panels in Accham, Nepal.

Also in attendance was Mark Arnoldy, who is the current executive director of Nyaya Health. Drawing on his own firsthand experiences and interactions with the difficulties faced by those working to improve medical care in Nepal, he spoke to the necessity of incorporating the use of solar energy into the operations of Bayalpata Hospital. He described a situation in which the tenuous availability of electricity regularly endangers the lives of otherwise stable patients—a situation which is the reality for untellable number of Nepali patients.

The unfortunate realities of health care in Nepal were brought to the attention of everyone in attendance, but guests were also assured that their time, energy, and other such contributions were endlessly important and appreciated. As a chapter, we would like to extend our sincerest thanks to those who supported us, both for this event and previous events. If you are interested in Nyaya Health’s mission, you can learn more about the organization here:

A Dialog WIth Data: Pediatric ER Visits to Nyaya Health

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Earlier this month, Nyaya Health published a data brief that ranked the most frequent diagnosis in the Pediatric ER. For the third month in a row, Fall/Injury/Other Trauma was listed as the number one diagnosis for patients under 5 in the ER.

These statistics highlight the dire orthopedic need that exists in Achham. The people of Achham regularly navigate dangerous roads, mountainous terrain, and tall trees in the search for fire wood, all of which leaves them vulnerable to falls and broken bones. During Dr. Paul Farmers visit to Bayalpata he recounted a local doctor referring to Achham as the “the ortho capital of the world without the orthopedists.”

Bayalpata Hospital is equipped with an X-Ray machine, which is vital in accurately diagnosing fractures. Most clinics and hospitals in developing countries are not as lucky. According to Nyaya Health’s report published in Globalization and Health, nearly 70% of the X-Rays in developing country settings do not work.

In fact, securing X-Ray services for the people of Achham was a very difficult process of Nyaya Health. Nyaya faced challenges in acquiring the X-Ray machine every step of the way, from procurement and transportation, to maintenance and power supply. The challenges were overcome and for over two years the patients at Bayalpata are able to access radiology services that are essential in their treatment.

If you would like to read more about the X-Ray program , you can take a look at Nyaya Health’s Wiki page on the subject.

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