Tag Archives: Bolivia

Beyond International Women’s Day

Women’s Empowerment Beyond International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day, also known as United Nations Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace was March 8th.  Child Family Health International (CFHI) firmly believes, however, that we must reflect more than once a year on women’s empowerment, progress made, and steps we can take as individuals and organizations to push this initiative forward.  In fact, front and center in CFHI’s tagline we highlight the importance of this as part of our everyday mission: Transformative Global Health Education and Community Empowerment.  This includes working towards UN Millennium Goal 3 – Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women.UN Millennium Goal 3 Photo

Just a few weeks ago, in partnership with CFHI, Winnie and James Chang of Palo Alto, California hosted an event celebrating the recent opening of The Center for Empowerment of Young Mothers (EMJ) in Bolivia. The Changs are spearheading fundraising and donations for this project based in Bolivia working to empower young mothers.

Bolivia is one of the poorest countries in Latin America and the education system is often underdeveloped. In addition, the rate of sexual violence is extremely high; 7 out of 10 female teenagers are assaulted.  Many of these young women become pregnant, some as young as 14 or 15.  To combat these issues and provide support to young mothers, the EMJ Center was created. It operates a facility in El Alto, Bolivia, staffed by doctors, nurses, administrators and volunteers and provides help to young women from all socio-economic backgrounds.  In South America, young mothers are often impoverished, socially isolated, and have little education. Understanding the importance of education and improving their self-esteem is key to mobilizing change. Because South American women are usually in charge of the family, they play a very important role in society. The EMJ Center in partnership with CFHI works through education and empowerment so these women will positively affect Bolivian society at large.

EMJ provides daycare services for more than 20 mothers, recreational activities for children and moms, and are launching a fair where mothers are able to sell crafts and handiwork they have created. Mothers at the center were interested in learning about family planning, so EMJ provides education on these issues as well as women’s rights and gender issues.

CFHI and the EMJ Center are physically far away from one other, yet they strive for the same goal – to empower women.

You can help this great cause and do your part to further United Nations MDG 3 and women’s empowerment by donating to support the EMJ Center.

Help support young mothers in Bolivia: http://www.emjcenter.org/donate/.

 

Thanks to guest bloggers Alexandria Tso and Nayanika Kapoor for contributing in part to this article.

CFHI’s Model for Global Health Electives Included in Oxford University Press Publication

Oxford Handbook on Neuroethics

Oxford Handbook on Neuroethics

“Global Health Ethics is once again in the forefront of discussion with the recently published Oxford Handbook of Neuroethics chapter emphasizing the relevance of biomedical, clinical and public health ethics within the global medical and academic community.  Child Family Health International’s (CFHI) Evaleen Jones M.D., Jessica Evert M.D., Scott Loeliger M.D., and Steven Schmidbauer co-authored the chapter on the importance of establishing and sustaining an ethical framework for educational global health programs.

With growing interest in Global Health Electives among the medical and academic community, there are genuine concerns regarding equity, justice, and sustainability within underserved communities.  CFHI’s chapter discusses global citizenship via a socially responsible framework to create positive global health educational experiences for students and host communities, connecting students with local health professionals and through direct investments in local community based projects.  ”

So reads the beginning of the Press Release for CFHI issued today.  Needless to say, we are all very proud and very happy to have this recognition especially from such a noted publisher as Oxford University Press.  The portion that CFHI contributed to this chapter on Global Health Ethics is an attempt to describe our model of working in underserved communities by identifying local experts and building on the inherent strengths of the communities.  We have seen over and over again low-resource settings where amazing things are being accomplished every day in patient care due to extremely dedicated local professionals.  We see their deep commitment to serving the people and we join together with the local health professionals to design Global Heath Education Programs that are open to international students and trainees.  You can read our submission here but I want to take this opportunity to thank all our international partners who have chosen to work with us to develop this model and make it successful for the last 20 years.  No partnership is one-sided and we are deeply indebted to all the local doctors and nurses, hospital and clinic staff, local coordinators, host families, language teachers, drivers and many others who make our international programs function so well, even in some very challenging circumstances.  Our hats are off to all members of the CFHI global family –you all share in this recognition!

Read the full CFHI Press Relase and Chapter.

New US Census Data Shows Diversity of US Population Increasing

We are approaching a new highpoint in the prevalence of US residents who were born outside the country.”  This is part of a message on the Director’s Blog of the US Census Bureau website that is aimed at the marketing industry, at advertisers of goods and services, but we at CFHI believe it is also important information for current and future health professionals.

While the Census Bureau is providing this new data, none of the basic trends of an increasingly diverse population for the United States should be a surprise to us.  Forward thinking health professionals and medical educators have seen the indications of these trends for many years.  Health science students (including medical students, nursing students, and public health students) have not waited for courses to be developed by the data that is now beginning to be analyzed, but have taken the initiative to seek out medical electives and rotations that would give them first-hand experience of different cultures and the different ways people view health around the world.

Source: US Census Bureau -Director's Blog

With some 6,000 alumni of CFHI Global Health Immersion Programs to date, we hear over and over again from them how their CFHI experience gave them insight into the role that culture plays in health and healthcare.  Tenny Lee, a 2010 CFHI Mexico alum, reports: “My experience in Mexico has given my medical career a foundation to help underserved communities and break though language and cultural barriers.”  You can read more about her CFHI experience  in her review posted on the website Great Nonprofits.  The ability to competently serve a more widely diverse patient population will clearly become the expectation for health professionals, as we can see from the wealth of information that the US Census Bureau is releasing.

One of the most important data points released so far is that the Hispanic population of the US now exceeds 50 Million, a 43% increase since the last census as reported by CNN.  And it is not just in border states in the south.  The CNN article quotes demographer Jeffrey Passel at the Pew Hispanic Center as saying, “Previously, the Hispanic population was concentrated in eight or nine states; it is now spread throughout the country.”

Medical schools, organizations, and institutions of higher learning have also recognized these trends, and CFHI has been happy to work with many of them to design specific programs.  The Patient Advocacy Program at the Stanford Medical School began a program abroad with CFHI in 2007.  The University of California at Davis has partnered with CHFI for over five years now to offer a Bi-National Health Quarter Abroad program for undergraduates in special arrangement with the Chicana/o Studies Department at UCD.  Both of these programs also make use of CFHI’s built-in Spanish Language and Medical Spanish Instruction.  Students are also living with host families so they are immersed into the culture during the program.  Guided journaling and weekly meetings help students reflect and integrate what they are learning from their daily interactions.  CFHI is also working with others, including Northwestern University, The Student National Medical Association (SNMA), -which you can read more about in an earlier posting–  and the Public Health Institute in association with the Global Health Fellows Program.  CFHI has been able to partner with each group and use our 20 years of experience working at the grassroots level in underserved communities abroad to design programs that meet specific learning objectives that are achieved in real life settings with the help of local health professionals who have the unique expertise of the local healthcare system and the best understanding of the local culture.

Jessica Brown, a 2010 CFHI Ecuador alum, pulls it all together in her reflection about her CFHI experience:

“… [I] learned a wealth of information about health that extended beyond the Reproductive realm.”  Jessica goes on to say, “I learned a lot about Ecuador’s healthcare system by discussing health care access, education, socioeconomic class and ethnic background with my mentors and preceptors. I learned about how religion, education and customary social/cultural schools of thought (i.e. machismo) weigh heavily on Ecuador’s society, and individual minds; I saw how the cultural “way” dictated the population’s attitude towards healthcare, especially in Women’s Reproductive Health.

The moments that caused me to question belief systems in place within myself really stretched me beyond limits I never knew possible.  And it is these reflections upon the state of health care in Quito that can broaden my understanding of client needs, beliefs and culture here in the states.”

University of Oregon Students Receive Awards for CFHI Programs in Bolivia and South Africa

Ann Oluloro and Stella Chiu, both students at the University of Oregon have received scholarships awarded by the IE3 Global Internships Program.   Many other students from participating IE3 Schools will attend CFHI programs this year and will receive credit from their home institutions.  Oluloro and Chiu, “…stood out among their peers…” according to the IE3 Field Blog Website.

Ann Oluloro Bound for Bolivia

Ann Oluloro will be participating in CFHI programs in Bolivia starting in July 2010.   In her CFHI application she identified several reasons for seeking entrance to a CFHI program in Bolivia.  Becoming a fluent Spanish speaker is important for her professional goals.  “Being fluent in Spanish is an important part of my future career because I plan on working in public clinics.   Currently, as a volunteer at White Bird Community Clinic, I often see the doctor communicate with patients in Spanish. By being able to speak another language, the doctor is able to break down a communication barrier that would have otherwise existed and is therefore able to provide the patient with the best care she possible can.”  She dreams one day of working with Doctors Without Borders and she believes that her CFHI experience, “…will give me a deeper insight into international medicine…” and help her “…learn about a culture and a way of life that books and textbooks cannot provide.”  She hopes that her time in Bolivia, “…will give me a glimpse and understanding of a culture that I may otherwise not have a chance to learn about first hand. In addition, the internship will teach me about the structure of public health systems and how such systems are implemented in under developed nations both in rural and urban settings.  Ann has done her homework, reading about the challenges faced by many countries to provide healthcare to their populations.  “I am highly interested in how some under developed nations are still able to find ways and means in which to implement effective public health systems.”

Stella Chiu will be participating in CFHI programs in South Africa.  Stella’s goal is to become a doctor and also to have an impact on underserved populations.   She sees being part of a CFHI program as, “…a perfect match for what I want to do with my future. I want to become a physician and gain clinical experience, but I also want to help underdeveloped countries with public health efforts.”   For Stella, it is important to be immersed in another culture, “I hope to gain clinical experience in a setting that is different from that of the United States. I believe this would make me a better physician in the future because it will help me see beyond the privileged population and be more competent in serving the less privileged. I hope CFHI will provide me with opportunities to learn and experience things first-hand.”

Both Ann and Stella will be reporting on their experiences so we look forward to more in their own words.  We wish these students well as they embark on a summer that they will surely remember forever, and good luck with the tremendous potential of career opportunities that await them in the future.