Preston Public Interest Career Fund Recipient
“As a student interested in public health, going into my internship, I was very interested in identifying the health problems in Chigamba, and brainstorming ways to ameliorate them. What I did not expect was how personally involved I would become in these issues.”
In some areas of work, such personal connection to a task is discouraged; in public health, I feel that a degree of attachment to the work and the local people greatly enhances the experience, and contributes to success in the field. Talking to women one-on-one about their desire to buy mosquito nets, despite living in poverty, brought me deep into the center of an issue that I had never before been passionate, or even knowledgeable about. Pleading with one HIV-positive mother to stop breast-feeding her baby is an experience that solidified my drive to fight HIV/AIDS. Speaking solely to clinicians would never have given me such insight, or filled me with such determination.
Before going to Malawi, I knew I was interested in public health, but the field was very abstract in my mind. Since the trip, I am seriously looking into pursuing a graduate degree in public health. I have seen first-hand the structural problems that result in unequal health care. I now realize that people are dying in huge numbers of diseases that are easily preventable. I want to be a part of this field that pays attention to often overlooked populations. Regardless of the direction my career path might take, my experience in Malawi has certainly influenced my outlook on the world and my part in it. I am personally connected to a continent that had previously been foreign to me. This experience opened my eyes and broadened my perspective on the world. Most of all, it cemented my interest in global health, and I look forward to seeing where this path will take me.
- Date September 1, 2009
- Tags 2009, Africa, Healthcare, Preston, Social Service