Sitting at the Java Den at University and Mills before class,  I was not sure what to expect.  Students from PHS 370 were invited to drop in to meet me, connect with each other, and talk about local to global perspectives on public health.  I was armed with a computer, a short novel, and the New York Times in case no one showed.  But I did not even get to read one headline….

Maggie arrived first wanting to explore how to make global health work a part of her life.  Relatively new to UW, she is shifting from a political science focus to a public health focus.  She told us a bit about her work in Bulgaria where she worked with the Roma population.  this video portrays the challenges that this ethnic group faces.

Abby had been on the Uganda Field experience led by John Ferrick and James Ntambe and she has done a lot of coursework related to public health and health disparities.   Pascale who joined us later will participate in the same Uganda program next year.   Laura, a global health certificate student,  joined us and shared that she will be working with Araceli Alonso on the Health by Motorbike program this summer.

Tahiya joined later in the hour and very generously shared stories about her summer in Bangladesh where she worked in the Geneva Camp focusing on children with disabilities.  The camp, established in 1972 to meet the needs of Pakistani’s who were still in Bangladesh after the transition, is now a crowded multi-generational community.  The video focuses on the health risks for children in the camp.

Liz, who is doing an  honors project for the class, hopes to consider homelessness in Madison in a global context through case studies or oral histories.  Stay tuned as she may be willing to share her project in  class or discussion section!

I blog as a reflective practice and to share information and experiences with my students, colleagues and friends. Some of the topics that I will cover this semester include my upcoming global health work in Tanzania in March — I will miss a few classes but will make up for it with some blog posts!  Also, I am working with a group of students who are planning to go to Ecuador to do service learning in a community where I have worked for the past six years.  I am going to “back blog” for them from my journals, so I can share some of my favorite memories and photos with them  and introduce them to the community where they will work.  I am going to cover campus events like lectures by Ruth Levine, who is coming on March 14th, to our annual Global Health Symposium.

I am also planning to do some global health-related book reviews.  Coming soon Is Cutting for Stone, by Abraham Verghese, which takes place in Ethiopia.  I am also reading Haiti after the Earthquake by Paul Farmer.  I will review A Sand County Alamanac, by Aldo Leopold, to explore the implications of a his “land ethic” for a new global health ethic.  Finally, I will reread one of my all time favorites, Cry of the Earth, Cry of the Poor, by Leonardo Boff.   I wonder if it will seem as good as it did when it changed my life many years ago….

Please feel free to comment on this post or make suggestions for future topics!