As I write my last blog post, I can’t help but reflect on the course as a whole and what I’ve learned. One of the major problems discussed during class was the negative effects and results that derive from medical voluntourism. Before going on my trip to Ghana, I knew that the trip would consist of me participating in research and interacting with the people in the communities I visited. I was required to go to orientation and learn about what to expect when visiting this country. I was also required to take this online course and be certified in the understandings of extramural research. The online course was required for everyone going on the trip to understand the importance of “protecting human research participants.” Looking back, I can see why Professor Muench expected us to do all these things because our actions can mean good, but cause more harm to the people. Going to Ghana has proven to be one of the best experiences in my life and happy to see now that I wasn’t one of those people going in hopes of getting hands on experience on the people without proper training. Although I eventually plan on working in the medical field, I learned just as much interacting with the people living in these different communities. I was able to tie back what I saw and experienced from each village to major issues that deal with sanitation, urbanization, and neglected tropical diseases. From this course, I was able to reflect on my previous actions and ideas I carried with me throughout the trip. Going to Ghana, I was given the opportunity to learn from the people just as much as they could learn from me. Professor Muench did a great job instilling in our heads that the Ghanians aren’t below us and the theme of interdependence was brought up numerous times throughout the trip. Looking back, I realized that Ghana taught me just as much about myself and what I want to do in the future as far as working in the medical field. Ghana wasn’t the type of study abroad in which I searched for saviordom. I learned just as much if not more from exploring the country and interacting with the people than I would have if I went with a quest for experience or the pursuit of an emotional high. Going to Ghana through the biology department at SUNY Geneseo, I observed the community’s actual needs and had to reflect as to why people were living the way they were. Although Professor Muench does a great job at avoiding to display this “white savior complex,” there are still other programs and organizations out there that will advocate and represent medical voluntourism in a positive light instead of focusing on the harm that comes with it.
A couple of weeks ago, I attended a panel of students that talked about their struggles on the SUNY Geneseo campus and the discrimination they face with their sexual orientation. The event was called Trans?Fine by me! The event was held after an incident that occurred with a sociology professor having made offensive comments about the LGBTQ+ community. Read more
In (12/4) class, we were asked to look for possible solutions that could help with the problem about Medical voluntourism. This problem possesses an overlooked threat to emerging health systems in low and middle-income countries. The investors in global health systems should take action to implement solutions that will make medical voluntourism more beneficial for the volunteers, patients, and health systems. Students as young as high school students are often interested in the medical/health care field and encouraged to gain “real world” experience by volunteering to do medical work in developing countries through organizations. This practice entails untrained, uncertified, young students practicing directly on patients to a much greater degree than would be allowed at home or in their country. Unfortunately this is still being allowed in other countries, and people are unaware of the risks and damage that medical volunteerism brings.
Before taking this class, I wasn’t as aware about the issues and risks that came along with medical voluntourism. As I worked and spoke with other students in the class, we discussed several ideas or solutions that could be done to inform the public and stop this type of dangerous practice from happening in other countries. Something that I strongly believe could help this problem is having a certification component that goes along with volunteering in other countries. Certification components should require medical professionals to conduct training for students that plan to participate. Along with getting certified and being trained, students should present a project about their understanding of the healthcare system in which they participated, the ethics of their work, and future motivations/goals within the healthcare industry. If students were to accept these guidelines, they’d be more aware about the risks of medical voluntourism and less likely to go on these trips to gain something new to add to their resume. Overall, medical voluntourism is a challenging concept that others may not see a problem with, but the only thing that can be done is to inform the public about the pros and cons of such topic.
In New York City, there is an African Burial Ground National Monument that represents a sacred space where both free and enslaved Africans were buried. At a point in time, this sacred space in Manhattan was lost to history due to landfill and development, but rediscovered in the 1990’s. Read more
The definition of consent and what we mean by consent tends to be manipulated or misinterpreted. According to dictionary.com, consent is “to permit, approve, or agree; comply or yield.” Unfortunately what some may fail to understand is that you have the right to say no after having said yes or given consent. In Clay’s Ark by Butler, the idea of consent is often abandoned and manipulated by the disease. An example of this is with the sexual interactions between Eli and Meda. Read more
Throughout history, there have been divisions among people based off of external qualities. Some of these qualities included skin color, eye color, hair type, etc. These qualities form categories based on race. In biology, there is no genetic code that defines what race one is. There are small variations in strains of DNA between the human species. Many experiments have been done to look for something that simply isn’t there. Read more