MPH Panama Practicum 2012: Missing Everyone!

July 15, 2012
Author: Yasmin Abedin

So our Panama 2012 is officially over and I am currently blogging from New York.

In the last couple of days of the Panama 2012 Practicum, we worked on our deliverable. We stayed up late and so did the professors.  Lourdes B. was great and helped a lot of us with translations. Rosa stayed up late to print our work. Kathleen guided us with ideas for our scope of work! Thanks to everyone!!!

My deliverable was a manual on the model garden at Escuela Altos de Cabuya. The manual is aimed for sixth and fifth graders to work with teachers and parents to start and maintain a school garden. Since many other schools in Panama don’t have gardens, they should start one. Garden work will enable students to gain leadership, responsibility, and collaborative skills. Garden grown food will give healthy nutrition to students and prevent malnutrition and obesity.

On Thursday, July 12, 2012, we gave Escuela Altos de Cabuya our work and they were very appreciative. A lot of the classes did presentations for us. My favorites were the “boyband” and the final dance!

On Friday, July 13, 2012, we all did presentations. It was amazing to see each and every group’s findings and recommendations. The nutrition group’s (my group) work on nutrition, physical education, overweight and underweight assessment will be helpful in educating teachers, students, and parents about healthy eating and living. The environmental group’s findings will help prevent future vector-borne illnesses. The clinic group’s researches will help women with using contraceptives and protection to prevent sexually transmitted diseases and unplanned pregnancies. I hope that this trip is not the end of making changes and that we can stay in contact with Dr. Calvo and Lourdes A. to maintain the progress of health in Panama.

I just wanted to say what an amazing experience this was. I got to see another country with a different health system. I learned a lot about Panama’s health status and what they needed. I think that there is a lot of work that needs to be done to fulfill the needs of Panama.

I also made some great friends and I hope that everyone can stay close and in contact!!! Good luck to everyone!

More about the MPH Panama Practicum

A group of 15 University of Southern California graduate students are researching public health in Panama City, Panama, for a two-week international practicum, organized by the USC Master of Public Health (MPH) program. The students have been divided into three groups to work on maternal and child health, vaccination, environmental infectious diseases, nutrition and physical activity.

One group will be surveying patients about the healthcare system at a local clinic and proposing interventions to improve vaccination, infant development and women’s health. Another group will be in the field responding to outbreaks of environmentally spread infectious diseases and working to control common vectors such as mosquitoes. The last group will be calculating body mass index measurements for elementary school students and developing methods to improve nutrition and exercise within the school.

During their trip, the students will also be attending lectures on Panama’s healthcare system and statistics as well as visiting a remote indigenous tribe. Before leaving Panama, each student will be providing a deliverable that is intended to improve health in Panama.

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