Joan Eichner, South America

MPH/MPA alumna, Behavioral and Community Health Sciences

I lived in a coastal village in Guyana from 2004-06. My primary job was teaching English in the village’s secondary school. During my two years I taught English grammar, basic reading, physical education, and life skills. I also conducted women’s health counseling at the village clinic including nutrition, breast feeding, and family planning. I completed two major projects during my time at the village’s school. One was possible through a President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) grant to hold a six month after-school program. This effort combined classes in life skills led by a local nonprofit organization with classes in trade skills development in woodworking and arts and crafts taught by women in the village. The second project developed “Youth-Friendly Space,” a pilot program coordinated by the Ministry of Health and the UNFPA to give youth a constructive outlet during non-school hours.

I decided to pursue an MPH (and a joint MPA) to continue working in development with a focus on improving health outcomes for women and children. I chose the University of Pittsburgh because of the solid reputation of the public health program and because Pittsburgh is a great city to live in!

Joan's host family
Joan with her host family

Joan with reading student
Joan with a student from her reading class

students in after school craft program
Students participating in Joan’s after school craft program

school house
School house where Joan taught