MPH ALUM, BEHAVIORAL AND COMMUNITY HEALTH SCIENCES
I was in the second cohort of PCMI students at Pitt Public Health, and after my first year of classes prepared myself to head to Ecuador as a Community Health worker. Leaving my cohort from the first year was hard, and will be for everyone I am sure, but I am happy that I still am in contact with many of them and they supported me through the process. I had come into Pitt Public Health without having worked full time in public health, so was anxious to apply some of the skills I had learned from my first year in the field.
After training, I moved to the city of Riobamba, which is the second largest city I have ever lived in after Pittsburgh with around 200,000 residents. It is located in one of the poorest and most rural provinces in the country, and upon arrival I soon saw the negative health impacts of those statistics. I worked my first year with the Ministry of Health on their recently unveiled sexual health campaigns, mostly aimed at decreasing adolescent pregnancies. Each week I would work with a different youth group each day, teaching them about sexual health, self-esteem, and risk navigation to name a few. We also planned and implemented numerous community events and were able to help support the public hospital on their World AIDS Day campaigns.
My second year I transitioned to the wellness department at one of the universities that was located in Riobamba, the ESPOCH. We worked on various health campaigns together, from depression to tobacco cessation, and I was able to help the office create a survey tool to measure their impact of their worked at piloted the baseline as part of my thesis. In total I sampled five percent of the student body surrounding issues such a sexual health, drug and alcohol use, and general knowledge. It was a great opportunity for me to get primary research experience, as well as helpful to the ESPOCH Wellness Department to have the data that I helped them collect.
Upon my return to Pittsburgh, I had two years of community centered public health work under my belt and started classes with excitement. My time in Ecuador enriched my last year of classes, and allowed me to bring a unique perspective from an unforgettable experience. It also started the groundwork for my current job, and will continue to be relevant as I work towards a publication of the data I gathered with the Wellness Department. None of this would have been possible without the amazing support and guidance by the Center for Global Health as well as my mentors and advisers throughout the school.
Ozogoche, Chimborazo, Ecuador
World AIDS Day, Riobamba, Ecuador
Ecuador sunset, Puerto Lopez, Manabi
Christmas season parade, Riobamba, Chimborazo, Ecuador Noveno