Cross Cultural Health Initiative participant bios:
Ellie Ellis graduated in 2011 with a Registered Nurse license and is currently working toward her Bachelor’s in nursing at UNE. She is originally from Boston. Ellie works part time as an EMT in Kennebunkport, ME. For the summer, she is also doing a nursing internship with the Mass General Hospital.
Lauren Hurley is currently studying psychology and social relations at UNE and will graduate in the summer of 2013. She plans on entering the nursing program after graduation. She is from New York and this trip is her first time overseas.
Meagan Chandler is an RN who graduated from UNE with her bachelor’s in nursing this past May in 2012. She is from Colorado and currently works as a camp nurse in Poland, ME for her second summer. She has a passion in working with vulnerable populations. This is Meagan’s second trip to Ghana with UNE.
Nicole Santarosa is studying physical therapy and will graduate in May 2013 with her DPT. She is originally from Los Angeles and moved to Maine in 2010 to attend UNE. Next spring, she will be completing her final clinical in San Francisco.
Taryn Wright is studying physical therapy and will graduate in May, 2013 with her DPT. She aspires to work with Division I college athletes she is originally from North Dakota, and moved to Maine in 2010 to attend UNE where she is employed as an athletic trainer.
Emily Farnham is a nursing student and will graduate from UNE in May 2013 with her BSN. She is originally from Seattle and moved to Maine in December 2011 to attend UNE. She is interested in women’s health and HIV/AIDS outreach.
Laura Seifert is an online MPH student and will graduate in December 2013. She holds a Bachelor’s in kinesiology from Arizona State and a Master’s in bioethics. She is interested in rural health and health disparities. She aspires to work with underserved populations.
Sam Hynes is in the online Master of Social Work Program at UNE. She holds a Bachelor’s in human services from the University of Northern Colorado. She is interested in community development and health education and would like to work to prevent the spread of communicable diseases.
Kristen Provencher is in the online Master of Public Health Program at UNE and teaches health at Mountain Valley High School in Rumford, ME. She was born and raised in Maine and attended University of Farmington Maine for her Bachelor’s. She is interested in all aspects of health, particularly epidemiology.
Caroline Jarolimek is currently pursuing her BSN at UNE and holds a Bachelor’s in integrative physiology from the University of Colorado in Boulder. She is originally from Colorado and moved to Maine in December 2011 to attend UNE. She enjoys studying all aspects of nursing and has a special interest in orthopedics.
Cheryl Deane is a second year PA student and will graduate in May, 2013. She holds a Bachelor’s in natural resources from Cornell University. She is originally from upstate New York and moved to Maine in 2007. She would like to work in rural primary care.
Antoin DeSchrijver is a second year PA student, graduating in May 2013. He previously attended Boston University and earned a Bachelor’s in biophysiology. He is originally from Newton, MA. He enjoys studying all aspects of medicine and especially loves pathophysiology, dermatology, and the ability to practice disaster medicine.
Amber Maniates is a second year PA student graduation in May, 2013. She has a BA in social sciences with an emphasis in psychology from the University of Montana Western. She has a special interest in ED and primary care.
Jessica Numon is from New Jersey but currently living in New York City. She graduated from the University of Connecticut in 2009 with her BSN. She enjoys all aspects of nursing and recently landed her dream job as a cardiothoracic ICU nurse at New York Presbyterian Hospital in May.
Janie Watson recently graduated from UNE with her Master of Social Work. She is originally from Lubback, TX and moved to Maine in 2009. She holds a Bachelor’s in art education and studio art, as well as interior design. She currently works as a case manager from people with severe mental illness and addiction doing outreach groups, and individual therapy.
More blog posts from students written earlier this week
Sunday, July 29th
After somewhat recovering from 24 hours of travel, we had the opportunity to attend the morning church service at Pure Word Chapel, the church that our host, Rev. Andoh, preaches at. His wife, Augustina, gave the sermon. Within the two hour service, we experienced an exuberant devotion to God including an enthusiastic welcome, singing, dancing, very uplifting music, as well as a lot of “hallelujah’s” and “amen’s”.
After lunch, we had a mini orientation and then started setting up clinic in the Pure Word Chapel, which is right across from the compound where we are staying. In the clinic we organized triage, lab, pharmacy, physical therapy and provider tables. After working out the kinks we settled into an efficient flow. We were able to see 20 patients ranging in ailments from waist pains to festering wounds in the few hours that we ran the clinic.
In the evening after clinic, we had time to continue to decompress and take a breath. Despite our lack of sleep, late night chitchats and laughs enabled us to get to know each other, including all of our deepest, darkest secrets.
Monday, July 30th
While few braved an early morning run, most of us took the opportunity to get more z’s. After a wonderful breakfast of omelets and peanut butter toast, and surprisingly delicious instant coffee, we started the second clinic at 8:00am again at Pure Word Chapel. Floating from the triage station, to the lab for a Malaria test, to the provider for a diagnosis, to the pharmacy for deworming meds, or to physical therapy for some stretches or adaptive equipment, the patients had access to a holistic plan of care. The nurses and nursing students, including Ellie, Caroline, Emily, Meagan, and Jess, primarily manned the triage station. They also helped with lab tests and wound dressings. Taryn, Nicole, and Larry headed up the physical therapy station while Sam helped with Malaria testing and blood sugar readings in the lab. Kathy, Hillary, Amber, Cheryl, and Antoin were the health care providers of the clinic. Mike has been our eye guy, giving eye exams and handing out glasses, while Jayne helped organize the patients who needed health insurance. Jen, our fearless leader, worked in the pharmacy and floated around the clinic, expertly keeping us all calm, cool, and collected.
Laura, Kristen, and Lauren took a taxi ride with one of our community wokers to a local area high school on Monday morning where they were given an inside look into the lives of local high school-ers. Otelia, a teacher at the school who we had met the night before, took the girls around school grounds. They first met the head mistress and a couple of other administrators who filled them in on the demographics of the school. It is an all girls’ school with about 1,500 students. Many of the girls live there and the rest are day students. Students wear uniforms, which consist of a white dress, optional blue sweater, and very short hair. The best part if the tour was being able to talk with a classroom full of about 32 girls. The students were very interested to learn about the UNE students. They were very polite and asked thoughtful questions about our gun laws and how black people, and specifically Africans, are viewed by white people in the U.S. The students were very proud to sing their school anthem for the UNE students. The tour also included visits to the dining hall and kitchen, the dorm building, and classrooms.
After everyone arrived back at the compound, we went out to experience the busy marketplace in Takoradi. Magdalena, an expert tailor, took us to two amazingly colorful fabric stores where we picked out our favorite Ghanaian fabrics. This proved a much more challenging task than originally thought, as each new fabric we laid eyes on became our new favorite! The fabrics were gorgeous and brilliantly bright, embracing the country’s colorful culture. We came out with bags full of fabric and put in our clothing orders for Magdalena to make us skirts, shirts, dresses, bags, and ties. Can’t wait to see what she transforms the fabric into!