Saturday, June 5, 2010

UofM Reunite in Jamaica!

It was a pleasant surprise for our SEGH team to meet up with the Business School's Emerging Markets Club working on a coop for women's weaving and the Engineering School's Blue Lab working on a water purification system.

Living with the Hagley Gap Community

So what was it like living with the locals for 10 days in Hagley Gap, Jamaica?

Below are some reflections from our team -

Gap Square.

The square is their version of a downtown, the area in Hagley Gap with stores, eating places, and bars. The music was often blasting (literally to the point where my house shook) during nights and weekends, and families of all ages hung out to enjoy each other’s company. It was the place to meet up with anyone, locals and internationals alike, and a good place to host birthday parties as well.

Swimming Pool.

The swimming pool, or water hole, was a great way to escape the hot sun and interact with the local children. The boys played games like King of the Rock while the girls and boys played Monkey in the Middle. Our team enjoyed heading to the water hole to cool off and gravitated towards one part which reminded us of a Jacuzzi.

Spanish Town Road by Jedi.

This restaurant we went to for our daily lunch is one we all looked forward to for its delicious food and great atmosphere. There were always locals hanging out and Jamaican reggae or movies on. It was a great break from our busy day!


Our host families were great. Jamaican families often rose with the sun and were up by 6:00am. Both families were very flexible with our schedules and were happy to have our meals ready at different times. The food we had during our trip was amazing – fried dough and canned mackerel in tomato, fried chicken, rice and beans, and more! At the end of a long day, we looked forward to going home to dinner and hanging out with our host families.


Fishing in Hagley Gap was available at two nearby rivers. The fish were caught with bare hands under rocks or through a spear. Often the day’s catch could be stored in the freezer for future meals. Our friends, T and Yellowman (both nicknames) impressed us with their diving skills in rushing waters. That same evening, we enjoyed baked fish with jerk spice.

Farm Tour.

Magie’s farm tour was a random and delightful visit. Originally planned for the beginning of the trip, it got postponed to our last day. The team trekked around the farm which had a large assortment of fruits/vegetation that did not seem to be in any order: plums, bananas, oranges, cocoa, sugarcane, grapefruit, rosemary and more. Magie was extremely hospitable, giving us each a sample of every fruit and herbs to go. It was a fun experience eating fresh fruit and traversing through the trees and bushes to see the next part of her farm.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Blue Mountain Project

For information on the Blue Mountain Project, please visit the following link:

Students Going to Jamaica: Emmanuelle Ravat-Francoise

Emmanuelle Ravat-Francoise is a dual degree student pursuing a Master of Public Policy at the Ford School of Public Policy and Master of Public Health at the School of Public Health. She is also working to a achieve certificates in Global Health and Science and Technology Policy. She has previously attended for a Masters degree in International Relations atSciences Po University, Paris and from Sankt Gallen University, Switzerland. As a global health policy student, her interests include the processes of technological development, innovation, and research and development of bio-technologies, medical drugs, and health programs-- specifically relating to issues of social justice and access to those health services in the developing world.

Students Going to Jamaica: Amelia Foo

After four years living in the income security of a cushy cubicle job with Deloitte, I finally decide to leave this comfort zone in Chicago for ten days and join my best friend from college and her fellow grad school friends on a trip Jamaica. Not Ochos Rios, not Montego Bay, not Negril… but Hagley Gap- a small rural community resting near the famed Blue Mountains. Away from the white sandy beaches and black cliffs and tourist resorts, this rural community has been the focus of the Blue Mountain Project, which has worked over the years to develop the community by administering healthcare, building infrastructure, and starting up new businesses. Taking time-off from work is almost a misnomer, given that I plan to work on a sustainability project together with the Students Engaged in Global Healthcare of University of Michigan. I hope that my title as “Consultant” in my current corporate job would manifest the skill sets in tackling issues faced in this rural community, and to continue the efforts of the Blue Mountain Project. As much as I wish to contribute to this community, I sense that this trip would more than anything, be a lesson for me- in living the life of simplicity and happiness, and having the hope that better things can happen when we are all in this together.

Students Going to Jamaica: Karen Tam

Hi! I am Karen Tam and I am a dual-degree graduate student in Business Administration and Public Policy. Coming from a pre-medicine and healthcare consulting background, I came to graduate school with an interest in domestic health policy and management; however, after a summer abroad working in health clinics in rural Rwanda, my interests have expanded to global health. My long term career interests aim to intertwine my experiences and talents in management mixed with my pre-medical knowledge in emerging markets. I am particularly interested in using private sector solutions from corporations to engage the public sector in healthcare. Through the BMP SLP, I want to engage the community and put my studies into real practices to directly impact patient access to quality healthcare services. I will also bring the lessons learned forward to my summer internship with GE Healthcare in Bangladesh. I am particularly excited to be leading this team as everyone truly has a heart of learning and we will be experiencing different cultural, professional, and team challenges together. I cannot wait to see how the next 10 days will unfold.

Students Going to Jamaica: Karen Tam

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. A return to love - Marianne Williamson

Students Going to Jamaica: Serena Wang

Hi! I'm Serena and I am a recent grad of University of Michigan's School of Public Health, Department of Health Management and Policy. I have always been interested in serving in a global capacity, and am excited to apply the skills I learned in the program! I plan on working in process improvement in the states, and working on operational efficiency for the clinic in a low resource area is a great opportunity and will provide so many insights. I hope that the changes we make will help the clinic indefinitely. I am very excited to live and breathe Jamaican culture for ten days. And, I am even more excited for to hike a Jamaican mountain! This will definitely be a great experience.

Students Going to Jamaica: Juline Chen

I am really excited to be going on our service trip in Jamaica! I am looking forward to applying the tools and knowledge I have gained from my two years as a Health Management in Policy student at the School of Public Health and working with the local staff in the clinics to find feasible and sustainable solutions that bring value to the clinic and to the surrounding community. I've been interested in global health (specifically capacity building and health systems strengthening in developing countries) for quite some time, and have had the opportunity to do health-related work in Ghana and Rwanda in the past. However, this will be my first time working in the Caribbean so I’m curious to see how my experiences will be similar or differ from previous experiences working in other places. I hear that Jamaica is an amazing place, and I can’t wait to learn first-hand about the vibrant Jamaican culture and people.

Students Going to Jamaica: Jeri Stroupe

My name's Jeri--I'm a Master's student in Public Health (Management and Policy) with one year left to go. Since I can remember I've been interested in international health usually in terms of what we (the US) can learn from other countries, but have little perspective as to what others can learn from us. What I am hoping to gain out of this trip to Hagley Gap is a further understanding of what their community needs and what I and my fellow group members can provide. I think this will be a huge learning experience for me since 1) I have not worked before in a setting focused on operations and project management, 2) my group members are mostly senior to me and have had experience working in resource-poor communities, and 3) I have had very limited experience in developing countries. What I'm hoping Hagley Gap gains is a more efficient system for receiving medical service groups, more organized medical records, and a steady supply of basic drugs/medical supplies. Most importantly (in my opinion) I look forward to mutual cross-cultural understanding and communication with people living lives incomparable to my own.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Jamaica Service Learning Project 2010


Jamaica Project for the Students Engaged in Global Health (SEGH – a MSA-recognized student organization). We recently received approval for our group to work with the Blue Mountain Project (BMP) at Hagley Gap and Penlyn, Jamaica. Our group consists of 5 global health-minded students from the business, policy, and public health schools in Students Engaged in Global Health (SEGH). The BMP works with the local communities in healthcare, education, and other community development such as co-ops for women.

Brief Overview of Our Project and BMP

The BMP operates 2 clinics with only 1 RN and 1 administrative staff for both the Hagley Gap and Penlyn communities. The only time that the community receives primary medical care is when medical student groups or retired physician groups visit. The majority of our time in the field will focus on developing protocols and an operational efficiency strategy for the 2 clinics. As part of the project, we will working in collaboration with the clinic leadership and local staff to conduct a current-state and impact analysis to create a set of implementable recommendations to improve operations and coordination of volunteer medical groups. There are also opportunities to improve the quality and access of healthcare by standardizing practices, decreasing hassle factors, decreasing costs, and thus, improving community health. A part of our time will also be spent talking with local staff to better understand their concerns regarding operational issues at the health center, and working with them to design and implement a set of recommendations.

We are going to be working with the medical students (the main stakeholders) to find a feasible strategy that will implemented for BMP and beneficial to BMP and the surrounding community. This project is designed to be high-impact and actionable – not merely a report that will describe the ideal to BMP.

In addition, this project was designed with the support of the Blue Mountain Project, and we aim to collaborate with those at the clinics to implement sustainable changes that will be valued by both patients and health clinic staff. Please see the following page information on the logistics of the trip.

Project Objectives

· Develop an operational efficiency strategy for medical professionals including an evaluation of current-state operations and impact, and a set of recommendations to improve standardization across volunteer groups

· Train 2 FT nurses that are currently at 2 sites – Hagley Gap and Penlyn Castle on above strategy and begin implementation of recommendations

· Follow-up on a water filtration project begun by engineering students

· Teach healthy behaviors to primary school children

· Develop student leadership skills in the field

The group will be departing for Jamaica on May 5th and returning May 10th. We will have a post about our team before we leave and more posts to come regarding different aspects of our projects and life living with host families when we return.