Q&A with GlobeMed on the cause behind the Get Down

    This Saturday, May 2, GlobeMed will hold its first annual dance party fundraiser, called Global Get Down. The benefit will raise funds for the clinic in a village in Ghana where almost half the child population is malnourished.

    “We’re hoping to raise over $750 because we’re funding a new nutrition program at a health center, the HOPE Center in Ho, Ghana,” said member and Weinberg sophomore Alyson Weiner. She added that GlobeMed single-handedly funds this clinic, which brings medical care and attention to this rural village.

    The dance party will take place in room 122 in Parkes Hall at 7 p.m. Tickets are $5 at the door.

    Read on to find out what GlobeMed campaign coordinator Sarah Mihalov, a senior anthropology major, had to say about the event and the cause.

    How exactly do you work with the HOPE Center?
    SM: The HOPE Center is a collaboration between Ghana Health Service and GlobeMed at Northwestern. Since we’ve started the center, they pay for nurses’ salaries. We pay for things like starting new programs. We just helped fund putting in a new lab. The more sustainable stuff is what they pay for, like the chemicals that they use all the time. Last summer was the first time that students went [to the HOPE Center]. One girl who graduated last year has actually been there the whole year and last summer, three of us went, and we’re all seniors this year. When you go there, you work with [Ghana Health Service] on new projects and making a plan for the year and talking to various health service officials.

    So why are you doing a dance party?
    SM: We want to find something that you’re going to get student interest with while talking about your organization. We’re calling it the Global Get Down with the hope that it’ll create this global view of the global world and global health and then help gain interest in our organization.

    Why should people go to this event?
    SM: The goal of the event is to raise money to support what we’re trying to do at the HOPE Center. Our current goal is to continue funding this laboratory that we installed that, these days, is testing for things like malaria and pregnancy testing and anemia, things like that, and that will help us to better address the needs of these people. So right now the community members near the center aren’t really close to the hospital so we’re the closest thing to them, but we want to increase the number of things we can do for them. Right now it’s only some nurses and occasionally a doctor, so we want to continue to increase the functions of the HOPE center so that the people in the community have more reasons to go there and will better help them with what they’re facing. So that’s the purpose of the event, to fundraise the funds for the laboratory and also the nutrition program, which is trying to reduce the malnutrition in the community. Now it’s 45 percent malnourished in children under five, [we want to bring it down] to 15 percent.

    So that’s what our goal is for this whole nutrition program. We’ve already worked on two phases of it, which happened in springtime of last year and starting in the summer when we went and helped start the second phase of the program. That went starting last summer probably through the beginning of this year. The third phase, once they get the money from us, would start this summer. So we’re trying to continue to decrease the malnutrition. The final project would be to go back and look at the weight of the children to see if they’ve improved and are no longer malnourished.

    That’s why we clearly want people to go to the event, but also it’s going to be a really fun event. Lots of different organizations on campus come together for it, a lot of groups that might not necessarily be at the same events, that’s why it’s bringing all these different people together. And then of course there’s a dance party, which is always fun.

    What exactly can people expect if they come?
    SM: The first portion of the evening is going to be short performances, 10 minutes from various organizations around campus. Sig O is performing, Deeva Dance Troupe, the Bhangra team. Then there’s going to be a short video about the HOPE Center, just to tell people about it, tell people why they’re there and to thank them for coming. And then there’s also the raffle. People can buy raffle tickets throughout for the various prizes. There’s a basket from Benefit make-up, some sort of gift certificate package from Noodle & Co., Kafein and a couple other places. So it’ll be a little short evening of food and drinks, and watching dances and participating.

    What can you tell me about your time in Ghana?
    SM: I went the beginning of August through mid-September last year. I spent six weeks there. The first portion, I worked a lot with getting adjusted, meeting community members, talking to nurses at the Center. The head nurse of the Center was wonderful, Margaret. She was so helpful and wants to make all these changes in the community and is a real advocate for the people in the community and really wants to see that change happen. She’s a motivator as well as an innovator; she’s been thinking up ways to help the community, so she’s wonderful.

    It was a different community, I had never been to Africa before so for me, that change was really different. So meeting a lot of people that lived out in the more rural part of town was not shocking but they have a pump to get their water, they live in like thatched-roofed houses, they have goats running around everywhere, so that was a very different sort of lifestyle. But everyone was so warm. They all wanted to do anything they could to help make your experience. No one was mean to us. We occasionally got questions like “Oh, you’re an American?” but that happens no matter where you travel.

    The first half of my time there was working with the nutrition program, and just talking through some of the issues that they had with what was happening so far, and making a progress plan for the next coming year which is what we used throughout this year to make our decisions and plans for the following year. Also, the second half, I conducted senior thesis research. So I spent the second half of the summer doing that, I worked on anthropology type work.

    Are the students in GlobeMed mostly pre-med?
    SM: I think originally, when the organization was started they were. It has grown to be a wide variety of majors and it’s a very broad range now of majors. The majority are pre-med, but everyone has a public health interest, human rights interest, policy interest or government interest.

    Finally, what would be your ideal outcome of the Global Get Down?
    SM: We’re trying to raise the money to fund the nutrition program, plus gaining a more recognized name on campus as well as a greater interest and knowledge in the field of global health.


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