My name is Logan and I am Project WOO’s first ever Health Intern! As a part my Master’s in Public Health at UCLA, I am required to participate in an internship of my choosing. I knew I wanted to work within a community-type of setting abroad, but I was looking for an ‘unconventional’ experience–one that would challenge me toward further growth, both academically and personally. I saw that potential with WOO, and after having been here for a month, I know I chose well! Lucia (my homestay housemom) has contributed to the bettering of my Spanish, has taught me how to make a mean Gallo Pinto, and has helped me conquer my fears of the frogs, rats, monkeys, cows, pigs, and insects that share my space on a daily basis. She says I’m Nica now. And that’s a compliment! I’ve had so much fun learning and laughing my way through my homestay experience that I have decided to stay with Lucia and her family for the remainder of my time here in Gigante.
Since arriving in June I have been working closely with the health team at the Gigante Community Health Center, designing an education-based intervention program for residents with Hypertension. Hypertension has become a worldwide epidemic and Gigante has not been spared. Yet many Gigante’s residents either have not been properly diagnosed, or are not committed to controlling their disease. With the help of a 15 US doctors coming to Gigante in August, we will travel door-to-door assessing the hypertensive status and associated behavioral risk factors of each and every individual in the community over the age of 18. With medications in stock, we will be able to initiate the care of newly diagnosed Gigante residents locally, preventing them from having to travel far distances for medical attention. We will also be able to transfer the care of those patients already making the trek. We’re really looking forward not only to seeing what a difference having a local medical hub will be on the health of the Gigante community, but just how far awareness and education will take us in terms of hypertensive maintenance. Stay tuned! And get excited…or rather, ‘WOO!