Last summer, I was lucky enough to spend two months in Fukushima, Japan and conduct research there as part of a project funded by the Arnhold Global Health Institute at Mount Sinai and Rotary International. During the first week, fellow Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (ISMMS) medical student David Anderson and I participated in a class at Fukushima Medical University on radiation and disaster medicine. After that, we conducted a survey along with Japanese medical students to examine post-traumatic stress and growth after the 3/11/11 “Triple Disaster” (earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear accident). The experience was incredible and the research is still ongoing!
(Continued from Part 1)
After spending a few minutes discussing the impacts of caregiving on those enrolled in the training session, we transitioned to the meat of the course: what to do when a patient exhibits certain signs and symptoms at home and when to make the call to send the patient to a health care facility. Most of the information shared was very basic and quite frankly, would be beneficial to anyone, not specifically just to this group of individuals who were caring for the very sick.
My research project culminated in a training session held for caregivers of cancer patients. In preceding weeks, my team of two medical students and I had conducted a needs assessment in order to determine what these caregivers felt they needed in order to provide optimal care to their patients. The goal was to create a training module that would be useful to them and that could be continued by the department even after my departure. The results of the needs assessment showed that caregivers could benefit from training sessions that focused on any of the following:
While working with the Sex Workers Education and Advocacy Taskforce (SWEAT), a human rights NGO in Cape Town, South Africa, I collaborated with my fellow ISMMS student, Vivian Nguyen, to create “I Am A Sex Worker.” Over the course of 9 weeks, we interviewed and took photos of 85 male, female, and transgender sex workers. Each has agreed to share their stories, portraits, and “I Am A Sex Worker” statements in hopes of combating the dehumanizing, sensationalized media representation of the sex work industry and those who participate in it. Through this project, we hope to spark a dialogue about the shared humanity in all of us.
Included here are 7 entries from “I Am A Sex Worker.” The full project can be viewed here.