Update: December 2013

Happy holidays!

As the year wraps up, December has been a very busy month for The 53rd Week. Some highlights:

  • In its latest alumni profile, the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health featured The 53rd Weeks Director of Operations, Lawrence Loh, on their alumni website. The piece focuses largely on the work that The 53rd Week has been doing around improving the outcomes of short-term medical experiences through advocacy / awareness-raising, research, and innovation, and his inspiration for this particular topic. His hope is that the increasing profile of voluntourism will encourage researchers and policymakers to look for meaningful, concrete solutions to increase impact and improve outcomes from such work. As he often says, “Its time to match intentions with outcomes, not dismiss such efforts out of hand.”  
  • The 53rd Week also welcomed our McMaster students home from their Embedded Learning Experience (ELE) in La Romana. During their post-return debrief, many of the students described the largely positive experiences they had living in the Dominican for a few months, and what they learned conducting global health research. Our organization was particularly encouraged by one student who described the experience as life-changing. The students now move into the final phase of their experience with The 53rd Week, taking a college-level project course that focuses on the analysis and preparation of their data for publication. Encouraged by our recent experiences, The 53rd Week looks forward to welcoming new ELE students in 2014, and to bringing our most recent participants to a La Romana symposium in February 2014. Special thanks to our ELE Coordinator, Dr. Marlinga, who continues to provide great support for this project.  
  • Our team continues to grow. We welcome Heather Lin back to the role of marketing lead, and Pooja Yerramilli as fundraising lead. Heather is an entrepreneur in New York City with a Big 4 background while Pooja conducts research and teaching at the Harvard School of Public Health. Between them, their experiences in business, global health, and research methods will serve to strengthen The 53rd Weeks programs and projects.   
  • Finally, our next trip to La Romana is just a few short days away. Over the week of Dec 16, we will lead a group of medical students and healthcare professional students together with staff physicians on a short-term trip that challenges participants to think critically about the nature of primary care in the developing world. Alongside the provision of clinical services as requested by the community, we will also do our part in carrying out more upstream efforts. Together with other partners from Canada and the U.S. and our local partners, we will conduct research, evaluate mobile clinic services, and educate local health care providers to improve the nature of healthcare and health promotion programs provided through Good Samaritan Hospital. 

We thank all our partners and supporters for their generosity to date. If you havent had a chance to visit our Honeyfund website yet, check it out to see how you can support our efforts down in La Romana this year, or make a donation of any amount through clicking our PayPal button below. Any amount helps to support our research and programming that takes place year round. 


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