Epidemiology Reflection #1

My group decided to work on a health issue in Brooklyn. We researched what issues were prevalent in the population and found that diabetes was an issue in Bed Stuy and Coney Island. After comparing the statistics between the two neighborhoods, we saw that Bed Stuy population had more diabetics. Thus, we decided to work within Bed Stuy to build a clinic that would test and treat the community.

We tried to keep in mind that the income level of the neighborhood is low and that we would have to keep prices down so that people would be able to afford our help. As the budget coordinator, this task was very difficult. The base cost for the medical help we required was already over the what we had expected. Upon consulting with the site coordinator, it was obvious that the price of any real estate or rental was also going to be very expensive. Tacking on additional costs were also major minor things that piled up into high annual costs, but it was easier to find lower prices on medical websites.

During my research, I came across another diabetes clinic in Bed Stuy… The problem being that it had ridiculously low reviews and the quality of service was horrible, as said by the clients. I hope that one day we would not only be able to provide the services that would benefit the community, but build a warm clinic where our patients feel cared for. I believe that people should be taken care of and treated well, as opposed to walking dollar bills for doctors to collect.

Epidemiology Reflection #1

This fall in Epidemiology, we used surveys from the New York City Department of Health to identify health problems that are that are most present in the communities of one of the five boroughs. We were tasked to create a clinic that would provide aid to the community and the health problem that people living there struggle with the most. My group chose to focus on Queens. We found that there have been a significant number of HIV cases in Queens. Compared to HIV cases recorded for all of New York City, the borough of Queens alone is not far off. Even though there have been efforts made to halt the deaths caused by HIV and as a result death rates have gone down, our group chose to focus on the effort that could be made to help people who have the virus and compromised immune systems to stay healthy and to educate both people with the disease and those without it about sexually transmitted diseases. A clinic that provides this will hopefully be able to make people more conscious, decrease death rates even more, and reduce the spread of the disease.

My task was to create the budget section of the clinic grant proposal. I worked with my partners to find out exactly what services the clinic could provide to best serve the community living with HIV or at risk of receiving HIV and an available location where we could establish the clinic. The most challenging aspect of creating the grant was thinking about how to respond to HIV crisis in Queens in a way that could be accessible by the community and  affordable by the community and to open. How many doctors would we need? Would they volunteer? Would people in the community of Rockaway want to take a blood tests and how many blood lab fees would we send out each week? How close is the clinic to the train, bus stop, or other public service? My job of adding up the building costs, salaries for the nurses and educators, and the cost of equipment added up. In the end, I discovered that establishing a clinic that could realistically support the community and in which quality care could be found is outrageously costly. It would take a lot of fundraising and grant requests to cover all of the start up costs and would take generous annual funding to cover yearly costs to keep the clinic running.

Even though, I found that opening the clinic would cost an arm and a leg, I believe that the community deserves a clinic devoted to helping people with HIV persevere and educate the community to make the rate of deaths from HIV to drop at a faster rate.  There are creative ways in which such a clinic could gather the money and meet the costs. The value of the lives that could be saved and improved from this type of clinic exceed the cost of starting it. This clinic could be a model for clinics in other similar communities. If successful, I would be motivated to share this knowledge and experience with other communities lacking such a clinic.

Epidemiology Reflection #1

In Epidemiology, my group was chosen to study a health issue that affects Staten Island and we found on the Community Health Survey that Staten Island has a low percentage of people who have gotten tested for HIV and who used a condom the last time they had sex.  In light of this, my group opted to open an HIV testing and sexual health clinic in Staten Island.  This project opened my eyes to the serious lack of health care or inequity in the health care system faced by many boroughs in New York, and specifically in Staten Island.  Many neighborhoods have only a small percentage of people with health insurance and many are not receiving the medical services that they need.

We got a tiny glimpse into just how difficult it is to set up a health clinic through this project.  Finding a rental space cheap enough to reasonably afford that was also within commuting distance was challenging (especially in Staten Island where the public transportation is notoriously flawed) and keeping the budget relatively low also presented difficulty.  However, we were able to find organizations that give grants to help fund health (and more specifically, HIV) clinics in New York and around the world, so our clinic might be able to receive some or all of its money from such organizations.

This project definitely made me more aware of the world around me, the inequities in health care and services, and of the health issues that afflict the boroughs.  Seeing these issues and the inequity in those who receive health care has made me really motivated to try to improve the health care system in New York and help those who need assistance get the medical attention and services they need.

Epidemiology Reflection #1

My group focused on the issue of diabetes and specifically diabetes within the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood. While researching, we found that Bed-Stuy has a diabetes rate of around 16%, which equates to 34,000 people. This is higher than the city average of diabetes which is 10%. We wanted to service this neighborhood because not only was diabetes a prevalent problem, but there were many other socio-economic related issues that occurred in Bed-Stuy, and adding a clinic would be a way to help reduce one of the many issues.

The most challenging issue that we seemed to face while making this proposal was how expensive it was to have and run this clinic. It showed me that health care is no easy task, and that it takes many resources financially and in other ways to help with medical issues. Also, finding locations for clinics and other health buildings within New York is a difficult task. Which the city having so much commercial and residential property already, there’s not really any space to build a location, and then it’s hard to find a location for rent or sale that isn’t to expensive. With gentrification in neighborhoods such as Bed-Stuy on the rise, the prices for these spaces are increasing tremendously. So not only is the cost of the space expensive, but the equipment and the properly trained professionals necessary are as well.

I would love to possibly help in this area in the future however I can. Right now I don’t know how that will happen, but whichever way I can I would try and do so in the future.

Epidemiology Reflection #1

In Epidemiology class we were broken into groups and assigned a borough to figure out a health care issue and design a health clinic that works with people of that borough. My group was assigned to work with Staten Island and we found that Staten Island had one of the lowest percentages of people who have been tested for HIV. While looking through many of the other categories on the Community Health Survey, I found that many places throughout the city did not have access to many features of health care that we take for granted. Many neighborhoods did not have very high percentages of health insurance and there was a vast gap of those who did not receive needed medical care with, one the district that had the highest percentage being nine times larger than the smallest percentage. Through doing this process I learned how hard it can be to actually make a health care clinic; one of the largest problems was finding a location that many people had access to and also making sure that the price is within reason, in Staten Island cost was not as large of an issue as it was in the other boroughs but we did have a lot of trouble trying to find a place that would be convenient for the population. As a 16 year old I am unsure of how I would be able to make an impact in health care inequity but it would be something that I would be interested in learning about for the future.

Ellie’s Experience with the Go Project

Over the summer of 2016 I interned with the Go Project, an organization in New York City that aims to bridge the educational gap that our city’s public school system is faced with.  Go Project distinguishes itself from other organizations of its kind by helping the children who are struggling the most in their schools.  This is unique because most services and organizations serve the students who are succeeding the most.  Effectively, kids who are already struggling in their schools continue to do so in increasingly magnified proportions, while others who are succeeding are the ones given the resources to further succeed.  

My days at the Go Project were divided into two sections: professional development and class time.  During professional development, I along with other interns discussed a variety of topics including segregation in New York City public schools, diversity and privilege, and educational equity.  Each week we were given several articles concerning one of these subjects and then had to write a reflection based on a query and the thoughts the articles evoked in us.  While I had always advocated the importance of education, as it plays a primary role in the ability for one to be socially and economically mobile and limits the presence of an aristocratic society,  these sessions helped to enhance my understanding of the importance of educational equity as well as the various elements that plague our city’s education system today.  Following the professional development sessions I would teach 3 music classes for first grade students.  The students’ day began with the academic classes, like English, math, and science, and ended with enrichment classes, such as karate, music, and improv/drama.  

Epidemiology Reflection #1

My group focused on the health issues in Queens. After much research, we found that  Queens used to have a huge HIV problem. The amount of people in Queens with HIV was greater than all of New York City combined. Although today this is no longer true, my group wanted to open an HIV clinic in Rockaway, a region that used to have an extremely high amount of HIV diagnoses per year. My group chose to open this clinic because we believed that although the amount of diagnoses per year has decreased significantly in Rockaway and people have a much easier time accessing clinics, the amount of people in Rockaway still living with HIV is pretty high. The goal of our clinic wasn’t just to provide testings, but it is to educate people on HIV and to help people live with HIV. Our Clinic would not only teach people ages 14-60+ on how to reduce risky sexual behavior, but we would also provide easily accessible HIV tests and ensure high-quality treatment of all HIV-infected people in order to prevent new HIV infections and AIDS. 

 

It was much harder to find a health issue in a concentrated region that most people experienced or were effected by. At first, my group searched to find a health issue that all of Queens was effected by or at least a particular region. Initially, we could not find anything, because there was no region in which most people all had the same exact health problem. My group found that there were so many health issues in the neighborhood and we could not open a clinic that could address all of them. We therefore decided to chose one issue to focus on; HIV in Rockaway, where the highest rates of death from HIV are. It was frustrating at first because our clinic only addresses a small group of people – those living with HIV, but then we decided to open up a clinic that could help people not just with HIV. That is why we chose to have classes that would be open to anyone and everyone regardless of the area they lived in or their relation to HIV.

 

After examining numerous New York City Health Surveys and health reports, I got a much better insight into the most common health issues in New York City and the areas in which they are most prevalent. I often don’t think of health issues in terms of neighborhood, borough, or city, but doing so really helped me understand the general trends of sickness/access to health care/curing illness. The poorer neighborhoods in the city tend to have much higher rates of illness and lower access to health care. Seeing this really motivated me to take action and help change the way the health care system in New York City functions and to make it much more accessible, affordable, and available.

Alexander’s Tobago Service Reflection

Over the summer I visited Tobago with the boys varsity soccer team. We worked with an organization called Kleats for Kids to provide cleats and other soccer gear to the schools we visited. Before the trip I collected pairs of used cleats from my friends to be distributed in Tobago. In Tobago we would host volunteer soccer clinics, basically simple run throughs of how we practice, and afterwards we would pass out the cleats and gear. The clinics were amazing experiences, we got to meet and train with kids our age to as young as 5. Everyone was incredibly welcoming. We led clinics at Warren and Sherwin’s old high school, and with a team that they had been on for years when they were younger. Meeting the principle of their high school, and the coach that had trained them were incredibly memorable experiences. After the clinics we often would play against some of the students we had trained with. Not only did we train and play soccer in Tobago, we also explored and learned about the island. On the first day Warren brought us to get doubles, a breakfast snack made of a pancake and chickpea stew which everyone proceeded to spill. We also went to a waterfall called Argyle Falls where everyone had a great time exploring the river and jumping off of the rocks. The trip to Tobago was something I’ll never forget.

Kleats for Kids

Alex’s Schedule Generator Update

Last year, I figured out how to add my eight day schedule to Google Calendar by creating the events as a spreadsheet and then importing them. In the process, I realized that I could write a program that others in the community could use to generate spreadsheets and import their own schedules into Google Calendar. Using my basic knowledge of HTML, CSS, and Javascript, I created a simple website that allowed users to input their schedules and download a generated spreadsheet. I eventually presented my generator so that others could use it. It felt great to know that my work was helping others keep organized and adjust to the new schedule. (For more information, see my relfection from last year.)

This year, I updated the dates of classes in the generator for the new school year. I also made the repeat function easier to use and added an option to repeat class twice per cycle. Additionally, I redesigned the website and added clearer instructions on how to use it. I also moved the website from Google Drive to Github in order to have a more reliable website and a simpler, more memorable url. The new link is https://schedule-gen.github.io/. I hope these updates will make the generator easier for people to use and that it will continue to contribute to the community in the future.

Bailey’s Experience at the GO Project

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This past summer, I interned at the GO Project for five weeks. With its teaching staff comprised of teachers, students (both college and high school), and learning specialists, the GO Project strives to catch students up in school who are falling behind in under-performing public schools, making use of valuable player in summer time as well as Saturdays during the school year. As of now, the GO Project has four locations: Friends, LREI, GCS, Grace Church Elementary, and Avenues. However, this summer, classes only took place at GCS, Grace Church Elementary, and Avenues. While some interns like myself were placed in morning classes, others helped out in afternoon electives such as yoga, rugby, and drama.

In my 4th grade classroom at Grace Church Elementary, I, along with another intern from Bard HS, assisted the Head Teacher, Student Teacher, and Teaching Assistant. We began the day at 8:45 a.m. and met our students in the big gym, where the entirety of the teaching and student body gathered for Harambee, where we sang songs/chants to foster a sense of community despite our separate classrooms and grade-levels. Occasionally, my TA would play songs such as the “Cha Cha Slide,” and students would rush into the center of the gym and get in formation. After Harambee, we went to our classroom and began morning meeting. Usually, we would greet each other and either share something about our day or play a game. We’d work on Math Centers, Math Games, and Reading in the morning. The teachers would split the students up into groups to work on the problem we read aloud on the board, which involved fractions. After working in their notebooks, the Head Teacher would have individual students solve it on the board. As expected, most students preferred Math Games, such as Multiplication Bingo or War. The teachers would facilitate the games and clear up any confusion. Throughout the summer, the GO students worked on mini-essays concerning longer recesses, chocolate milk in schools, and the reduction of homework. We helped them structure the essay and fine tune the intricacies of their argument. I particularly enjoyed one title: “Homework Don’t Be Fresh and Spicy with Me.”

Eventually, we’d break for lunch, and the interns would to Professional Development (PD), where we’d discuss classroom incidents, racism, diversity, equity, and education. I enjoyed having the opportunity to share ideas with other teenagers especially since the topics in question possess no clear solution. Every week, a different group of inters would lead an inter-led presentation. My group was assigned “Making a Difference,” and chose to facilitate a game of jeopardy in which the prize was a container of munchkins from Dunkin’ Donuts.

Our Head Teacher permitted us a lunch break of 30 minutes after PD. When we returned, the students were usually reading an article, essay-writing, or learning about government. They had just come from recess and were either exhausted or energized, making it hard to motivate them to work. Shortly, they would leave the classroom and head off to their afternoon activities at 2:00 p.m., when the day ended for us interns.

I loved my time at the GO Projected and was surprised how quickly these five weeks passed and how much I enjoyed the routine and structure it provided me with. I cherish the unique relationships I formed with the students. One boy kept complaining that the “chicken” took his snack and reprimanded me for being “so fresh and spicy with [him]” every time I told him to do his work. A girl taught me a dance she made for her musical.ly and made a secret handshake with me. Another girl sang “If I Ain’t Got You” at the final show at the end of the summer and cried tears of joy after the audience applauded her. This past summer, I’ve learned to value my education, relationships, privileges, and ability to help others.

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In the gym for Harambee

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The Interns