In Epidemiology, my group was charged with finding a health problem in the borough of Staten Island and creating a grant proposal for an initiative to help the population with that problem. In our research, my group and I found that a very low percentage of the population of S.I. had been tested for HIV, and that an even lower percentage used condoms when they engaged in sexual activities (which was shocking). Given this revelation, we decided to create a proposal for an HIV testing facility and general sexual health clinic in the most affected neighborhoods of Staten Island. It was kind of appalling to see that the more forgotten boroughs and the outer edges of our city are often neglected when it comes to healthcare, especially new developments in sexual health relating to HIV/AIDS. Although there were a couple of other similar clinics in the area, they were in limited areas and were only open for a few inconvenient hours a day.
In the process of creating a plausible proposal for our clinic, we got to see a little bit of how difficult it is to respond to healthcare inequality in our world. It was a challenge to find an affordable location for our clinic that was also easily accessible for the population of Staten Island, which is a borough with a relatively limited public transportation system. It was also hard to develop a budget that was suitable to the needs of a health clinic but still low enough that we could maintain the clinic for years to come. Thankfully, we were able to find several foundations willing to provide money for HIV clinics like ours.
This project made me and my group members much more aware of the health inequities that go on in the world and even the city we live in. We often forget about healthcare problems that don’t really affect us, but especially in more neglected places those issues can become very serious. I don’t know how I could help, but if I were given the opportunity to improve our healthcare system create a better situation for the multitude of unattended people out there, I would not hesitate to help out and try to balance the state of health in the world.