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.

Petra’s Assisting Experience

Every Thursday afternoon this school year I assisted my instructors in teaching a level one class at my ballet school, Ballet Academy East on 92nd and third avenue http://www.balletacademyeast.com . The students in the class were between the ages of six and eight. Most of them live or go to school in the neighborhood and have completed a year or two of pre-ballet classes at Ballet Academny East. Level one is the first year in which they can begin their pre-professional training. They were asked to face the mirror at the free standing barres in the center of the studio. My teachers taught them the names of the most basic steps and the ways in which they must be done. My role was to catch and fix their mistakes and demonstrate new exercises. The teachers and I emphahised that they listen to the music, develop their turn out muscles, and improve their flexibility. It was a wonderful experience to watch the students pick up the language and expectations of ballet. The class also reminded me of the principle ideas and goals of the artform that I have sometimes lost in taking more advanced classes.  I was happy to be able to share a passion and discipline with younger students. I am confident that the class will shape how they approach whatever they end up doing in life.


Petra’s Summer Service

This past summer I spent the beginning of August at my house in the northern Catskills. For as long as we have had a house there we have been supporting a place called Heather Ridge Farm (http://heather-ridge-farm.com/) that raises free-range animals, produces honey from bees, and serves lunch on the weekends. This summer was the first time I was able to help out the owner of the farm, an extraordinary woman named Carol Clements. Carol raises sheep, goats, chickens, cows, geese, turkey, and lamas. The farm is run year long by herself, her husband, and two interns who are preparing to own their owns farms one day. From day I arrived to the day I said goodbye, I was put to work feeding the chickens and pigs, herding the goats and sheep, bottle feeding lambs, giving shots and vitamins to baby goats, packing sheep into trucks to be driven to the slaughter house, setting up field fencing, gathering the chickens’ eggs, painting chairs for a fundraising dinner, and pulling weeds in the flower and vegetable gardens.  There was never a time while it was still light out when anybody on the farm didn’t have a duty. The interns who worked there were very kind to have accepted me as fifteen year old city girl who never worked on a farm in a day in her life. They taught me a lot about the animals and plants we were taking care of and how such a farm operates. Not only did the experience introduce me to new smells and methods of agriculture but it also made me realize the strong dependency that the animals had on us and how dependent we were on them.

ll3     lh1