Eric Tang’s Unsettled is an ethnographic account of Cambodian refugees in the Bronx, New York that evokes a nuanced understanding of the refugee experience. Unlike many other ethnographies, Tang’s work centers around one individual named Ra Pronh, a fifty year old woman who survived the Cambodian genocide and has lived as a refugee for most of her life. The bulk of his work draws upon two main sources: Tang’s notes that are gathered from his work as a community organizer in refugee neighborhoods and his interviews with Ra Pronh over a three year time period. Throughout his interviews with Ra, Tang often encountered a language barrier with her. There were times where Ra’s children would translate her words from Khmer to English for Tang to
After college, I became a medical anthropologist to help create structural change that would one day improve the system that contributes to the social inequalities that cause to poor health. My plan didn’t work. While my
For the podcast, I interviewed Lina Abdulnoor, with the intention of exploring the intricacies of refugeehood by analyzing Lina’s refugee experience. Lina lived in Iraq with her family until they began receiving death threats due to their religious beliefs. Convinced that they needed to flee the country to survive, they left Iraq as refugees. After leaving Iraq, they settled in Jordan, where they waited two years until the U.N. to approve their request to move to the U.S. in 2012. Lina and her family initially settled in Virginia, where she experienced culture shock as she adapted to American culture and the English language. However, Lina did not feel accepted in Virginia; her experiences in the state led her to think that Americans treated her according to negative stereotypes of Iraqis. After living in Virginia for several months, Lina and her family chose to resettle in San Diego, California, which harbored a larger Iraqi population than Virginia did. Supported by San Diego’s Iraqi community and various refugee organizations, Lina flourished, and she currently studies at UCSD while holding a stable job.
These interests and my detail-oriented organizational skills, determination and compassion have instilled within me the goal of a goal career in facilitating international humanitarian aid. My recent involvement with tutoring refugees in Elizabeth, New Jersey has really opened my eyes to the many problems people face daily and given me social consciousness
Growing up in a refugee settlement and later in a low-income immigrant family with limited access to healthcare, I understand the importance of addressing the socioeconomic disparities in health. Whether it is organizing workshops on hygiene for Tibetan refugees in rural India or providing HIV testing and counseling to the local Asian LGBT community in the Twin Cities, I am driven to improve the health of vulnerable populations. In addition to the excellent medical education and early clinical exposure, what really draws me to Geisel School of Medicine is the Urban Health Scholars Program (UHS). As an Urban Health scholar, I look forward to exploring the intersection of race, refugee or immigrant status, LGBT identity and health. Given my strong
When I first arrived at UC Davis as an undergraduate, I was unaware of what global health was. Although my interests aligned with health topics, such as disease prevention and improving health literacy, I did not explore any other graduate degrees besides an M.D. However, my career plans changed when I joined a public health advocacy group called RIVER (Recognizing Illnesses Very Early and Responding). RIVER prioritized educating underserved populations in Davis and the Greater Sacramento area about how essential preventive care is to one’s health. Through my participation in the organization as a board member, I learned more about preventive care and applied that knowledge by teaching underprivileged communities about how to make healthier lifestyle changes through exercise and nutrition. This organization’s
I want to evoke change in the world. Enrolling in Medical Anthropology in my last year opened my eyes to how pervasive structural violence is globally and how it disproportionally affects the health of the most vulnerable people in society. Specifically, I was inspired by Paul Farmer, a physician/anthropologist who went to great lengths to provide medical care to people of the third world and raise awareness for countless human rights violations. I have aspirations of one day working for the WHO in order to put into fruition plans that would benefit not only the country which I will reside and work in, but also humanity universally. My experience at a local Toronto hospital has enabled me to see what it really means to be a doctor. Being a doctor entails much more than assessing a patient and prescribing them medication. One must empathize with the plight of his/her patients.
I have always been aware of global issues and needing to understand what is happening in the world has always been important to me. However, I never understood global concerns through a health paradigm. Many of the concepts presented in this course were not new to me, as I have been an active participant in global issues and organizations, such as Spread the Net Campaign to end malaria, as well as many different human rights causes. However, the new insight I gained was in regards to
Change can only happen when one is able to speak out about it. In the short story The Friday that Everything Changed, Alma speaks out, so the social norms can be questioned, and redeveloped. While reading the story, one can also infer that her question was strange, as the teachers would “just [burst] out laughing at Alma right away” (pg 2). Alma starts questioning the system, wondering, “Why can’t girls go for water too?” (pg 2). This leads the rest of the girls, who become intoxicated by this idea, to follow along trying to induce change. In the result of speaking out, the girls got to carry the water bucket. Although it is difficult to discuss more sensitive subjects, silence is a heavier burden.
Before my time abroad, I found that it was very easy to become caught up in the trivial aspects of life and forget to be grateful for the opportunities readily available to me. Suffering, poverty, and oppression are common in parts of the world and while I may never fully understand what people who face these challenges go through on a daily basis, I feel that it is important to utilize my education and experience to help alleviate these stresses on the global community. I wholeheartedly believe that continuing my education and working with the professionals at an institution abroad will provide me with the knowledge and experience to obtain a meaningful position in the Health Economics and Policy arena.
Failing to let this hinder my momentum, I persevered and prevailed. I received a Master of Public Health degree with a concentration in global health and health disparities. While the coursework was beneficial and stimulating, it was deficient in illuminating the importance of culture and its effect on disease and disease transmission. Luckily, with my anthropological undergraduate education I was able to bridge that gap and it would be put to the test on my next venture — a public health volunteer with the Peace Corps in
I believe in the power of Fridays. They hold a special place in my heart. Since I was three years old I’ve looked forward to them every week. The reasons have changed over the years, but I still have the same excitement for Friday as I did a decade ago.
Upon graduation, I wanted to work to help people suffering from poverty and ill health, so I joined a public health service program in Meet Ghamr General Hospital; located in a small, isolated village. People were mostly poor farmers working all day long under glaring sunlight, cultivating huge amounts of onion and garlic. I took on a huge responsibility of taking primary care of about two-thousand residents as their only physician.
Although volunteers for Medecins Sans Frontiers are commonly stationed in various countries with a dire healthcare worker shortage, regions with refugee camps and internally displaced persons are also a focus for this organization. Refugees and internally displaced persons often come from war torn regions and live in close confines with poor sanitation and limited resources. These living situations become a breeding ground for diseases and other health issues like malnutrition, yet the individuals lack access to any sort of healthcare. The organization also responds quickly when regions suddenly experience an increased need for healthcare, for example in times of an epidemic or a natural disaster. Medecins Sans Frontiers’ involvement across its varying regions and their attempt to address a broad spectrum of healthcare truly show how altruistic the organization is to individuals regardless of race, gender, or religion.
When I sat down with Lal in my cubicle chair in the darkest corner of the office, little did I know that it was going to be one of my very first emotionally intense and empowering conversations of my career. Lal was my first refugee client at the International Rescue Committee (IRC), a humanitarian aid organization that resettles refugees, where I had started my internship in Public Health. My role as a Public Health Intern was to support and assist refugees to navigate the intricacies of healthcare and other social services system as they walked their road to self-sufficiency and assimilation into a new culture. It was Monday, and the Health Team had walk-in hours for individuals who needed assistance. I introduced myself to Lal with my biggest smile and greeting in Nepali: "Namaste."