Health and Life Sciences students from DMU have gained vital real-world insights, which they plan to use in their future careers, as part of the university’s third mass #DMUglobal trip to New York.
Some 25 students, from HLS programmes including Nursing, Midwifery, Health Studies, Pharmacy and Sociology are part of a ‘Poverty in New York’ programme of visits, which is giving them an insight into inequalities in healthcare and social justice in a major world city.
The trip kicked off with a visit to City University of New York’s (CUNY’s) Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy, where students discussed its work on equity in education, social justice in educational achievement and the school’s insights on poverty and health inequalities.
CUNY Professor Nevin Cohen talked to the DMU party about the work of inner city farms in New York, where housing authority tenants grow fresh produce to eat themselves and sell to the community.
And Emily Foster, a third-year learning disability nursing student, said she could see how the insights gained could be transferred to her future career.
“We did a module last year on health inequalities and the impact they have,” she said.
“This sort of project could alleviate some of the problems associated with poor nutrition, and that poor nutrition leading to long-term health conditions.
“I definitely think this will stay with me in my work, perhaps as a project outside of my full-time job where we create a community space where, if people put in the time, they get the reward of the fresh produce.
“It would be especially valuable for young people who would gain education and skills that would be transferable.”
Third-year Midwifery student Christie Ingham could also see benefits applying to her role post-DMU.
“I was looking from the mother side of it and the new people they are bringing into the world. We need healthy mothers.
“Unhealthy mothers has a massive knock-on effect to the NHS, the family, the community, as well as the baby.
“We need to promote healthy living right from the beginning and work with the mothers to do so.
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“There are some schemes in England already where mothers get vouchers for milk and vegetables, but they are going to feel more reward if they are given the skills to grow the produce themselves.”
Also at CUNY, the students got the heads-up on ideas being rolled out in the USA, which could make their way across the pond, including the Together 5000 research project and research into Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP).
PrEP is when people at very high risk for HIV take medicines daily to lower their chances of getting infected. Daily PrEP is said to reduce the risk of getting HIV from sex by more than 90%. Among people who inject drugs, it reduces the risk by more than 70%.
In a wide-ranging programme, the group also visited the Coalition for the Homeless, at St Bart’s Church, off Lexington Avenue, to work on the preparation of food parcels and distribution to the homeless.
And they travelled to the HIV Law Project, in Brooklyn, which provides free legal services to New York City residents living with HIV.
Aside from their academic activities, students will be participating in DMU’s second #JoinTogether summit at the United Nations, which will update on the university’s work to improve perceptions of refugees, migrants and asylum seekers.
Trip lead Bertha Ochieng, DMU professor of integrated health and social care, said: “Having this experience of volunteering and direct engagement with homeless people in another city as well as participating in the UN event is excellent for the students’ CVs.
“It all fits in very well with their curriculum on how inequalities affects people’s health and wellbeing.
“It will help them once out in practice to not just think about the work being done in the NHS but think about wider community initiatives and how they can also improve health and wellbeing.”
Christie paid tribute to #DMUglobal, DMU’s major international experience scheme, for allowing her the opportunity to take part in such eye-opening activities.
She said: “I have been to New York before but I’m seeing it in a different light now and it’s good to have those two perspectives. I would not have been able to do this without #DMUglobal.”
Posted on Thursday 7th June 2018