I am Feeling all of the Feelings
2nd Year, MPH Candidate
It is now less than a week until our flight to Grenada, and I am feeling all of the feelings.
On the one hand, I am excited. Academically, I have been keen on developing my skills in data collection, analysis, and evaluation, especially with regard to global communities. Our trip to Grenada offers me a unique opportunity to engage with these global communities and apply the epidemiological skills I have been honing over the past couple of years. I am also thrilled to be meeting and working with new people. I am eager to physically meet and continue my work with our on-site partners in Grenada. Of course, it also does not hurt that we are traveling to Grenada - a beautiful, culturally diverse country that I have never been able to visit before!
On the other hand, I am incredibly nervous!
I am nervous about the nature of our work and the types of experiences we may have. Public health is incredibly important. At a large scale, public health evaluations and interventions can protect the health of communities and populations.
Though, public health can also include some very complex and sensitive topics.
For example, in my project, my collaborators and I are focusing on sexual and reproductive health in Grenada. Through our research and conversations with stakeholders, we have learned that there is a significant need to understand current thoughts and realities regarding sexual and reproductive health in the Grenadian community. Queries on sexual and reproductive health can often require respondents to be vulnerable and recall private and potentially traumatic experiences.
Consequently, it is nerve-wracking!
As a group, how do we ensure that we are doing everything we can to ensure the best interests of potential respondents?
How can we ensure that our work is effective and meaningful?
In these moments of fear and trepidation, I am encouraged by our partnerships and collaborators in Grenada. Not only am I able to work alongside incredible staff and students from the University of Michigan, but we are collaborating with students from St. George's University and associates at the Grenada Planned Parenthood Association. Among us, there are a variety of backgrounds and experiences. As public health investigators and practitioners, it is crucial that we are cautious and intentional with our work. I am hopeful that with our multidisciplinary team, we will be united and successful in our shared goal - ensuring a safe, inclusive, and effective sexual and reproductive health space for the people of Grenada.