A Work in Progress: Pre-Departure Reflections from a Public Health Student Going Abroad


Darius Moore

2nd Year, MPH, Health Behavior Health Education Candidate

 For many college students across the United States, the weeks leading up to spring break are always characterized as the final push before a week of warm weather and relaxation. For me and other students in the course Public Health 616, the weeks leading up to spring break have been filled with a mix of complicated emotions. 

In this public health course, students have the opportunity to collaborate with a national organization in Grenada, West Indies, on a project that will address existing and emerging health priorities as defined by the respective communities and their academic partners. My group is working with Red Cross Grenada to formulate guidelines for a new blood donation program. 

While this opportunity is incredibly exciting, it has been slightly intimidating to know that there are so many people and organizations depending on the outcome of our work. My team and I have been very proactive about finding adequate resources and support to ensure that we are on the right track to producing a final product that is relevant and sensitive to the needs and cultural context of our community partners. 

So far, we have been lucky to have a strong team dynamic, a good work ethic, and an engaging preceptor to guide us throughout this process. Something that I have been trying to keep in mind is to release perfectionist tendencies and attach my value as an academic and future public health practitioner to the outcomes of this project. What is most important is that we ethically engage with our community partners, remembering to practice cultural humility and community-based approaches, and to work towards something that achieves the goals of both my team and our community partners.