Active on Campus — Student stories of Global Health
Creativity and Adaptability Key to Peace Corps Service
Global environmental health sciences student Herre Echsner has a self-proclaimed “love affair with the Gulf Coast.” He was brought up in Gulf Breeze, Fla., a community situated on a peninsula in Pensacola Bay about five minutes from the Gulf of Mexico.
Proximity to the Gulf was one factor that led him to Tulane. The Master’s International (MI) program was another.
Tulane SPHTM boasts the largest MI program at a school of public health and the second largest overall. MI students complete their classroom experience toward an MPH or MSPH, then apply what they’ve learned in the Peace Corps.
Echsner’s Peace Corps experience took him to Paraguay, more than 4,000 miles away and, significantly, away from the Gulf Coast. Or any coast for that matter, since Paraguay is a land-locked country in the middle of South America.
“After being near the coast nearly all my life, it was very different,” says Echsner.
Although Echsner was taken on as a rural health and sanitation extensionist, he soon found himself working on a lot of different projects, not all of them directly related to the health sector. “Peace Corps requires you to be creative and innovative, adaptable when serving in the assigned community,” says Echsner. After conducting a community study and spending some time in his community, he looked beyond his main tasks and found there were other needs. more>>
Taisy Conk is Makin’ Groceries
If you spend any length of time around local New Orleanians, you are going to hear someone talk about “makin’ groceries,” which is the local lingo for grocery shopping.
For global community health and behavioral sciences student Taisy Conk, it’s more than a phrase; it’s been a student job and a way for her to apply her professional skills to nutrition research.
“It’s been nice to work with the Prevention Research Center because they do a lot of work in New Orleans,” says Conk. Makin’ Groceries is a project of the Prevention Research Center (PRC) and an effort to show how having a nearby grocery store can influence resident shopping and eating habits. more>>
A Local Global Perspective
The SPHTM’s strong focus on international health was one of the elements that drew Chris Gunther to the school, but it’s not what kept him here.
Originally from a rural community in the Shenandoah Valley, Gunther knew that he was drawn to cities and always knew that that an MPH was in his future. He anticipated that he would earn a degree, then go abroad to work.
A series of opportunities and a fair amount of luck changed all that.
To figure out how he got from a career abroad to one in the Crescent City, you have to go back to when Gunther graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. more>>