Thursday, March 19, 2009

For me, one of the biggest differences between being a student of biology and a student of public health is the emotional exhaustion I now experience. Biology was a much more mentally demanding discipline- demanding memorization of countless organisms, structures, cell signalling pathways and the interactions between everything under the sun. Health Promotion, Education and Behavior places more strenuous demands on my heart than my mind. It also orders me to a careful reckoning of how my mind and heart are interacting- is my compassion for a particular situation leading me to jump to a solution, rather than deliberate over the best use of limited resources? How do I balance the urgency of life and death with the need to not be wasteful, to choose the best intervention?

This week I've been working on a short paper on the cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe, which has necessitated reading a vast quantity of UN "on the ground" reports. I sort of stumbled into this topic, having lived in Latin America during the epidemic of the 1990s. Cholera, that classic well- studied -yet- unsolved problem of public health, was what brought me into the field in the first place, so it's only fitting (though unintentional) that my first "real" paper be an attempt to wrestle with it.

"Knowledge alone is not enough to change behavior"
"An educational curriculum is NOT a health promotion program"

New mantras- they don't replace DNA => RNA => Protein though.

Bits and pieces...tools in a toolbox...

These things take time.

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