Last night, my group performed two skits for our Community Organizing for Health Education class (HBHE 640) with MOSES (Metropolitan Organizing Strategy Enabling Strength) at the Central United Methodist Church in Detroit. We had a blast and wanted to share them with you!
Posts Tagged ‘Class Project’
In the real world, many public health activities are the result of the hard work of interdisciplinary teams. The educational process at U-M SPH is no different. Some classes, like introductory biostatistics and epidemiology, don’t use formal groups for assignments, but many people find it useful to do homework and study for exams in group settings.
Last semester, I took a special topics class on group facilitation in public health practice. Throughout the semester, different students practiced facilitating the whole class through some situation, mostly based on the experiences of members of the groups. Most groups did role-plays and assigned roles to the rest of the class so we knew how to participate. For one of my group’s presentations, we took a news story about some people not getting properly diagnosed with HIV in another country. Our group acted as if we were a group of international facilitators from the U-M School of Public Health going to the Ministry of Health of the country of interest. We decided to get dressed up in nice pants and collared shirts, but to still represent U-M… we had fun with it and the presentation ended up going really well!
For one of the introductory Health Behavior & Health Education classes (651), we work in groups to create a draft funding proposal. This really mirrors the real world, because there are often a variety of health experts, from epidemiologists to biostatisticians, on the team writing the grant proposal. For 651, my4-person group has spent many hours together editing our proposal, from grammar to content to the images used. Going in to the project, we did not anticipate that the work would take so much time – so for next year’s students: plan ahead and prepare to meet together A LOT! The silver lining is that our group gets along really well together and we often meet at each others’ houses – and our team has good cooks! FYI: food makes group work go by more quickly
What do you think of group work? I like it!
Last week I went to southwest Detroit for a class project. Besides going to the city for football games, baseball games and concerts, I had only been in southwest Detroit once before- last spring during the cinco de mayo celebration in Clark Park. The two experiences were quite different: the cinco de mayo celebration was a party, there was music, hundreds of people, and lots of delicious food. Last Friday was every day life in Southwest Detroit, and nothing like a party.
The class project requires us to develop a program in an organization- ours is Detroit REACH, which focuses on diabetes and obesity in southwest and the eastside of Detroit. One of the staff members (though they only have three of them, on top of being completely underfunded) was kind enough to give us a driving tour of the neighborhood.
Now, I, like most other Public Health students, have read oodles of journal articles about the state Detroit is in. The once great city is in shambles. Somehow I did not truly understand or even visualize the extend to which Detroit has collapsed. The parks were full of trash, houses (once beautiful and regal) were now empty, falling apart, or burned out, the streets were full of massive potholes caused by the stinking diesel trucks that cross the bridge from Canada, day in and day out.
The whole experience in Detroit after having been a student at SPH, after hours of homework and reading, after lectures about the deteriorating health in American cities, after the statistics and numbers, I think back on a poem I wrote when I was 16. I was a creative writing major in college and thought that my writing would somehow make a difference in the world. I wrote the poem after I went to Detroit to see the Tigers for the first time:
I never knew her
Knew only her love handle suburbs
But I hear murmurs about the city
And now I finally know
The city is breathing
Hybernating cave bear
She is sleeping
I know by the nostrils fogging white
Like my own
I know by the off beat rhythm dancing in her streets
I know by the crowds of wild animals
Lions and tigers and men
She has grass growing in between her fingers
Toes lips sprouting spreading
Unstoppable words of one day
I will wake up
She is exhausted
Years of car make car break
Years of smoky bars were piano men
And paradise birds used to sing
She is sleeping off the blood and water
Sleeping off the hunger
And gang, rape, drive by.
Any day now she will get up
Curl out of fetus spread her limbs
She will get up and dance
The way she used to
The earth will tremble and the sky will fall
And through it all
Everyone will smile.
What I realize now, that I didn’t know then is that it takes people like my group to revive the city. It takes people seeing and experiencing these communities were sickness and chronic diseases are rampant, were stress is through the roof, and care is often unattainable. I now know that change isn’t automatic, inevitable, or someone else’s job. It is your job, and my job, and our job as a community.
And now, instead of just writing about it, I can actually try to DO something about it.
For more photographs about the decline of Detroit, click here!