PHAST Biloxi Trip Recap! Better late than never!



So over the past two weeks, I have been fortunate to sit down with three lovely ladies to talk about their experiences on the trip to Biloxi, Mississippi, with the Public Health Action Support Team (PHAST) during Fall Break this past semester! Just another example of how you can put the knowledge you’re learning in the classroom into practice! 🙂

The PHAST group left for Biloxi on Thursday, October 13th and came back to Ann Arbor Sunday, October 16th. While in Mississippi, the team worked with the University of Mississippi and the nonprofit Visions of Hope. Here is the snippet about their trip:

“Students from the University of Mississippi and the University of Michigan partnered with Visions of Hope to qualitatively assess changes in the East Biloxi, Mississippi community. We inquired about change that has occurred over the past five years, notably since Hurricane Katrina devastated the area in 2005, with specific topics of interests including population shift, health care, education, employment, and housing. Students qualitatively interviewed residents of East Biloxi who were willing to participate. The results of the interviews will be used to develop a quantitative survey regarding change in the community that will be administered in the spring of 2012 in both Biloxi and the delta region of Mississippi. The final results of the quantitative survey will be shared with local agencies and service providers so that they may better address their clients’ needs.”

Here are a few of the highlights from the conversations I had with Alena Perez, Allison Yee, and Hillary Craddock:

Alena, 1st year, HBHE:

M: The trip was during winter break?  How did that work for the students?

Alena: The trip was before winter break, during fall break.  Time management was key.  It was definitely manageable because it was a short trip and allowed for 3 days remaining of fall break to study.

M: Tell me about the people you met.

Alena: Everyone we partnered with was great, friendly, and easy to get along with.  I did not hear of anyone specifically having or encountering any negative people or situations within the community.  Of course not everyone agreed to interview, but many were open and very receptive.  It was overall a wonderful experience and I am curious how the project will proceed with the May trip.

Allison, 1st year, EHS:

M: The trip was during Winter break? How did that work for the students?

Allison: I had just come out of undergrad – it was fine to keep going. While it would have been nice to have taken the break, the experience was worth it.

M: Did you get any downtime on the trip?

Allison: The group went out to dinner one night and it was fun. There’s not too much to do in Biloxi, the casinos are the major form of entertainment.

 Hillary, 1st year, EPID:

M: Tell me about the people you met.

Hillary: We met a lot of people who were working to improve the community, both through Visions of Hope and out in the field. The people at VoH were dedicated to meeting the needs of the community, and they were eager to brainstorm with us on potential new programming. We heard many stories from people who helped recover after Katrina or were helping to clean up after the oil spill.

M: Did you get any downtime?

Hillary: We got some downtime in the evenings, and we were able to experience tasty local seafood and BBQ.

PHAST in Biloxi, MS

Thank you Allison, Alena, Hillary, and Dana!

And Happy Finals / Holiday Season Y’all! 🙂

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