CUGH and InterAction

What? – For my STEP experience I attended two conferences in Washington D.C. These conferences revolved around global health, and they were called Consortium of Universities for Global Health (CUGH) and InterAction: A Voice for Global Change. The purpose of me attending these conferences was to aid me in finding out if a future in a career revolving around global health was for me and in addition to that to learn more about what I could do to contribute to the betterment of the world around me. Both of these conferences allowed me to meet some of the most brilliant people ever and interact with them to strengthen my skills as both a student and as a leader.

So What? –The first conference I attended was Consortium of Universities for Global Health. When I first arrived at this conference, I was definitely intimidated by the people there. I was surrounded by congressman, CEO’s, heads of non-profits, people that did significant work overseas and the list is endless. As a result, I continually began to compare myself to who they were. This eventually turned into a good thing because I realized these comparisons made me want to strive to be like them. The work that these people had all talked about was nothing short of amazing. They worked day in and day out to help people who needed it most. Their stories were extremely effective in inspiring me, and most of all they put my own problems into perspective. They made me realize that I am truly blessed to have all that I do and I should never take it for granted, as there are millions of people that would take my place in a heartbeat. While at these conferences I spoke to many people about the work they did and the work of one man stood out to me. He was a clinical pharmacist that used to work in the states but now he works in a clinic in Africa. Talking with this man made me change my views on many things and he lead me to research things about the world around us for myself. In the end, he worked as a facilitator for a stronger interest in not only global health but the varying groups and cultures that can be found throughout the world. He brought back by curiosity, and that is something that I have found invaluable since then. At the second conference, InterAction, I began partaking in leadership seminars and courses that would effectively teach me how to manage my own non-profit, how to form the connections necessary to maintain one, and a number of other things. These courses have changed how I approach my current non-profit work and will most certainly impact any future work.

Now What? –Before meeting the pharmacist at CUGH, I had never considered pharmacy a career path I would take. However that has now changed. I have shadowed a few clinical pharmacists and retail pharmacists. In addition to that I have explored potentially obtaining a Masters in Public Health in order to further my work in the non-profit sector. This is a radical change from my previous desire to be an engineer. Although I liked engineering, when working in anything relating to the betterment of people I have a much greater desire and drive to succeed. These conferences have also enabled me to begin looking into starting my own non-profit. Alongside a businessman from my hometown, we are working on putting together a group that will serve to educate underprivileged children and teenagers on different career areas that they never thought would interest them. In his own words “I wonder if my kids got into the same work I do because of how much they were exposed to it. If they had seen the other things they could have done would they have followed in my footsteps or forged their own path and been even happier?” Finding something you are passionate about can be difficult and without attending these conferences, I may never have been able to do that. In the future I hope to get a PharmD, do a residency in neo-natal care, and work overseas in some capacity. And after that, who knows? My life experiences at that point may drive me to do something that I couldn’t imagine myself doing right now. I do know that when it comes to it, I will always keep an open mind.