I am back in Chapel Hill, where I am self-quarantining for fourteen days as I wrap up my practicum. To complete my products, I am writing a report to summarize my work over the past two months, including a logic model describing the peer support program in the Dominican Republic, a literature review of the evidence base for such programs, and a compilation of instruments that are commonly used in evaluations of such programs.
I am grateful to my preceptor, the community health workers, doctors, and researchers from Chronic Care International who have been extremely resourceful, flexible, and patient in guiding me throughout my practicum. I have learned a lot about how to listen to and prioritize the needs of the community and organization while being mindful of the financial and time barriers they face. In some ways, working remotely has provided me with a unique opportunity to practice reflecting on my biases for my future work. Since I am not in the Dominican Republic because of the coronavirus-related travel constraints, I wonder if some opportunities for biases, such as those introduced from my perceptions of being in and experiencing a foreign country, are reduced. Instead of falling into a false sense of security about my knowledge of the context for having spent time there physically, it was easy to recognize that I know very little – for I have never even been to the Dominican Republic – and therefore needed to rely heavily on the word of local experts to describe the context, program, and patients, which is probably how it should always be anyway.