Students and global health experts share their experiences working with communities.

Category: Sydney

Practicum Reflections in Preparation for the Start of Year 2

It seems crazy to think that we are all signed up for courses and getting ready for the second year to start. My practicum flew by and I am excited to have the opportunity to stay involved with the work as we start next semester. I am working with Kybele on a project called MEBCI 2.0 (Making Every Baby Count Initiative) which aims to improve quality of newborn care by using quality improvement, systems thinking/strengthening, and leadership trainings. Check out this paper to learn more about the first iteration of MEBCI! For my deliverables I am creating PowerPoint presentations and training manuals for (1) Models for Improvement and (2) PDSA (plan, do, study, act) for clinical providers in Ghana.

We were told from the start of practicum searching that there is no such thing as a “perfect practicum,” so I definitely feel like I lucked out. My work with Kybele, using quality improvement (QI) and systems thinking to improve neonatal and maternal outcomes, is exactly what I want to do in the future and gave me irreplaceable insights on the field. The best thing that came out of the practicum was being able to see the program design process from early on, from brainstorming competencies and training topics to drafting training materials. I’ll be working over the next few weeks to finalize these materials. Throughout, I have used materials from the Ghana Health Service and the National Healthcare Quality Strategy along with information from our project partners, mostly the American Academy of Pediatrics, in order to make sure that our trainings are the most relevant, usable, and built upon previous training experiences opposed to being redundant. I also spent a lot of time making sure that language was appropriate and consistent with materials that were already in circulation throughout the tertiary hospitals that Kybele is working within.

Although I was a little intimidated at the start of the practicum and felt like there was so much literature I needed to read in order to get myself speaking the same language as the team, I learn best by actively doing things and am grateful that the team allowed me to jump right into this project, consistently providing me with critical feedback along the way. It was also great to meet the team that I have been working with (in person!) before the practicum officially began and to have another Global Health student, Erin, working on the same MEBCI project. I’m excited to start next semester with this new perspective on program design and material development and look forward to continuing to work on similar projects in the Fall!

the best thing about practicums being remote? Getting to check off some major bucket list hikes/climbs, this is peak three of Olomana in Oahu!

The best thing about practicums being remote? Getting to check off some major bucket list hikes/climbs, this is peak three of Olomana in Oahu!

Hope everyone has a good rest of the summer!

Sydney

Silver Linings and Working Remotely

 A family of ducks I encountered on a recent lunch break kayaking trip!

A family of ducks I encountered on a recent lunch break kayaking trip!

Although I certainly did not see us doing remote practicums when I committed to come to Gillings in March 2020, I continue to try to find the silver linings in things being remote. One of my favorite silver linings is being able to prioritize being outside with family and friends, this also helps keep me motivated and energized when it comes to my practicum work.

My name is Sydney McIntire and I am a rising second year MPH Student in the Global Health Concentration. I am originally from Bradford, Vermont, where I am doing my remote practicum work this week. My background is in Community and International Development and the projects that I previously worked on have focused on nutrition and agriculture with primary school aged youth. Going into the MPH program I knew that I wanted to shift towards maternal and child health, so I am very excited to be working with UNC and Kybele on the Making Every Baby Count Initiative 2.0. MEBCI 2.0 is working towards improving advanced newborn care in four tertiary hospitals in Ghana by using quality improvement, systems thinking, and implementation strategies. These strategies are used to work on systems strengthening of healthcare facilities in which interventions to reduce neonatal mortality will eventually be implemented. During my practicum I’ll be working to create PowerPoint slides and a training manual for the quality improvement foundational training for staff at the four high referral tertiary hospitals.

The neighborhood cows and sunset after finishing up work on 6/4!

The neighborhood cows and sunset after finishing up work on 6/4!

I have always wanted to work in an organization that utilizes systems thinking so I am really excited that my practicum combines this with a focus on maternal and child health, it feels like the perfect match. My preceptor is a Gillings alum and it’s great to have someone who understands that position we are in and is dedicated to making it a mutually beneficial experience. I’m also looking forward to just having the opportunity to apply the skills we have begun to learn in classroom settings to real-world settings.

Here’s to always trying to find the silver linings

Sydney