Today we were out at Hope House, a home for formerly abandoned girls that HBI has partnered with for almost a decade. We took a group of amazing nursing students from Linfield College. The students are in Perú with HBI on their J-term semester for a "population-global health course."
I get asked a lot why HBI spends so much time partnering with universities and colleges to create service learning experiences for health professions students. For me, the answer is very clear. To make the statistics . . . real!
We suffer from a problem of perspective in the world of population and global health. It is very easy for the big challenges plaguing the world to become lost in data sets and faceless statistics. When we talk about the global impact of unclean water in a lecture on global health in a classroom, it is hard for a student to see past the blur of numbers to imagine the suffering of an individual. It's hard to put a face to a number. But when you meet a person who is facing the challenges of inadequate potable water, unhygienic waste disposal, a lack of access to health services - when you meet them and spend time with them, and get to know them . . . and serve them . . .they can never be a statistic to you again
It was Jospeh Stalin of all people who once said, "the death of one person is a tragedy, the death of one million is a statistic." It is really hard for people to capture the suffering in the statistics. So, we use the service learnings trips to connect students and health professionals to the people behind the data. We use the trips to build bridges.
Are we changing the world with our service learning trips? I don't know. But what I do know, is this: the 13 nursing students and 2 professors who interacted with the girls and staff at Hope House are very different for their experience. I know. I just spent a whole day with them hearing about the new world that is opening to them.
We're building connections. Join us. Thank you.
The HBI Blog is a rotating journal from our staff. Our Blog is a series of messages from the field, insights from our work, and lessons in service.