Jenny is a MS/PhD student in the division of Health Policy and Administration. A recipient of the Douglas Passaro Global Horizons Scholarship, Jenny traveled to Amman, Jordan during the summer of 2016 to intern with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). At UNRWA, Jenny performed a field study to gather information in the use of antihypertensive medications and hypertension control among Palestine refugees in Jordan. As Jenny's first field study, it was incredibly challenging and rewarding. During her studies she has been involved in research of medicines to prevent and treat chronic illness with Dr. Qato from the Department of Pharmacy Systems, Outcomes, and Policy at the College of Pharmacy. Dr. Qato recommended Jenny for this position and supervised her research project.
In what ways did you prepare for your global practicum?
Before I left for Amman I tried to learn as much as I could about the Jordanian culture. Expats can save a lot of headaches if they can avoid the most common faux pas. This being said, culture shock will always occur when you’re in a new culture. Thankfully, Jordanians are among the kindest people one could meet. Colleagues, neighbors, and even strangers all helped me navigate Amman; both physically and socially. The most important thing is to be open to the help your new community is eager share! (Most are also eager to learn about Americans.)
What was the most valuable thing you learned through your global professional experience?
As cliché as this might sound, the most valuable thing I learned during my experience was to be open. Open to what? Help, criticism, and differing perspectives. I spent weeks studying the UNRWA health delivery system. But within a week in Amman I had a completely different and deeper understanding about the strengths and weaknesses of the system. I even had to redesign my proposed study given the on the ground realities. I could only have gained that knowledge by listening with an open mind.
What advice would you give to current global health students?
Find a good advisor. I met Dr. Qato in 2015, after I took her class because I thought her research was interesting. She saw that I had a true passion about health equity and equitable access to medications and she helped me gain research experience with her and always has new ideas about how I can improve as a student and researcher. Her network even helped me get the internship in UNRWA. A good advisor is invaluable for all global health students.