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Global Health diplomats share knowledge with fellow students

Global health diplomats present information and advice to undergraduate nursing students preparing to promote health in South Africa.

College of Nursing students serving as global health diplomats are sharing their international experience with fellow nursing students before those students leave to promote health in foreign countries.

Ruth McDermott-Levy, PhD, RN, associate professor and director of the Center for Global and Public Health, established the diplomat program to provide outreach for the Center. “Diplomats will be visiting classes that include an international (in-country) component and sharing experiences and strategies to partner with our in-country partners with respect and cultural humility,” she explains.

On March 15, a group of nursing students who will travel to South Africa in May as part of an international field study in nursing heard from diplomats Sr. Jackline Mayaka ’15 BSN- a master’s level student studying education- and two second degree accelerated BSN students Lesley Allenby and Randi Walsh. Allenby and Walsh are also Coverdell Fellows, having served in the Peace Corps.

Lesley Allenby (left) and Sr. Jackline Mayaka, two global health diplomats from the College's Center for Global and Public Health, share their international experience with students.

The diplomats reviewed with the students the seven themes of Catholic social teaching relating those themes to promoting health at international sites.  The diplomats addressed Life and Dignity of the Human Person; Call to Family, Community, and Participation; Rights and Responsibilities; Option for the Poor and Vulnerable; The Dignity of Work and the Rights of Workers; Solidarity and Care for God’s Creation. They also discussed being culturally sensitive, for example learning a few words in the local language and modest dressing, and the importance of communication especially through gestures.  The students learned about involving the community in the work, for example using resources available in the community; being aware of what supplies are available locally in the host country to allow for sustainability, and to be open to learning new ideas and also to be ready to teach (health education).

The global health diplomats have fascinating backgrounds.

Sr. Jackline is a member of the Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph from Kenya. She worked as a charge nurse in primary health care clinics in rural communities that provided maternal-child health care and gained vast experience as she worked closely with communities, encouraging members to embrace health promotion behaviors. She is trained as a HIV /AIDS health care provider and worked as HIV/AIDS coordinator under the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) Kenya (AIDSRelief) program, with special emphasis on Prevention of Maternal Child Transmission of HIV.

Allenby was a health education provider in the Peace Corps in Guyana in South America. She administered health clinics for children to evaluate their growth, assisted in deliveries of children in the home setting, and co-facilitated chronic disease clinics. She holds a BS in Health Science with a minor in Healthcare Administration from California State University, Chico.

Walsh taught English as a second language in Dodoma, Tanzania as well as helped organize and facilitate a 4-day girls empowerment conference that educated local residents on life skills and health issues. She previously attended Western Washington University and completed a BA in Psychology.