Archive for December, 2008|Monthly archive page

Recommendations make me nervous

Recommendations are the one part of the application process where you are truly at the mercy of individual schedules. The control freak part of me panics at having to rely on others until the application process is complete. The best thing that you can do for your peace of mind is to 1) ask early and 2) remind often. Even though I requested mine a month ago, I am still waiting on a few letters because schedules fill up quickly and tend to change at a moment’s notice. Luckily, my earliest deadline is still a month away.

To avoid a midnight dash to the post office, allow at least a month for your references to complete your letters. Also, make sure to have at least one backup reference in mind in case one does not have enough time in their schedules. If your reference says that they are too busy to write a letter, if it is someone you know really well, you might want to think about offering to write the letter and asking them to review and sign it. Terrified about writing your own letter? Not everyone is a self-promotion guru. Check out your recommendations on LinkedIn to get a better feel for the tone of a recommendation.

Do your references a favor and provide them with your personal press kit. Send a draft of your admissions essay, most current resume, and other documents that might me pertinent. If your degree has a research focus, it might be good to send an abstract of a published paper.

I’m trying to take my own advice and remember that most people want to help other people. The logistics of getting recommendations might be troublesome, but people like supporting other’s endeavors.


World AIDS Day 2008

The subject of mobile phones for health is one that I have become increasingly interested in over time. Over half of the people living in developing countries currently have mobile phones, and that percentage is growing rapidly. The rule of thumb concerning Innovation with the use of mobile phones seems to be expect the unexpected. The versatility of mobile phones holds the promise of a dramatic improvement in the overall state of health of the populations.

Africa Aid creates intimate partnerships that take the large-scale issues of extreme poverty and scales them down to a manageable community level. MDNet is Africa Aid’s newest initiative to create free mobile phone physician networks within countries in Africa, helping to advance the transfer of medical knowledge between physicians in Africa. As an MDNet officer, I work remotely to coordinate planning and implementation of programmatic goals and research stakeholders and resources in target countries.

The proliferation of mobile phones is starting to have a real impact on the fight against HIV/AIDS. Project Masiluleke in South Africa is using mobile phones to deliver health information directly to individuals. SMS text messages could increase treatment adherence for patients with HIV, tuberculosis and other diseases that require regular treatment. In the United States, sending a text message with your ZIP code to “KNOWIT” (566948) will allow you to find an HIV testing site near you.

It’s truly refreshing to feel that the possibilities are endless. Much of the general public’s knowledge of HIV focus on the devastating human impact of the epidemic. It is just as important to acknowledge that we do have the will and ability to fight back.