Patience is not my middle name

My grad school applications were completed weeks ago and the schools that I have applied to have logged the information into their respective system. I am relieved; well, I should be relieved. Unfortunately, I can’t help panicking a little about what the results will be. I went through the same stress while I waiting for college acceptance letters. Was my essay boring? Do I have the experience they are looking for? Will they all reject me?

The worst part is that I have a couple months of waiting ahead of me. Luckily my job promises to fill my schedule, blocking out future worrying time. How do you pass the time while waiting for results of major decisions?

News about mobile phones and public health and safety

I have come across quite a few great applications of mobile phones and technology in the public health and safety that would be nice to share.

1) Promoting HIV awareness through soap opera vignettes

A campaign developed at Rutgers University’s School of Nursing has produced a series of soap opera vignettes that demonstrate safer sex and proper condom use. Researchers believe that mobile phones provide an ideal delivery system because they allow women privacy and multiple viewings. I think that the ease of propagating this campaign by word of mouth through forwarding will allow it to have a larger impact.

Hat tip: @DigiActive on Twitter and on the Web

2) Protecting public safety at NFL games

The NFL has started a new service that will allow fans to text information about public disputes and disturbances in games so that they can be dispelled before escalating. Allison Fine at the Social Citizens blog speculates about future uses in creating safer communities by allowing citizens to safely report dangerous activities. While safe whistleblowing may open channels of communication somewhat, I think there is still a great deal of work to be done in increasing trust in and respect of authority if this were applied in the community context.

Hat tip: @socialcitizen on Twitter

3) Promoting adherence to DOTS, treatment for tuberculosis

Companies have finally started to realize the need for actively promoting adherence to DOTS, or directly observed treatment, short course, the recommended treatment for tuberculosis. DOTS requires that a health care worker directly supervise a patient that the drugs to treat the tuberculosis. However, due to a number of factors including a health care worker shortage and insufficient funds, this is not possible in many developing countries. Companies are working to increase access to mobile phones so that patients may receive text reminders to take medication.

Read The Lancet for more information.

4) Monitoring child growth and nutritional status in Malawi

Columbia University and UNICEF are the winners of the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Development 2.0 Challenge. Their project will establish a “RapidSMS” system that will allow health care workers to use basic mobile phones to share information about child growth and nutritional status in Malawi. This will be an interesting one to watch to see if they can scale it to other countries and other populations. The dearth of current statistical health information of many developing countries, particularly in Africa, makes measuring success difficult and distributing much needed resources properly impossible.


Wading out of my comfort zone

I have a confession to make to those of you who have not met me personally. I have a competitive streak in me that runs a mile wide. I love playing board games and card games.  If being an overachiever were a crime, I would be a convicted felon. Forgive me; it is probably one of the most stereotypical traits of Millennials. Considering the alternative, I think that it my drive to succeed has been a real asset.

Returning this work has knocked a little wind out of my sails because everything that I am doing to prepare for this semester’s activities for PAIR is new to me. I am drafting a volunteer training and writing a curriculum. It has made me rethink my typical full speed ahead approach. I spend more time explaining my thought process to my supervisor on an unfinished product rather than a complete one. My goal is completing a phase rather than finishing which requires me to concretely develop a plan of action. My thinking tends to be a little on the scattered side so thinking linearly has been difficult.

The biggest change has been the level of collaboration. During my work at AED, each project had a team but the tasks were assigned and completed as though each one was an independent project. My work responsibilities typically did not require the input or insight of others until they were complete. Even then, my draft was returned to me in the same way that a teacher returns a graded paper. You make all the corrections they tell you and then return the paper. Really working collaboratively is something that I have not done in a professional setting before.

I never thought that I would admit it, but I really like working this way. Coming from a former lab nerd, I think that should count for something…an achievement of sorts?

Make health and wellness a resolution that you can keep

20090106-fekgdrqs9hn4117s1w57mmgsgmNew Year’s resolutions are easier said than done. A partnership of Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health, and Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Public Communications aims to ease the pressure with Healthy Monday. Healthy Monday will be a weekly series of national health observances on – you guessed it – each Monday of this year designed to deliver evidence-based health campaign to reduce factors related to leading causes of death for Americans: poor diet and inactivity, smoking, and alcohol misuse.

I really like how this campaign has incorporated ways for individuals to take action as well as organizations to coordinate events and meetings. Activities such as the Monday Mile encourage participants to increase physical activity and you can get some support (and incorporate social persuasion to promote adherence) by starting and/or joining a Move It Monday club. My major criticism is that they seemed to have missed an opportunity to include elements of social networking. It would be great even if they had pointed out tools such as Google Calendar, Meetup and others to help groups coordinate better at the community level or encourage individuals not associated with the community to take on the responsibility of starting a group.

In My Name: End Poverty

I saw this cool video on @zakblogs‘s blog Schizofrenetic. If you haven’t checked out her blog yet, you should; it’s one of my favorite Brazen Careerist reads.

In My Name is the newest campaign led by YouTube dedicated to motivating people to do their part in helping to end poverty. You can upload your video to the In My Name channel asking the government to do its part to end poverty and achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.