In May 2017, Justina Marianayagam, a third-year student in the Faculty of Health Sciences, will travel to Yellowknife, NWT, to carry out an unpaid public policy health internship at the Institute for Circumpolar Health Research (ICHR). ICHR is an independent, non-profit organization that seeks to solve collective problems, including building a culturally respectful health and social services system.
Justina will be conducting a policy review of its Indigenous Medicine Access for Patients in NWT Medical Centres, to ensure patients have access to traditional care in a culturally respectful environment in all NWT medical centres. Looking at patient access, liability issues and the interaction between medical professionals, traditional healers and governance, the project hopes to spur a review of Canadian hospitals, health policies and legal statutes, to ensure access to traditional medicine.
A native of Yellowknife with experience from past internships and current research, Justina hopes to provide a voice to the countless indigenous Canadians living in remote communities, by recognizing their culture and integrating it into western medical centres in NWT, thus improving their health outcomes.
Lydia Yilma, an MA student in anthropology, will travel to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in May 2017 to serve as a volunteer at the Joy Center for Autism. The Center was established by the Nia Foundation in 2002. Volunteers assist with day-to-day activities and help care for children with behavioural problems. It’s the first centre of its kind in Ethiopia. Proficient in the local language of Amharic, Lydia will observe routines and activities as well as conduct in-depth interviews with parents who have brought their children to the Center. During her stay, she plans to learn more about their daily lives, their care-seeking journeys and their understanding of “autism.” Her volunteer work at the Center will help provide care to families with affected children. The hope is that her research results will lead to understanding certain stigmatizing factors, as well as emerging forms of non-stigmatizing care, therapy, and education. In conjunction, this work will contribute to a greater understanding of autism in the Ethiopian context.
Alexandria Clark, a fourth-year Faculty of Social Sciences student completing a joint honours in political science and communication, will complete an unpaid CO-OP internship in the Sahel and West Africa Club Directorate of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in Paris, France, in June 2017. Building on her previous research on the topic, she will attempt to better understand issues faced by West African migrants travelling across the Mediterranean to the European Union, including mapping their routes in terms of security and travel and developing a better understanding of why they left their homes in the first place. The research results will inform OECD work with West African governments to identify solutions to security issues, civil strife and the insurgence of militant groups. The work may also help identify types of services to be offered by receiving organizations to refugees, migrants and internally displaced persons in the hopes of contributing to positive social change and solving issues affecting hundreds of thousands of refugees.
Katyanna Menard is in her third year of the Bachelor of Science in nursing program. She will be travelling to Cusco, Peru, in July 2017 to take part in the medical program with International Volunteer HQ. This program allows volunteers who are trained and qualified in a medical field to work alongside nurses and doctors helping in underfunded and understaffed clinics and hospitals for low income families. As a volunteer, Katyanna will volunteer in clinics and hospitals or in the community to help with needs analyses or directing people to the right resources. Katyanna is confident that volunteering with The Ottawa Hospital for four years—including being a patient ambassador in the Cancer Centre, helping out patients’ loved ones in the intensive care unit and providing patient care in oncology units—combined with her clinical placements as a nursing student will help her during her time in Peru. While there, she hopes to gain a better understanding of the Peruvian healthcare sector and to give back to the community in Cusco.
Julie Patry, a third-year nursing student, will also head to Cusco, Peru in July 2017. Also taking part in the International Volunteer HQ medical program, she’ll volunteer in a clinic or hospital, depending on where the need is greatest. She’ll be part of a project that helps make treatment more accessible for disadvantaged families and aims to reduce wait times for health services. In addition to offering her time, Julie plans to bring medical supplies with her. She believes the skills she’s learned during her studies at the University of Ottawa and during her practicum will be very helpful in her volunteer work and expects the experience will not only help her gain valuable work experience but also expand her personal horizons.
Danielle Norbert, a student in the Faculty of Social Sciences, did her second CO-OP placement in Nicaragua. Thanks to a plane ticket from the Aeroplan Charitable Pooling Program, she was able to lessen the impact on her budget of this unpaid placement with FUNDACCO, a community organization. During the placement, she served as a children’s summer camp counsellor in Managua’s Edgar Lang neighbourhood. She organized training for credit union members and developed a basic English course for FUNDACCO staff.
Aleksandar Brezar, Faculty of Medicine, received a plane ticket through the Aeroplan Charitable Pooling program to do an unpaid internship in South Africa in February 2017. He will perform the internship at Khayelitsha District Hospital, a new facility with more than 230 beds including 47 in traumatology, built to relieve the patient load at other Cape Town hospitals. Through this internship, Aleksandar hopes to give a helping hand to the hospital’s medical teams and encourage the sharing of medical practices. He is looking to collect funds or donated medical supplies, including bandages, as supplies are in high demand at the traumatology centre. This won’t be Aleksandar’s first volunteer experience. He served as a member of the board of the Centre de santé et des services sociaux in Gatineau, representing the community. He is currently involved with the Faculty of Medicine’s Office of Francophone Affairs, organizing mini-courses in medicine for high school and university students. Recently, he completed an internship in family medicine in Iqaluit, Nunavut.
Victoire Kpadé is completing her bachelor of science with a major in biochemistry and a minor in health sciences at the Faculty of Science. She’s heading to Ghana for three months to volunteer as a medical assistant for the West Africa AIDS Foundation’s international clinic. Her work will include receiving clinic patients, taking their medical histories, noting their symptoms, measuring their height, weight and vital signs, and preparing their rooms. The WAAF’s mission is to help fight the spread of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and other communicable diseases, and mitigate their effects on communities by providing care and support.
Hannah Adam, a student in the Faculty of Education’s Teacher Education program, is using her Aeroplan Miles to go to Tanzania for three and a half weeks in June to volunteer for TEMBO, a charity that recruits teachers for its English camp. The camp helps build English literacy, math and social science skills for girls, to facilitate their transition into an all-English education system. With the help of volunteers, it exposes them to the English-language curriculum prior to entering high school. Hannah is not new to international service — she has carried out humanitarian work in the Dominican Republic with a group of volunteers.