Friday, February 3, 2017

January Volunteering

It was definitely hard coming back to New Orleans after a nice break which I spent in the Everglades camping, canoeing, and hiking. It was so beautiful! I'd never been there before and was just amazed at the incredible natural beauty and the diverse wildlife. 

But, I'm back, and it's been an interesting month. I have really great news- I was accepted the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine for their 4 year MD MPH program, where I'll start in June. Suddenly a lot of the pressure is off my shoulders for this program, and I feel like I can learn at a slightly more leisurely pace rather than studying constantly, cramming and anxiously clicking the "end exam" button and looking at my score through squinted eyes. As a result, I feel like I can pay more attention to the larger scope of material in class rather than focus on high value tested topics, and focus on volunteering as well. While Dr. Zhang wasn't able to host any SMNO walks due to his busy residency schedule, I worked with the New Orleans Harm Reduction Network several times this month. I coordinated several syringe exchanges, taught people who use injection drugs/PWID (this is the update from a recent term IDU or injection drug user) how to recognize overdose and use naloxone through a NOHD naloxone distribution grant, and talked to people about their options for utilizing suboxone as a tool to decrease or end injection drug use. To this end, I helped refer clients to some of the suboxone prescribing physicians in NOLA. It really seems like the local political climate is becoming just a little more humane towards people who use injection drugs, although with the nominee for the us attorney general I'm sincerely worried about any advancement in humane, effective and evidence based public health minded national policy regarding this vulnerable patient population.

January volunteering- four 2-hour drop ins, 8 hours total.