Four first-year College of Medicine students have won a national global health competition with their video on health disparities faced by women across the world.
In their video, "MedMujeres,” Farah Dadabhoy, Kate Blatt, Shama Milon and Sara McCrate discuss the health and education disparities faced by women and their previous experiences with national and international service. They were named winners of the 2014 MedPlus Advantage Global Health Challenge contest on Friday, May 30. For their win, they will spend up to three weeks in Guatemala, Ecuador or the Dominican Republic, where they will advise on new global health projects and be able to participate in ongoing efforts.
They competed against nine other teams in the final round, which lasted for two weeks. Throughout the process, they say the support and encouragement from their teachers, mentors, friends and fellow students has been worth all the work.
"We’ve been really excited about the support we’ve gotten from UC,” says Dadabhoy. "As first years, we don’t always get to be a part of the medical community or the hospital, but everyone’s come out and supported us. We’re a part of this really awesome community—and that’s what I’ve loved about this process.”
Dadbhoy, Blatt, Milon and McCrate met as study group partners after being matched together by the Office of Student Affairs. But when they met after their first organ block class, they soon became friends as well.
So when they received an email about the global health contest, Dadabhoy says, they all came to the meeting wanting to talk about it.
"We’re all interested in global health,” she says. "We study together, but we also talk about other issues outside of class. For the video, we found a common theme based on what we’ve each done in the past and what interested us.”
Of the team, Dadabhoy grew up in Pakistan and has run art therapy workshops in the northern part of the country. Blatt, a student of Latin American studies, has studied in Central America and volunteered in sub-Saharan Africa on a health project.
Born in Bangladesh, Milon grew up the U.S., but returned abroad to spend a summer in Egypt during her undergraduate years, working with teen refugees from Somalia. McCrate has worked as a camp counselor for teen girls and spent a year living in Ecuador before medical school.
They took time to learn about each other’s experiences in order to shape their proposal. "In our first meeting we interviewed Sarah for about an hour about her time in Ecuador,” remembers Blatt.
"We each have our main international experience in a different location,” says McCrate. "One of the things we focused on in the video was figuring out what specific challenges women in different parts of the world face, but making sure that what we put in the video affected all women, even in the United States.”