Dia de los Muertos

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Valentina Stackl

The group I am in, La Salud, had another successful event yesterday. We celebrated Dia de los Muertos, a traditional Mexican holiday which celebrates the memory of those who have passed. To give it a public health twist, we educated the participants on Latino health disparities on top of doing traditional dia de los muertos activities like making an altar, decorating sugar skulls and sugar cookies. 

One of the things I found the most interesting in were the statistics about cancer and Latinos:

The incidence and mortality rates of stomach, liver, and cervical cancers, all of which are related to infectious agents, are higher among Hispanics than non-Hispanic whites, especially among first-generation immigrants to the US. For example, the rates of stomach cancer incidence are at least 70% higher in Hispanics than in non-Hispanic whites. Also, Hispanics experience a two-fold higher incidence and death rate from liver cancer compared to non-Hispanic whites. Hispanic women residing in the US have about twice the cervical cancer incidence rate of non-Hispanic whites. The death rate from cervical cancer is 50% higher among Hispanic women than among non-Hispanic white women. 

Here are also some pictured of the event:

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Valentina's Story About Switching from HMP to HBHE

Valentina Stackl
Valentina Stackl

The second the accounting professor let us out on Wednesday afternoon I marched straight into the administration office: “I would like to switch out of my program please.” I had literally been in HMP for three days and I was 100% certain that I had picked the wrong program. I had a sneaking suspicion since applying, but I was in denial, my idealism had gotten the best of me.

I wanted to believe that I would battle through economics and accounting and that I would dominate in the best management and policy program in the country. I hoped that I would then become a famous politician and fix the healthcare crisis in the United States. Yeah right. I very quickly figured out that I didn’t want to learn about structures and systems of healthcare, I didn’t care too much about the rules and regulations that would limit my abilities, all I wanted to was help individuals and groups of disenfranchised people. I decided that I would let others make the rules, others run the hospitals, others make decisions. All I want to do is to help those subgroups of people who need help to navigate through the barriers and limitations.

Once I realized that HMP was filled with incredibly intelligent, competitive individuals who’s interests were in running hospitals and insurance companies, who wanted to be advisors to politicians and physicians, I had to bail. Let them look at the big picture, I will not. Maybe that will make me less lucrative, less successful, less wealthy in the end- but I don’t mind.

This semester I was finally able to take mostly HBHE classes. I will be learning about racial disparities and injustices and will get the tools to stage interventions and design programs at a community level. This is what graduate school was supposed to be like: doing my homework and truly enjoying it, reading articles and actually seeing myself doing the things that I am reading about.