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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Global Health exhibit features world’s communities

Second-year UA medical students Shreya Patel and Emily Wilkinson are working to bring global awareness to their fellow students with the first Global Health Forum photography exhibit.

“”In Small Corners: Capturing Moments of Global Health,”” is on display at the Arizona Health Sciences Library in the Java area Room 2101, a study area.

Patel said they strategically placed their exhibit “”in a study space where people can go and look at a beautiful photo.””

The exhibit features photos contributed by students, faculty and staff of the colleges of medicine and public health. Each photo has a caption detailing the photographer’s experience participating in global health projects while traveling to countries all over the world, helping smaller communities with dire medical needs.

“”The initial idea was to broaden people’s perspective on global health,”” Patel said, “”but it’s really about so much more than that. It’s about getting to know the people in the community, working with them, learning the language, spending time with the children and integrating ourselves into a community.

“”It went beyond just showing up, doing our work and leaving,”” she added. “”And seeing the children every day, their smiles, it’s just something so beautiful. I’ll never forget it.””

As co-chairs of the Global Health Forum, Patel and Wilkinson wanted to expose students to the conditions of people living in smaller communities around the world and hoped to create awareness at the UA.

Both students traveled and did volunteer work with the Global Health Forum. The student club at the UA College of Medicine organizes trips to a variety of countries across the globe, including Honduras, India, Nicaragua, Mexico and Tanzania.

The idea of using photography to promote health awareness was developed with students, faculty and staff’s busy schedules in mind.

“”I’m personally just already a visual person. It goes back to how, as a full-time college student, there’s not always a lot of time. Lectures, PowerPoints and other methods of getting the message across can sort of just wash over you,”” Patel said.

Patel and Wilkinson did not expect so many photographs to be turned in.

“”I was so impressed by the beauty of all the photographs. They were so wonderful,”” Patel said.

There are 38 pictures in the exhibit, transcending borders, cultures and languages.

Wilkinson submitted a photo of a woman having her eyes examined in rural Tanzania. It was taken during a village outreach clinic as part of the World Health Organization’s VISION 2020 initiative that works to reduce blindness.

Wilkinson checked villages’ people for cataracts, vision loss and other ophthalmological problems, while working alongside doctors and an optometrist who fitted patients for glasses.

“”There truly is a look on a patient’s face when you finally fit them for glasses that allow them to see things they have not seen in years,”” Wilkinson said.

Like Wilkinson’s experience, there is a story behind each photograph, providing a firsthand look at the current situations in other countries. 

Along with the other Arizona Health Sciences Library committee board members, Mary Riordan said she was thrilled with how the project turned out.

“”I thought they were fabulous photos and express so much,”” Riordan said. “”All of us on the exhibit’s committee think they’re wonderful. We are looking to see who will be coordinators for next year, and then we can put it on our calendar.

“”We look forward to making this an annual event, so it’s not just a one-time thing. We’d like to see it grow and have more people participate.””

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