|December 27, 2011|
Jenna Garrett grew up in a small town in the northwestern United States. When she left home, she discovered the world was much larger than she’d realized.
Her world expanded, she says, “through my experiences as an undergraduate at the University of Notre Dame – a place that emphasized social justice and service to the poor – and through work at a service organization in Puerto Rico and an international development nonprofit organization in North Carolina.”
She came to realize the extent of poverty and extreme suffering in the world. Passionate about wanting to make a difference, she found herself pursuing a Master of Public Health degree at UNC.
Her fieldwork has been the most rewarding aspect of her master’s program, she says, and oddly enough, it has made the world feel a little smaller again:Last summer, I traveled to Honduras to work on a women’s health project aimed at reducing cervical cancer among women living in rural villages.
Although in many ways, their lives could not be more different than my own, it was surprising to recognize aspects of poverty in Honduras that were uncannily similar to what I observed as a young person growing up in rural Montana.
Likewise, the sense of shared humanity that I discovered in my interactions – and eventually friendships – with Honduran women made Central America feel much closer to home. In my graduate assistant position in the Office of Global Health, we talk about how global health is local health, and this experience allowed me to feel that most profoundly.
Carolina Public Health is a publication of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Gillings School of Global Public Health. To view previous issues, please visit www.sph.unc.edu/cph.