Our December Spotlight is focusing on one of our Global Health Alumni, Talia Delamare, Class of 2015.

Talia, a Biological Anthropology major and Global Health minor,  has returned from a summer experience in Africa following graduation that took her global health classroom skills into the field. See what she has to say about her experience here at UC San Diego and abroad!


Getting to know Talia Delamare:

  1. What have you been up to since you left UCSD?

Since leaving UCSD, I have been working on various projects with a consulting company focusing on health care logistics and improving patient monitoring systems. Most of these projects take place in Africa and I was lucky enough to participate in the field as well as fulfill administrative duties from home.

  1. How do you feel being a Global Health Student prepared you for your current and future plans?

Being a Global Health Student has given me a tremendous advantage in the projects I’ve worked on since graduating. Not only was I already familiar with the terminology used in the field, I had a solid understanding of the relationship between the various organizations, researchers, doctors, and patients that make up the web of global health, and how they interact to achieve common

goals.

  1. What was your favorite aspect or class from the Global Health Program?

My favorite class was Essentials of Global Health (GLBH 181). Not only was it an intensive crash course in global health research methods and topics, it gave us the tools to plan and implement our own public health intervention. It was one of the only classes that focused on practical rather than theoretical knowledge, and I feel it best prepared me for applying these skills in a professional setting.

  1. Was there any particular Global Health related on-campus organization or internship that shaped your interest in the field that you would recommend to current students?

Both my involvement in the Gun Violence Intervention Group (GVIG) and the Students for Global Health fortified my interest in Global Health. With GVIG I attended the Clinton Global Initiative University with my fellow leading group members where we had the opportunity to meet students from around the country whose innovative ideas were being transformed into real-life health interventions. The motivation of the students we met was contagious, and upon our return we were able to share our experiences with fellow UCSD global health students. I would recommend joining either (or both) of these organizations as I know my success was in large part due to the support from other global health students, specifically my fellow leading group members of GVIG, Jarrod and Cheyenne.

Talia’s trip abroad:

  1. Where did you go and for how long? Tell us briefly about your experience and the purpose of your trip!

I spent two weeks in Guinea Bissau implementing patient monitoring systems for an HIV clinic at the Simao Mendes National Hospital where the majority of HIV patients in the country are cared for. This consisted of mapping the flow of patients through the clinic, analyzing the barriers to HIV testing and adherence to medication, and providing a plan for the regional warehouse to better equip local facilities with the resources they need.

  1. What was the most memorable moment during your trip?

The most memorable part of my trip was participating in the supervision of a local polio vaccine campaign alongside a Danish researcher and local community workers. These campaigns serve the local neighborhoods in Bissau, providing various vaccines to children under 5. I was allowed to go door-to-door with the group who were administering these vaccines and interact with the local community, which proved to be an incredibly unique and motivating experience.

  1. What was the most important takeaway/ thing that you learned from your trip?

I learned that so many issues that arise in Global Health could be resolved through better communication and planning. Because so many different people and organizations are involved in various health campaigns, the end-goal can become clouded. Many of the issues I encountered seemed trivial and easily solvable (like lack of paper to record patient information on), but a lack of basic infrastructure compounds these issues and it can seem impossible to comb through them and identify key problem areas. I think the takeaway is that no matter how small our contribution is, like providing paper to the clinic, we can make a difference and shouldn’t be discouraged by the complexity of global health issues.

  1. What is something you wish you knew/ What is one piece of advice you have for students who will be completing a field experience soon?

I don’t wish I could have changed or known anything before this experience. I’m actually quite happy that I went into this experience having absolutely no preconceived notions of what may happen. It gave me an opportunity to take in my surroundings with a blank slate. The piece of advice I give to students who have not completed their field experience yet is: just do it, and do as much of it as you can! Learning theoretical knowledge is important, but learning to apply that knowledge in the field will determine your success. The Global Health Program is the only program on campus where field knowledge is required, so take advantage of the amazing opportunities and network of professionals provided to you.

  1. How do you think this experience influenced your understanding of the field of Global Health?

This experience shaped my understanding of the field by giving me insight into the shortcomings of our global health systems and the inequality that perpetuate them. Until you can understand the daily life of someone who experiences barriers in access to health, you won’t appreciate the urgency in reducing those barriers. I was able to see the complexity of the public and global health systems that are in place and gain an insight into the importance of each person’s role.

  1. How was the experience related to your career aspirations?

This experience was directly related to my career aspirations as I plan on doing research on barriers in access to health care. My career aspirations include working alongside larger organizations like the UN and the CDC in identifying problem areas in global health systems and working to eliminate them. Working in the field will be integral to this process, and I am excited to experience more opportunities like this.

Are you interested in studying Global Health at UC San Diego?

Learn more at globalhealthprogram.ucsd.edu