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Introducing Colby Young, GEMx Co-Op

Filed under: From GEMx Staff

Colby Young

Hi everyone! My name is Colby and I am a Co-Op GEMx Research Assistant. I am currently a Sophomore Marketing and Business Analytics major at Drexel University. Before joining the GEMx team, I knew I wanted to mix being creative with using data to the promote growth of a program or service. So far, the opportunities that this position offers have been that and so much more like collaborating with small teams and building a better understanding of cultures other than my own.  

I grew up in Compton, California a mostly African American low-income community on the outside of Los Angeles. However, I went to a private school near the affluent community of Bel-Air. The culture of those two cities was radically different in terms of values, beliefs, and/or religions and I felt like an outsider at first. I have learned that to overcome differences in the culture there has to be mutual respect and a desire to educate yourself if not stereotypes will continue to negatively affect how people are viewed. I want to show underrepresented communities, like mine, that we can grow through adversity and succeed in life. This is what motivates me to be passionate about working with GEMx on helping people in the medical field improve health-education worldwide.

Colby Young

For fun, I like trying new activities and spending quality time with my friends and family. It doesn’t take much to please me. Whether we’re watching scary movies or taking photos or going out to eat or chilling at the beach, I am happy being with them. In high school, I played 4 years of lacrosse. After practice, my teammates and I used to pick up  Pad Thai and bubble tea at a Thai food restaurant then eat at the beach nearby. When I’m by myself, I like listening to new music. I love how songs can help me to get out of my head and relax.

 

Introducing Amanda Sit, GEMx Co-Op

Filed under: From GEMx Staff

                    

Hello! My name is Amanda Sit and I am very excited to be a new member of the GEMx team. I am currently a pre-junior Marketing Major at Drexel University and I am the GEMx International Relations Assistant. The reason why I chose GEMx is so that I can foster a deeper understanding for other cultures as well as actively promote health-education globally.

A little about me is that I grew up in Edison, New Jersey a small diverse suburban area before moving into the large city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for my studies. It was a completely new experience since Philadelphia has many unique restaurants and stores to check out! I love to try out new food places and travel.

This photo was taken in the Philippines during low tide.

I love traveling to different places for the culture, food, and activities each place has to offer. My favorite travel destination that I’ve been to so far is the Philippines. Growing up Filipino, I was very fortunate to travel to my mother’s home country and experience the culture. I really enjoyed the food at local restaurants.  Chicken Adobo and Lumpia (Spring rolls) were my favorite dishes to eat. The most memorable part of the trip was island hopping in Coron, Philippines. Seeing the island untouched by modernity was very exciting.

I am a firm believer that GEMx is as good as the team working behind it, and I am very thankful that I get to be a part of the team.

Introducing Eunice Kamami, GEMx Co-Op

Filed under: From GEMx Staff

Hi everyone! My name is Eunice Kamami and I am the GEMx Research Assistant Co-op. I’m currently in my fourth year at Drexel University where I am majoring in Global Studies and minoring in Communication and French. My interests in global health and international background are what really drew me to this position.

 

I was born in Kenya, moved to America when I was 7, moved back to Kenya for high school, moved to a different part of America for university, studied abroad in France for a year, and then did my previous co-op working with water, sanitation, and hygiene development in Kenya. So, I guess you could say I’ve had my fair share of international exchanges. Each move shaped my worldview and broadened my understanding of race, ethnicity, class, gender and culture. This is why I believe that international experiences can be so rewarding. They often teach importance of being flexible and open minded to people who may have different values, beliefs, or religions. In world that’s only becoming more and more globalized, these are characteristics that are essential for everyone, but especially for those in the medical field, which is why programs like GEMx are so important.

That being said, I’ve had enough complicated visa applications, lost luggage, stolen passports, homesickness and culture shock to know that international experiences can also be challenging. Moving to a different part of the world takes courage, the willingness to start anew and sometimes to be uncomfortable for a bit. Having a good support system in the process can change the outcome of experience. It’s for this reason in particular that I’m so excited to be working to be working with GEMx to help facilitate and support students on their international medical exchanges.

When I’m not getting excited about international programs and global health, you can find me making caramel macchiatos at Drexel where I work as a Starbucks barista. I love listening to podcasts and am always looking for a good recommendation. I also like trying new food or sticking to my favorite cuisine: Ethiopian. On weekends, I’m usually attending concerts, poetry slams, organizing, taking Sunday afternoon naps, trying new recipes, going dancing, or watching scary movies with my two wonderful roommates our cat Steven.

Introducing our GEMx Co-Op, Kaseir Archie

Filed under: From GEMx Staff

Young man in a wool coat smiling

Hello! My name is Kaseir Archie and I am the GEMx program development Drexel co-op. Cooperative education is a structured method of combining classroom-based education with practical work experience. A cooperative education experience, commonly known as a “co-op”, provides academic credit for structured job experience. Working with the GEMx team has given me the opportunities to not only learn but also to enhance my professional skills. Understanding and observing firsthand the “real-world” application of everything I have learned in class. However, my favorite aspect of GEMx is how much enthusiasm and positive energy the GEMx team brings to the office every day.

I am from North Philadelphia, born and raised. There is just something about the city of Philadelphia that I love so much. That is why I decided to remain here for college. I am currently finishing up my third year at Drexel University, studying finance and management information systems.

young man leaning on stair railing in a large interior space

In the Grand Hall of the Pennsylvania Convention Center the Grand Hall (former Reading Railroad Train Shed

My two favorite activities to do are to play ice hockey and do photography. I never really explored my creative side, but as I got older I became to grow fond of the arts. That is what inspired me to find my own medium to create. However, in comparison to photography which is a fairly new hobby, I have played ice hockey since I was eleven years old.

I played for the Snider Hockey program until I graduated high school. Hockey opened up so many new opportunities for me. I had the opportunity to travel the United States, sing the national anthem, and even meet President Bill Clinton! I still skate and play hockey on occasion with friends.

Young man in hockey equipment and uniform

Due to all of my experiences with the GEMx team, I am more prepared, as a student still in college, to take on the professional world than I was when I began my co-op. It is amazing to hear about all of the students and their elective experiences. GEMx has done more than proven its value as an organization to me. A BIG thank you to Justin Seeling (Program Manager), Carol Russo (Senior Coordinator), and Angel Roman (Coordinator) for all they do.

GEMx Student Ambassador Network (SAN) Video Competition: Round 2

Filed under: From GEMx Staff GEMx Student Ambassador Network GEMx Student Reflections

Post by Justin Seeling, GEMx Program Manager

Inspired by the success of the first round of video competition earlier this year, GEMx’s Student Ambassador Network (SAN) recently held another round of competition to allow students from our Partner Schools to record  and submit short videos showcasing their institutions and/or local culture.

We are excited to share the winning submissions with you!

GEMx’s Student Ambassador Network (SAN) recently held a “sequel” to our previous video competition, asking students from our Partner Schools to record short videos showcasing their institutions and/or local culture.

The video that we received from Josefa Santa María and Maria Jose Ayala Rivero, students at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Escuela de Medicina, is a great example of how GEMx Student Ambassadors are reaching students at their school and providing information about the any opportunities allotted with being part of the GEMx network! The video was awarded recognition from GEMx staff for being the “Most Informative” among all entries.

The video that we received from from Yu Aun (Jason) Chin, a student at SEGi University & Colleges (Malaysia) provides a great overview of student life at this GEMx partner institution! The video was awarded recognition from GEMx staff for being having the “Best Video Production” among all entries.

The video that we received from Bruno Marcarini and Clara Schneider, students at Escola Superior de Ciências da Santa Casa de Misericórdia de Vitória Faculdade de Medicina (EMESCAM) (Brazil), is an example of how student representatives are providing information to their classmates about the elective opportunities offered through GEMx! The video was awarded recognition from GEMx staff for being the “Most Creative” among all entries.

Thanks to all of our students who contributed videos!  If you are a student who is a member of a GEMx partner and would like to submit a video of student life at your school or your experiences on a GEMx Exchange, please write to info@gemxelectives.org.

GEMx Student Ambassador Network (SAN) Video Competition: Round 1

Filed under: From GEMx Staff GEMx Student Ambassador Network

Post by Justin Seeling, GEMx Program Manager

Earlier this year, GEMx’s Student Ambassador Network (SAN) held a video competition that asked students from our Partner Schools to record short videos showcasing their institutions and/or local culture.

We are excited to share the winning submissions with you!

The video that we received from Ahmed Saleh and Rana Abualsaud, students at Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar, does a great job showing off the school’s campus in Doha and introducing viewers to members of the faculty! The video was awarded recognition from GEMx staff for being the “Most Creative” and demonstrating the “Best Video Production” among all entries.

The video that we received from Navilah Hidayati, a student at the Universitas Gadjah Mada in Indonesia, does a wonderful job detailing “5 Things That You Will Love About UGM”! The video was awarded recognition from GEMx staff for being the “Most Informative” among all entries.

The success of this first round of videos inspired the GEMx Student Ambassador Network to extend another opportunity for students to submit their videos.  In an ensuing post, we’ll be sharing the winning submissions from participants of the second round of the video competition.

Thanks to all of our students who contributed videos!  If you are a student who is a member of a GEMx partner and would like to submit a video of student life at your school or your experiences on a GEMx Exchange, please write to info@gemxelectives.org.

GEMx Student Ambassadors Share Quotes That Inspire Them

Filed under: From GEMx Staff GEMx Student Ambassador Network

Post by Justin Seeling, GEMx Program Manager

GEMx is happy to share this video of some of our student ambassadors speaking about their favorite motivational quotes.  At our June 2017 GEMx Student Ambassador Network (SAN) webinar, each ambassador was asked to share a quote that spoke to his or her interest in medicine and international exchange of knowledge.  Thanks to our inspirational student ambassadors for their participation in this exciting exercise!

 

Going Outside the “Comfort Zone”- a snapshot of GEMx post-elective experiences

Filed under: From GEMx Staff

Carol Russo
Post by Carol Russo, GEMx Senior Coordinator

Working for a program that offers access to international medical exchanges provides a reminder of how engaging in new situations, environments and systems not only provides alternate perspectives but affords opportunities of self discovery.

While I personally had an international exchange experience while a student in college, it was not a medical elective exchange. This was in the days of the internet’s infancy and my university’s study abroad office still housed all of its exchange opportunities in 500 page binders categorized by geographical regions. I ultimately chose and was accepted to a multicourse exchange in Siena, Italy.  I easily recall those initial moments while on my exchange where I felt overwhelmed by something as simple as deciphering a campus bus schedule or my inability to procure correct currency for basic purchases. However, I also carry with me that by self realizing my  weaknesses could provide opportunities for me to self-adapt and grow as a person in the larger human world.

GEMx has always been interested in hearing how students perceive their exchanges upon their returns and I would like to share some of these reflections with you as they demonstrate the profound and personal takeaways when  one allows to be challenged by immersion in a different culture and place.

“The first lesson in this experience I had, was to break the language barrier that were between the patients and me, I think was the most difficult task, because they where used to consult local doctors, and as I started to interact, it was not that easy. Over and over, you start to learn how to approach people and pathologies. The country I visited is also in ways to develop as mine, but smaller. So I could compare and [analyze] how they solve their health problems and social problems, I visited a lot of Tibetan and classic medicine centers, in which I talked with the local healers and communicate and learn about their most [common diseases] and how the manage them. “

“I feel that I am more confident. Having the opportunity to see how is it out there makes me a better person and a person who is able to try and attempt in thinking outside of the box for the betterment of all. Also, I began to appreciate more on what is here for me and the society in my country. One of the most striking aspect was the fact that junior doctors there in Indonesia including post graduate specialist trainees in Indonesian Hospitals are actually not paid any salary or wages. Despite of these difficulties they are still very much comfortable and striving their ways in their career on how they could benefit the society.”

“The only difficulty and disappointment that one would initially have would be that the medical system is in Hebrew. But, it is worth an experience to overcome this challenge by finding new friends who could help you. At the end, you will agree that language barrier is never an hindrance for you to learn but rather it opens a new path to build good and long standing relationships.”

“Many times when I was there, I felt so left behind and far off from the standard they live up to. Being surrounded in a mentally challenging environment can push you to be better, but it can also be draining and make you feel very small. It took me quite some time to regain myself and admit that Im inadequate. Once I embraced the fact, I started asking questions when I dont understand, participated in discussions, and soon enough I realized I’m learning a lot more. I was touched that the professors, senior residents, and interns I work with were very helpful once I open[ed] up.”

Oftentimes, experiencing the unfamiliar can carry more portents in shaping who and how we are in the future; it is up to the individual to discover how being vulnerable can deliver the most lasting lessons.

GEMx Staff Post: Introducing Angel Roman, GEMx Coordinator

Filed under: From GEMx Staff

Angel Roman
Post by Angel Roman, GEMx Coordinator 

Hello everyone!  My name is Angel Roman and I am the newest member to the GEMx Staff. I joined ECFMG in 2010 as a member of the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS) at ECFMG. My time in ERAS expanded my knowledge of the process for which International Medical Graduates undergo to enter into U.S Graduate Medical Education (GME). The principal reason of why I joined GEMx was to renew my working relationship with past ERAS employees, Justin Seeling (GEMx Program Manager) and Carol Russo (GEMx Senior Coordinator).

 motorcycles
At the forefront of my decision however, was  gaining a broader understanding of global health education systems and how cross cultural awareness could serve to develop a better understanding of some diseases. In my new role as GEMx Coordinator, I will serve as the point of contact for new institutions by assisting with the onboarding process as partners in GEMx global and regional network exchanges.

I was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and returned after attending college in North Carolina. The transition between living in a large city such as Philadelphia and attending school at a small campus located in the Outer Banks of North Carolina was indeed a culture shock. I am certain that any student who has had the opportunity to participate in an elective abroad has experienced varying degrees of “culture shock”. One key difference between Philadelphia and my college campus is the closing times for local businesses. In Philadelphia the closing times vary from 10pm -2am, however on my small Southern campus, all but one store closed at 9pm. Returning home after college granted me well needed time to spend with family and friends (and convenient shopping times!)

dog
My passion for mechanics and the love for speed developed from my bond with my father who taught me everything there is to know about how to both race and fix cars and motorcycles. I have recently completed a restoration of my father’s old school Harley Davidson. Most of my free time is spent exploring the ever growing food scene in Philadelphia with my wife Richmary and dog Ace.

I am excited about joining the GEMx team and look forward to hopefully meeting some of you in person.  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me by email at aroman@ecfmg.org.

 

GEMx Staff Post: Working the Faculty of Medicine-University of Tunis El Manar at The Network: Towards Unity for Health Conference 2017

Filed under: From GEMx Staff

Post by Carol Russo, GEMx Senior Coordinator and International Conference Organizing Committee Member for of The Network: Towards Unity for Health (TUFH) Conference

“It is Amine, not Imen [Madame!]”

This patient student could no longer politely bear the indignity of my grievous and ever constant misspelling his name.  I had been chatting back and forth with him via WhatsApp to manage and direct his assigned fellow student volunteers for The Network: Towards Unity for Health/World Summit on Social Accountability Conference. Each year I volunteer to assist  the Conference organizers in planning and provide on-site support. One of the most enjoyable aspects of my on-site role is having the opportunity to interact and work with the students. This year the conference was held in Hammamet, Tunisia; and the host institution was the Faculty of Medicine-University of Tunis El Manar.

Students from University of Tunis El Manar Faculty of Medicine volunteered at the 2017 The Network: TUFH Conference

Nearly 50 students from University of Tunis El Manar Faculty of Medicine volunteered at the 2017 The Network: TUFH Conference. Pictured here is the group responsible for preparing the delegate bags on the eve of the Pre-Conference. The students specially designed these bags to include traditional Tunisian weaving on their reverse sides (complete with camel silhouettes!) and also thoughtfully included unique Tunisian souvenirs for the attendees.

Led by their dean, Dr. Ahmed Maherzi, these students served as translators, hosts, session assistants, registration and badging clerks, scientific poster hangers, airport greeters and cultural ambassadors for the roughly 500 delegates who attended. Throughout the 4 days of Pre-Conference and Main Conference events, their dedication, humor, spirit, cleverness, energy, cordiality and tenacity were constant and present to the delegates, fellow international medical and healthcare profession students, global health stakeholders and their guests. The students were integral to delivering an experience filled with all the valuable take-aways this conference traditionally offers. 

By the way, come to find out,  “Imen” is a common Tunisian girls’ name.

Amine, again, my apologies… I don’t know how we could have had such a successful conference without your assistance, your fellow students’ commitment … and your forgiving nature!

 

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