ZAINAB FEROZE, ROBBY DOUGHTY, HARNEET KAUR
The volunteer abroad industry has rapidly expanded in recent years, with some estimating the net worth of the industry to be upwards of $173 billion a year (The Wilson Quarterly). With tens of thousands of volunteers, including thousands of pre-health college students, volunteering abroad a year, it is important to be aware of the ethical impacts of the ever-growing field of “voluntourism”.
In this brief editorial, I advocate that pre-health students ought to adopt an attitudes-based framework to discern if an international medical service trip is ethically permissible. After a reflection of my own experience as an international volunteer, I examine the ways in which international medical service trips benefit and harm volunteers and community members. I argue that the qualities of “excellence” and “humility” are crucial for students to consider when searching for an international medical service trip, if they decide to participate on one. I include an framework of some questions students should ask when evaluating international medical service trips.
CARTER CORTAZZI, JAMIE FARRELL, LOLA BUSHNELL
Every time you wash your fleece, it dumps 250,000 plastic microfibers into water sources. These fibers degrade the health of aquatic life, and when they make their way into food and water sources, can affect human well-being, too. It’s a newly discovered problem, but given its scale and the scale of synthetic fiber use worldwide, many parties – nonprofits, individual researchers, and even commercial retailers – are already on eager to take down microfiber pollution. Our solution is the Fiber Filter. Modeled on the idea of the already common delicates bag, the Fiber Filter is an easy to use garments pouch for synthetic clothing that prevents the release of microfibers into waterways right at the source. It allows the consumer to continue to wear their favorite synthetic pieces of clothing, without sacrificing the integrity of their conscience, the environment, or their daily routine. All it takes is a zip of the bag and a toss in the wash (and the dryer too!), and the consumer becomes a solution.
For the past twenty years, Uganda has made significant strides in increasing access to education for all of its citizens, particularly with the introduction of the Universal Primary Education (UPE) and Universal Secondary Education (USE) schemes, both of which sought to eliminate monetary barriers for children to attend public schools. However, a gender gap persists in the completion of both primary and secondary school in Uganda, as girls are significantly more likely to drop out of school than boys. Several studies have pointed to poor menstrual hygiene management in schools as an important determinant of school absenteeism amongst girls in Uganda. Menstrual hygiene management (MHM) can be defined as the articulation, awareness, information and confidence to manage menstruation with safety and dignity using safe hygienic materials together with adequate water and spaces for washing and bathing and disposal with privacy and dignity. An estimated 3.75 million Ugandan schoolgirls currently live without access to proper sanitary care. Not only is this a fundamental issue of ethical and human rights concern, but one with far reaching societal impacts. As an important determinant of completion of primary and secondary school education amongst girls, MHM impacts facets of society such as teenage marriage and childbearing, total fertility rate (TFR) and infant and child mortality rates. This is particularly concerning in Uganda given that the country currently faces dangerous population growth that threatens to further strain the country’s available resources. Therefore, menstrual hygiene management is ultimately a public health concern and must be addressed as such at the national level. The objective of this paper is to elucidate the current state of policy interventions in Uganda aimed at addressing MHM in primary and secondary schools, identify the gaps that remain, and make evidence-based, comprehensive recommendations for addressing menstrual hygiene management at the national level.
Janelle advocates for the enactment of law that permits death row prisoners to be organ donors. Janelle discusses the potential benefit to the entirety of American society and the potential opportunity for moral contrition for the donor, and wrestles with the ethical questions of coercion and autonomy as it pertains to the individual’s decision to donate.
Andrew proposes legislation to use federal funds to mandate an influenza vaccine for healthcare workers, with an exception for those who cannot receive the vaccine for medical reasons. Andrew draws upon the duty of healthcare providers to do no harm to their patients to advocate for the mandate on flu vaccines while weighing the potential conflict of individual healthcare providers’ autonomy.
LUCIE FELDER, ALANA KURTTI, SANA CHARANIA, + OLIVIA REYES
The team calls for mandated vaccinations among populations at high risk for influenza infection, specifically children and the elderly. The team’s proposal considers the ethical questions of coercion and excessive costs associated with such legislation.
Rosa promotes the implementation of the Spanish model of organ donation to address the kidney donation shortage in the United States. Rosa suggests that this model, which actively recruits potential donors and counsels the families of brain-dead or recently deceased patients, will increase the number of lives saved, reduce healthcare costs, and significantly diminish the length of the kidney transplant waitlist.
NICK BAKER, ALEXANDRA VAN NISPEN, CLAIRE SUH, JOLIE HUYNH, + CONOR ROSS
The team proposes the implementation of a Pesticide Field School (PFS) in Argentina to promote best practices for the use of glyphosate, a key pesticide that yields significant benefits if used correctly, but can result in serious health consequences if improperly handled. In order to prevent Argentina from banning use of the chemical completely, the team suggests that a carefully constructed education program can mitigate the risks of glyphosate use.
Alisha highlights the negative implications of the severe deficit of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) professionals that the US is currently facing. Public education does not provide the tools necessary for students to maintain an interest in STEM subjects. She proposes a mandatory transfer of out-of-date, but still usable, STEM equipment from federally funded universities to public schools to provide the opportunity for public school students to deeply engage with STEM subjects.
SANA CHARANIA + ALISHA DUA + NGOZI OKARU + ALEXIS ONI ESELEH
Sana, Alisha, Ngozi, and Alexis created Lunchtime Comics, a health literacy tool that focuses on improving the dining experience for children while also resolving health disparities. Lunchtime Comics is a series of placemats with fun, yet informative activities for the elementary school lunchroom and have been highly successful when tested with hundreds of elementary school students. The goal of the project is to create a well-developed product that can be more widely deployed.