Hi everyone! Welcome to my first blog post as the inaugural Stanford-NBC News Global Health Media Fellow. My name is Joyce Ho, and I just finished my second year of medical school at Stanford University School of Medicine in Palo Alto. This next year I have the fantastic opportunity to learn how different media platforms (print, investigative journalism, photography, television and social networking) can be used to promote global health issues. I will be working under the mentorship of Dr. Michele Barry, Dean of Global Health at Stanford; Dick Thompson, former Communication Advisor to the Director-General at WHO and current senior editor of Health Affairs; Dr. Nancy Snyderman, Chief Medical Editor at NBC News; Ning; Stanford School of Journalism; world-renowned photographer Mark Tuschman; and other experts in this field. I will be here at Stanford working for the Center for Global Health and taking journalism classes until December, going to India for a few weeks to attend a photography workshop, and then working at NBC News in New York for six months. Part of my training through the fellowship is learning how to tell my story, so I’m inviting you to join me on this year-long adventure of a medical student now dabbling in the media.
So why am I postponing the wonderful world of clerkships (aka year 3 of medical school) to learn about media and global health? Well, I have been interested in sustainable initiatives in global health since college. The summer after my sophomore year I volunteered in Tamale, Ghana, with Unite For Sight; the summer after my junior year, I worked with the Stanford Emergency Medicine Department to help jumpstart paramedics education in Hyderabad, India. Coming back from those experiences, I found it difficult to share my story since it didn’t “fit” into any of the outlets on campus. In response I made my own journal, Stanford Service in Global Health Journal, where students and faculty could share their experiences volunteering or doing research in global health in an anecdotal writing style. That was my first taste of using print to spark dialogue around global health. Through this experience, I realized how critical communication is in this field, where international issues may seem foreign and removed from the standpoint of individuals living in other countries. The Global Health Media Fellowship is a great opportunity for me to learn more about promoting global health issues to people of all backgrounds by using different media outlets. Hopefully, by being able to reach individuals using the platforms he or she prefers, I will be able to make others passionate about what I am passionate about in this field.
I will be chronicling my activities as the inaugural fellow through this blog. I hope you enjoy the posts, and we can turn this into a conversation if you comment below. Please follow my twitter as well: MedGlobalHealth. Looking forward to a fantastic year!