| by Kristine Su

Portrait of Ansley Harralson

Ansley Harralson came to Middlebury with the intention of pursuing global health opportunities for a more holistic perspective on her pre-medical studies. She is a molecular biology and biochemistry major with a minor in global health. She described the minor as refreshing because it broadened her horizons to incorporate more disciplines.

Ansley took a deep dive into public health in Chile on the health professions track in her semester abroad. She was a Public Health Intern at Valparaíso Public Health & Primary Care Clinic, an opportunity that exposed her to the issues surrounding female sexual health internationally. Her experiences have encouraged her to keep a local mindset when thinking about global health, “It is not always true that people farther from me need more help than people closer to me.” At Middlebury, she has pursued local connections to global health by volunteering at the Open Door Clinic as a Spanish translator and EMT and interning with Vermont’s Head of Healthcare Reform through Economics Professor Jessica Holmes’ Health Policy in Action course.

She is the Co-President and was the Director of Fundraising Campaigns for GlobeMed, a student organization that raises awareness for and works to improve upon the health issues that affect those living in poverty across the world. GlobeMed is partnered with Gardens for Health International, a non-profit that fosters sustainable solutions to end chronic childhood malnutrition in Rwanda. Ansley gained further experience in her role as an on-site summer intern. “It was really cool to intern there because I had a connection to the organization for several years,” she added.

During the pandemic, the student organization has made efforts to continue meetings remotely. For the majority of the spring semester, GlobeMed’s weekly meetings discussed the development of the novel coronavirus. The members had considered how COVID-19 would interact with the country’s current allocation of resources and inflexible healthcare system. “I felt more prepared,” Ansley reflected.

This summer, she had plans to continue her work in Chemistry and Biochemistry Professor Bob Cluss’ lab on the metabolism of a causative agent of Lyme Disease. Ansley was grateful that efforts are being made to transition into remote work.

Her advice to anyone who is trying to gain global health experience is to participate in activities around campus. She recalled looking through the weekly events calendar and attending random events that interested her. Ansley also recommended asking for guidance and advice from professors, even if their discipline does not appear to be related to global health, “You never know what the professors know or have done [that would interest you].”

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This article was featured in the Spring 2020 Global Health Newsletter.

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