While summer plans for many Centre students were unfortunately altered or canceled due to COVID-19, those who are part of Partners in Health Engage have taken the opportunity to participate in a summer advocacy campaign regarding the pandemic.
Partners in Health Engage is a non-profit organization that works to bring quality healthcare to the most vulnerable around the world. Its grassroots network spans across the entire country and seeks to dismantle barriers to accessing quality healthcare. Recently, Partners in Health Engage decided to work with Right to Health, a new coalition that was developed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Approximately 10 Centre students are attending Partners in Health’s yearly training institute, which is typically held in Washington, D.C. An advocacy campaign regarding COVID-19 is part of this year’s virtual training. Centre students are among the constituents meeting with Senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul as well as other Congressional representatives to advocate for their support of specific items in the upcoming COVID-19 relief bill.
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology major Mary Katherine Oberman ’21 (Lancaster, Kentucky) explained, “Partners in Health has empowered me with the vocabulary and tools to implement my notions of health equity toward effecting real change and speaking boldly into the national discourse surrounding our ongoing pandemic.”
Spanish major Analisa Conway ’22 (Louisville, Kentucky) expressed how being involved with PIH Engage at Centre has allowed her to “serve as an advocate for global public health campaigns, whether it was TB awareness, maternal health in countries with weak health systems, or the COVID-19 response in our nation. Additionally, I believe that classroom discussions facilitated by Centre professors have prepared students to vocalize their beliefs and support their arguments, which is an important tool when meeting with representatives.”
Annika Avula ’23 (Bowling Green, Kentucky) echoed similar sentiments about how her Centre experience has prepared her for advocacy. “One of the best aspects of a Centre education is how deep we dive into every subject and how professors will link what we’re learning in class to the real world.” In her genetics class this spring, for example, students began relating COVID-19 to concepts they had learned in class earlier in the semester.
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology major Hemangi Patel ’22 (Hopkinsville, Kentucky) also explained how Centre has equipped her to actively participate in this advocacy campaign. “Centre College has prepared me for advocacy by offering courses, such as sociology, to expand my view of the world around me. Volunteering through Partners in Health and other organizations on campus has helped me gain experience and provided me with an outlet for advocacy,” she said.
Even in the midst of the pandemic, Centre remains even more committed to being a catalyst for learning and global engagement and helping its students use their education to better the world outside of their classrooms.
by Injee Hong ’21
August 3, 2020