My name is Makaela Press and I am a senior majoring in International Studies and minoring in Global health and Legal Studies at the University of Oregon. Throughout my time as an undergraduate I have had the opportunity to study abroad twice. Last fall I spent three and a half months in Jordan focusing on public health, refugees, and humanitarian action and this past summer I spent two months in Ecuador learning about women’s reproductive healthcare in Quito through clinical shadowing. I am also the current Partners in Health Liaison for Students for Global Health (SGH).
During my time in Jordan I had the opportunity to discuss major health challenges faced by refugees, particularly Syrian and Palestinian refugees as these are the main refugee groups living in Jordan. During my final month in Jordan I was able to conduct an independent research project focused on how the Syrian Conflict affected the reemergence of infectious diseases in Jordan, specifically looking at Cutaneous Leishmaniasis. Cutaneous Leishmaniasis, which was once restricted to two areas in Syria (Aleppo and Damascus) is now seen all over Syria and the greater region due to the massive human displacement within Syria and the ecologic disruption of the sand fly.
Learning about global health in this context was very impactful and SGH and the global health minor gave me a space on campus to further develop my interest in global health once I returned from Jordan. Now more than ever we must work to make sure that healthcare is accessible to everyone as it is fundamental human right. After graduation I would like to pursue a master’s degree in global health and eventually a career where I can work to make the world a more equitable place.