Writing and Writing…

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By: María Laura Casalegno, Young Champion of Maternal Health

This blog post was contributed by María Laura Casalegno , one of the fifteen Young Champions of Maternal Health chosen by Ashoka and the Maternal Health Task Force at EngenderHealth. She will be blogging about her experience every month, and you can learn more about her, the other Young Champions, and the program here.

On March 8th I traveled with my mentor, Dr. Haywood Hall, to Washington, D.C. to attend the Annual Convention of the American Medical Student Association (AMSA). We had a booth there where we could share with all the students our experience as an organization and all our programs including our MedSpanish Program.

We also had the opportunity to visit the Ashoka’s offices. We had a very warm reception there and we felt really comfortable with all Ashoka team. We shared our experience as a Young Champion and an Ashoka Fellow with the staff. We also visited Population Council’s offices. We also had a very nice reception there and we also exchanged experiences and ideas with them.

Once back in San Miguel de Allende, I continued going with the Mobile Unit from the Women Institute to the communities. We were doing cervical cancer detection and we also did some sexual and reproductive health promotional activities.

With Dr. Haywood, we participated in two key meetings for the development of some projects that we are doing from PACE. One was with Dr. Angel Reineld Lopez, Director of the Centro deSalud La Lejona from San Miguel de Allende. He directs some rural clinics around San Miguel and he also directs the Caravanas de Salud, mobile units that go to rural communities outside San Miguel. We were discussing how to land our Obstetrical First Respondent Program project. The idea is to make a pilot project here in San Miguel and after that scale the program throughout southern states in Mexico and also also throughout Guatemala.

The other meeting was with Dr. Rosa Maria Nuñez, Director of Instituto Nacional de Salud Pública in Mexico. With her, we will be working in a retrospective study to assess ALSO impact.She also will support us in some other projects. Her collaboration and support in essential because she is a person with a lot of experience in the maternal health field.

I’ve been busiest writing grants proposals to help PACE and ALSO development. I wrote a proposal for the Young Advocates for Social Change Award organized by Global Health Strategies and for the Saving Lives at Birth Challenge. Now I am working in writing a proposal for Lemelson Foundation and its challenge Be the Change: Save a Life.

And March went by. One more month before our program ends. But although I am working hard, my goals are more defined now than ever and I am seeing outcomes. I am very grateful because this experience is making me grow up as a person.