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Global Health Initiative

sarah perry

Global Health Initiative is an Ohio State student organization driven to increase awareness and provide students with educational opportunities related to global health issues. A few of the issues focused on are the impact of infectious diseases in developing countries, international maternal mortality and reproductive health concerns, developmental economics and global health policy and general health care in Columbus.

 One large aspect of the Global Health Initiative includes traveling abroad to volunteer internationally in developing countries. In years past, the program has collaborated with Peacework, a global non-profit organization, to send Global Health Initiative members to countries including Haiti, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Malawi and India.

”We toured local health care facilities, volunteered in a hospital, worked to install fences, irrigation systems, and cleared land for organic school gardens,” said Sarah Perry, a sophomore, majoring in public affairs. Perry also serves as the event planning chair on the Global Health Initiative executive board.

During these two week service trips students invest their time in improving the quality of life for the people in each community. Members have installed ONIL stoves, invented by retired engineer, Don O’Neal, which produce less smoke to help avoid respiratory diseases that result from smoke inhalation during cooking, repainted a school and built items for community gardens such as benches, hanging boxes and fences. They also spent time in hospitals working in palliative care, nutritional rehabilitation and maternal health clinics. Students worked alongside Othakharaka, a community-based organization in Mulanje, Malawi, to develop and give presentations on health, hygiene and malaria prevention throughout the area.

“During the hours that we weren't volunteering we got to explore the city. I played street soccer with the boys in the town center and scored! We traveled in tiny tok toks, standing in the back of pick-up trucks and in chicken buses,” said Perry. “We also took part in Mayan ceremonies, and met some amazing women that are widowed. They cooked dinner for us and we ate off banana leaves as they shared their stories.”

Sarah Perry

International volunteer trips for the 2014 summer include a continuation of annual projects in Guatemala and Malawi, along with the start of a new program in Peru. Global Health Initiative is currently accepting applications for both Peru, June 1-15 and Malawi, July 13-17.

To read about Sarah Perry's entire volunteer trip, please visit her profile abroad.

For more information on how to become involved with the Global Health Initiative, or how to volunteer abroad, please visit or contact Nina Kvaratskhelia, international volunteering chairperson. All Ohio State students are welcome to apply.