Nov 17, 2017

Letter from our new Director of Learning & Training: Anna Blankenberger

Dear GlobeMed Network:

Hello, and thank you

The position of Director of Learning & Training at GlobeMed grants me an opportunity to share and expand on my lived experience. As a public health professional, avid educator, world explorer, and lifetime learner, I am honored to embrace this role. Though I struggle with understanding the drastic inequities in the world, I know I am not alone.  I look forward to learning and growing with you all.

In the spirit of tradition as the newest staff member with GlobeMed, I’ve been asked to share a bit about myself. I completed my undergraduate studies at Central Michigan University with a Bachelors of Applied Art in Interpersonal & Public Communication in 2003. During my last semester, I participated in Semester at Sea, a multi-country study abroad program that combines hands-on education with formal academics in a shared living space. This was a transformative experience, as I witnessed firsthand both the power and humility of societal structures worldwide.  This venture affirmed my admiration of humanity and solidified my commitment to work towards a more just world.

After working at a small qualitative marketing research firm for a few years post graduation, I was eager to advance this commitment. In 2005, I was accepted into World Teach, an NGO that trains volunteers to teach English abroad. I lived with a host family in Ecuador, taught English at a community college and learned Spanish. Upon returning, I was recruited and hired as Health Education Coordinator with CommunityHealth, a free health clinic for the uninsured on the west side of Chicago. I worked at the clinic for three years, and was encouraged by the model of providing free health care services, medication, and compassion to patients. I craved knowledge on how to expand access to health care. Thus, in 2009, I decided to pursue my Masters in Public Health at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

During my time in graduate school, I secured a field practicum and conducted research with Un Mundo, a nonprofit community based organization in rural Honduras. I spent three months conducting a community assessment that would offer guidance on how to best collaborate with lay midwives to optimize maternal child health. I also facilitated a youth workshop on the benefits of working in the health sector, local birthing trends and STI prevention. Shortly after graduating from the MPH program in Community Health Sciences with a concentration in Global Health, I was hired as Health Education Coordinator at March of Dimes. A few years later, I was promoted to Maternal Child Health Program Director, where I designed our strategic mission plan, developed spending priorities and positioned our organization as a leader.

As I reflect on my story, the themes of education, curiosity and growth permeate throughout my professional and personal life. I am always seeking new opportunities to learn and build upon my strengths to promote social justice. My primary goal in accepting this position as Director of Learning and Training is to share my knowledge, experiences and creative approach with students, my colleagues, and the GlobeMed community. As the dear late Maya Angelou so eloquently and simply expresses, “When you learn, teach. When you get, give.”

So, again, thank you, GlobeMed network.

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