Jonathan Lee (2009)
Community Health in Rural Honduras: Preventing Disease, Guarding Your Health
Jonathan Lee will be developing primary healthcare infrastructure in rural communities of the central, mountainous region of Honduras. Geographic, political, and economic distance from basic healthcare provoke what should be mild conditions into life threatening emergencies for the poor in this region. The centerpiece of his project is the training of community health workers (CHWs) to deliver efficient, home-based healthcare to families as well as to refer patients to La Clinica Santa Rosa de Lima, one of the only clinics for a widespread population of over 60,000. The CHWs, called Guardianes de Salud or “Health Guardians,” will be empowered with a text messaging-based communication infrastructure that will provide two-way communication between nurses and physicians at La Clinica and the CHWs. This system, powered by FrontlineSMS:Medic, is a free, open-source software program that enables large-scale, two-way text messaging using only a laptop, a GSM modem, and cell phones. Jonathan will also facilitate community-wide health workshops which will serve as a forum for the community to participate in active discussion about their health issues. The workshops, collectively titled “Health Promotion, Disease Prevention” will offer an array of practical solutions that can be easily used in the home to provide basic care for the sick as well as to prevent disease. He will also be training the CHWs to hold these health workshops in his absence. Jonathan will be working with a Honduras-based NGO called Global Medical Brigades, which provides healthcare services to over 120 rural communities throughout central Honduras, and he is being advised by a board of faculty from the UC Berkeley School of Public Health.
Jonathan received a Bachelors of Arts with Honors in Public Health Infectious Diseases with a minor in Global Poverty & Practice in May 2009, but Honduras has been as much his alma mater as the University of California. Since founding the UC Berkeley chapter for Global Medical Brigades in 2007, Jonathan has led teams of students and physicians to central Honduras to provide basic medical services to some of the poorest rural communities in the region. With a travel grant from the Blum Center for Developing Economies, Jonathan implemented a pilot community health project in January 2009. This project laid the groundwork for his "Community Health in Rural Honduras" initiative, which has also received the 2009 Clinton Global Initiative University Outstanding Commitment Award. Jonathan has shared valuable lessons from the field in Honduras as well as in the classrooms here in Berkeley through a Democratic Education at Cal course, titled "Global Poverty & Health: Structural Violence and Health Outcomes in Central America." Jonathan truly believes that health is a fundamental, human right regardless of one's background or country of residence, and he hopes to provide rural communities in Honduras with "the freedom to lead healthy, happy, and dignified lives."