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March 2, 2014

Chicago White Sox Centerfielder Joins Global Health Team

by Dan Rodriguez
From left: Professor Juliet Sorensen, Alejandro De Aza, and Dan Young, deputy director, Center for Global Health, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Professor Juliet Sorensen, Alejandro De Aza, and Dan Young, deputy director, Center for Global Health, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Alejandro De Aza, leadoff hitter and centerfielder for the Chicago White Sox, helped promote Northwestern University’s Access to Health project with a message to his hometown of Guaymate, Dominican Republic. His 90-second video announcement encouraging a healthy lifestyle debuted at a community health fair held on Guaymate’s baseball fields March 1, 2014. The Access to Health team is working with healthcare practitioners at Guaymate Hospital on a long-term quality improvement project, which evolved from the team’s need assessment following a site visit to Guaymate last spring.

Juliet Sorensen, clinical assistant professor of law in the Center for International Human Rights at Northwestern Law, along with colleagues at the Center for Global Health at Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine, founded the project to leverage their research and clinical expertise in partnership with a community in the developing world to conduct a multidisciplinary needs assessment of that community. Once the team identifies a community, its needs are assessed and, based on the results of that study, both the team and the community identify and implement a sustainable, capacity-building intervention. Northwestern law, business, medical, and public health students in Sorensen’s “Health and Human Rights” class work in interdisciplinary groups on various aspects of the needs assessment, while also taking advantage of the expertise of the University’s engineering faculty to design health projects in the developing countries. Later this month, a team will travel to Mali to work with people there to build health care capacity as the country emerges from civil conflict.

Access to Health is a terrific project, one that demonstrates the power of interdisciplinary work. Bringing people with different skills and training together to work on teams is a very effective way to solve problems, and the experience helps our students become better lawyers. Good luck to Juliet and her students on their trip to Mali!

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