Public Health

Examining the social determinants of global eye health: Sharing my story of vision care (pt. 3)

This post is part three. Read part one and two of this series. As Together We See (TWS) grew, our team conducted international vision screenings. In these programs, we’d begin by remotely training volunteers in that region to conduct visual acuity examinations using OcularCheck. In an ordinary year, our team would have conducted these ourselves, but we couldn’t travel due…

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Social Determinants of Health

Ripple effects of global warming and climate change on American public health disparities

Climate change is one of humanity’s most pressing obstacles this century. With longer summers and shortening coastlines, environmental changes are well-documented by scientists. However, environmental alterations are bound to have a myriad of ripple effects on our society, which—while often less understood—may be equally as devastating. In this article, we’ll investigate how some of these ripples affect public health in…

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Anthropology

Understanding the complex relationship between Indigenous peoples and biotechnology

As biotechnology advances the horizons of human potential, our species has gained the power to manipulate life to its most fundamental building blocks. With this power comes a responsibility to wield it with ethical and moral standards: Can we responsibly manipulate the natural world for our own ends? When we do so, will the technologies we develop be equitable and…

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Social Determinants of Health

Mass Incarceration and COVID-19: The intersection of American policy failures

Today, American prison systems stand at the intersection of multiple public health disasters. Mass incarceration has led to millions of people living in dismal, overcrowded arrangements — conditions that left prisoners particularly susceptible to infectious spread. At the onset of the pandemic, policymakers had a chance to create effective safety regulations but failed to do so. The convergence of these…

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Social Determinants of Health

A Mini-Ethnography: Social determinants of public health on the Texas-Mexico border

In early January, I traveled from the suburbs of Austin to the Rio Grande Valley (RGV) as a student researcher to test an app that would expand the outreach of healthcare. Despite being in the same state, the RGV’s distinctive culture seemed a world away. I journaled my observations and interactions in the town, and when I returned home, I…

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Public Health

Racial disparities in COVID-19 vaccinations demonstrate a biosocial impact

Eleven months: after the first SARS-CoV-2 case in December 2019, pharmaceutical research and development produced an effective vaccine in November 2020. The speed of this timeline is unmatched in human history, as typically, vaccines take more than a decade to develop. Yet, science is only the first link of the public health chain. The next steps, comprising equitable distribution and…

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Public Health

How COVID-19 is affecting the BLM movement: An intersection of public health and racial justice

In the last few weeks, we have seen a tremendous increase in awareness about racial inequality in America. Fortunately, progress is occurring at an accelerating pace thanks to the tireless efforts of protesters and activists. Because of our country’s history, protesting is deeply symbolic of our core American identity, as it represents our defiance towards injustice and wrongdoing. Now more…

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Public Health

Developing OcularCheck, an app that detects visual refractive errors: Sharing my story of vision care (pt. 2)

My visit to the Lions Sight Research Foundation’s eye clinic (read more here) “opened my eyes” to the world of visual impairments. Although I’d experienced my own visual impairment as a personal reality, I didn’t notice that it occurred on a much larger scale until witnessing this firsthand at the eye clinic. From the stream of patients waiting at the…

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Social Determinants of Health

How the most primal of human necessities affect public health today: A global understanding of malnutrition and food insecurity

Food, water, and shelter—the three necessities of our ancestors, dating from tens of millennia ago, are still ever-important to our survival. In modern-day society, food has become an essential aspect of the cultural landscape of cities; as a result, what food one has access to is dependent on their geographical location, income, and status. Unfortunately, nutrition in marginalized communities is…

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Social Determinants of Health

Education in the K-12 system: A social determinant of health that extends beyond the child’s classroom

Author’s note: This is the second post of the social determinants of health series, in which I discuss international public health disparities and societal factors contributing to public health. In these posts, I’ll delve into my journey into the field of public health, specifically focusing on eye care/visual impairments in underprivileged communities, while describing my experiences along the way. The…

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