Why I chose global health

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Combining education and technology: global health solutions that start in the classroom

Anjelica Gonzalez may have grown up in Las Vegas, but cards weren’t her interest, water was – in particular, the filtration of water on a global level. However, she learned a few basics of logic from a blackjack dealer – her mother.
“My mother was very logical. The thought process she taught me really made an impact because she showed me that you don’t need a college education to understand problems and create solutions to them. You just have to reason and in some cases understand others, ”says Gonzalez. This is the philosophy that Gonzalez uses in his teaching. She says she wants to bring science and engineering “back to the human”.

She also credits her grandfather with influencing her decision to pursue a path to science. His grandfather had a farm and taught him the irrigation process. She says it wasn’t just water filtration for fruits and vegetables that piqued her interest, Gonzalez has focused her career on biotechnology for the developing world and how she could apply whatever she has. learned about agricultural irrigation to help the human body. “I thought when I grew up I wanted to be involved in a science that belongs to everyone and needs everyone’s contribution,” she said. It is in this spirit that she pursued her teaching career with the particular aim of arousing the enthusiasm and involvement of her students in solutions and technologies that not only work, but are in fact sustainable. in the environments in which they would be used.

His work takes him across the world with researchers and programs seeking to improve health and well-being in low- and middle-income countries. Gonzalez’s most memorable experience was on a trip to Malawi where she was struck by the sight of an eight month pregnant woman walking for miles with her children to sit outside a clinic among people sick until she goes into labor. “I knew I couldn’t solve every problem in the world, but I also knew I could help somehow. I thought maybe I could fix a problem and get the ball rolling.

Gonzalez knows that if no one is using a device, there’s no point in developing it. It therefore examines the problems not only from a technical point of view, but also from a community point of view to build desirable and culturally sustainable devices. different environments. Culturally different means not only recognizing how people perceive medical intervention due to tradition or religious beliefs, but also recognizing fundamental differences, such as creating solutions that work in areas where there are no. no electricity or water. This type of thinking motivated her class discussion and leadership philosophy as the faculty director of the Tsai Center for Innovative Thinking at Yale and led to the development of PremieBreathe, a low-cost infant ventilator that provides heated, humidified and oxygenated air to reduce the airways. irritation and keep infants breathing normally. A product seeking FDA approval for use in low and middle income countries.

By getting students to place problems in a global context and create diagnostics and therapies designed to fight global diseases, she sees the classroom more as an engineering laboratory for the development of realistic tools for use. human. And, with her experience in mind of learning basic agricultural engineering with her grandfather, she says her diversity of experiences and thoughts among students with specializations ranging from art to l history to economics, all working together with one goal in mind – global health – that will lead to successful scientific breakthroughs.

She says success would be when she sees respiratory technology in neonatal hospitals around the world at low cost and makes science something everyone can understand. She ended our conversation with the advice she gives to her young twin boys before their baseball games and to her students: “We have to face certain failures in order to be successful. ”

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