The Student Network Organization has interviewed Adriana Molina, a recent medical graduate and a SNO member who has grown With the Network: TUFH. Read the interview by clicking on the arrow.
Interview with Adriana, a recent medical graduate and SNO member who has grown with the Network TUFH.

Could you briefly introduce yourself?

I am Adriana Paola Molina Sanchez. I graduated from Universidad de La Sabana as a medical doctor. I am currently on a compulsory rural year medical practice, working at Guacheta’s San Jose Hospital, Colombia Latin America.

During your school time, what moments vividly captured your mind?

As I grew up, I was always submissive to orders from elders or people in higher positions or people I considered to have a stake in my life. I religiously followed what I was told to do and learned what I was said to learn. My medical training seemed kind of unique; I was faced with what I call mistreatment and it was a must to accept it, because “that is how you get stronger,” as always stated by all my mentors and educators. The reality of an obscured health system dawned on me when it became mandatory to go through it; where you treat patients but you must save yourself from their demands, where the system is focused on the disease but not the social, economic or political determinants of health; reviewing at least 3 patients per hour and medicating them. At some point, I felt like I was trapped in pursuit of a wrong profession.

I would like to understand how you got to know Network TUFH and SNO.

During my eleventh semester, I discovered the most amazing team of teachers of Public Health, I prefer describing them as “the dreamers.” These would play around with medicine knowledge and putting it into reality with communities. Thus, impacting lives using the most innovative and integral ideas. I was so excited to be part of them, working on a community project that aimed to prevent the toxic stress on children.

One day, one of my lectures who is on the executive committee of Network TUFH, sent a communication to us “the students he was teaching,” about the call for abstracts and presentations for the Network TUFH conference. I took a step to inquire from him as well as search for details about that conference. I was so much thrilled by what I got to know about the conference and made what I now call an “unregrettable” move to submit an abstract on my community project. My longing for the Network TUFH conference further increased when my abstract was accepted for a presentation.

Well, being part of the conference as a student meant being part of the students family (SNO).   

This sounds great!! I guess it was your first international presentation. So, being a student and a first-time presenter, addressing not only your fellow students but also professionals how did it feel to you?

As soon as I got to the reception, my mind was blown up; I clearly remember that day as if it was yesterday. There I was; a student next to the most interesting human beings that had worked so hard to implement their amazing projects and ambitiously staring at me. For sure, I had a hypomanic episode. But all in all I presented and I considered an achievement.

I understand you have attended more than one Network TUFH conferences, how has this impacted you?

I first attended Network TUFH conferences in South Africa 2015 and secondly in China 2016. In South Africa, I found several students from different countries with varying cultures whose passions were like mine. I love leadership and learning from others. Some of the students had outstanding leaderships skills while others had a large knowledge base pertaining most of the conference activities, I must appreciate. I felt I wanted to learn from them, change the world like them, and do something beyond myself. So, the challenging question to me at that moment was, “How should I be part of them?”

I made a move to contest for Latin American regional representative. For I knew this was the easiest way for me to be central to the students’ issues and activities. I served in this capacity for a year and I was fortunate enough to be voted again as vice president of SNO 2016-17 in china.

After 2 years of serving the Student Network Organization, I can say I am not the same person I was before. I have met people from around the world, I have become a stronger professional woman and my mind has expanded. I have found my “ikigai (my sense of being) next to my professional team. I now know that I took the best choice. SNO has given me a sense of global belonging. And now that I have graduated from medical school, I highly value the leadership skills I developed, and my concern about my community outside the consulting room is at a different level. I seriously apply the team work skills I gained from SNO to give a better attention to my patients and improve their healthcare services. I have even developed interest in studying Public/Global Health and I believe through this career track I will adequately address the growing need for health equity in my country.

Do you have any last words for our readers?

Thanks to every person that has been part of this great journey; past and present SNO members and leaders. SNO, will always be my family, my support. It has changed me and given me a vision, taught me that things can be different and better but you must work for everything. I learnt that tough times get easier when you have your friends next to you and I will always appreciate it.

 

The Student Network Organization (SNO) goes to the next level
By Samson Wakibi, Alejandro Avelino Bonilla and Vishnupriya Vijayalekshmi
The Student Network Organization has been growing the past years. SNO is a part of The Network: TUFH, our origin. As SNO, all our values, competencies and code of conduct are rooted in The Network: TUFH. We work on connecting students, universities and other organizations as well as promoting interdisciplinary teamwork in health sciences. Read our update by clicking on the arrow.

In this way, we strive to oppose the traditional lecture system and conquer with Paulo Freire and his book “Pedagogy of the oppressed,” where he challenges the global concept that ensures that the best students are those who can remember and apply all the depositions from the best teacher. The reality is that the best students are the ones who get actively involved in their learning process and consolidate it through creation of new knowledge.

Overtime, since the birth of SNO, our question has been; “What can we do differently as students?” As the African proverb says, “Even the young can drum and the old dance”. We derive our satisfaction from contributing to the growth of The Network: TUFH. We have, and continue to reach out to as many students globally as possible, sharing our vision and fulfilling our objectives. We envision a global body of students impacting communities and individual lives, sharing their work with the global community majorly through conferences.

Within the Network: TUFH conferences, SNO students can present their research/project activities to the big gathering. It is indeed a great opportunity for them to get recognition and feedback for their work on a global platform.

SNO students can organize workshops, teaching both fellow students and health professionals (teachers, health workers, accountants etc.) and empower them to actively participate in activities and contribute to global health care.

Key note addresses are another conference session which quite often gets the participants by their ears. Being the emerging change agents in health care, students deserve the platform to challenge the status quo of crucial issues. Students have had the opportunity at The Network: TUFH conferences of engaging all the participants in reflecting on specific issues as keynote speakers.

As a students’ network, we continue to join and partner with other organizations and associations to increase students’ engagement. This year, we have extended our network beyond the big regional levels to institutional levels. We are well represented in many educational institutions. This has made our students membership with the Network: TUFH increase. We continue to encourage non-members to be members either as individuals or institutions. It’s our sincere hope that these small student denominations make the world a small global village in which effective communication is at the forefront of seeking solutions to pressing issues of people’s livelihoods. Our first community engagement with the World Health Organization (WHO) through the antibiotic resistance project is an exciting opportunity for all students. As SNO, we will be bringing this opportunity to all our members and we count on all students on the success of this project as they bring their creativity into action.

We continue to create and bring up as many students’ opportunities as possible. We are currently running a 2-3 weeks clinical internship for students yearly in partnership with
GEMx. We have taken an initiative and mandate to lobby for funding to sustain this program.
It’s our pleasure that students and their institutions find this opportunity to be of benefit.

Through the Education for Health journal, SNO students access scientific level publications
and can also publish their work. We are working on having a students’ section on this journal.
Through this, students shall be exposed to the peer review process and other journal related
skills.

We continue to cherish the work and tremendous effort put in by students to shine in the past
conferences. With utmost excitement, we would love to inform the public that students have
remained strong competitors in The Network: TUFH conference awards at every conference.
In South Africa, we had two students feature in the three chosen best poster presenters; in
China, the overall best poster winner was a student; and in Tunisia the first and second-best
poster winners were students. We pledge to uplift the standard and level of participation of
students in the Network TUFH activities.

Lastly, the SNO leadership and its activities continue to grow. We are grateful to write that all
these activities are currently running and under management of students. Therefore, as a
students’ body we strive to expose all students to equal leadership opportunities in the SNO.
It’s our desire that all students participate in or contribute to serving fellow students and their
communities. In so doing, we strongly believe we bring life to social accountability; the
educators and their institutions get opportunities to evaluate the extent of their educational
impact to the participating students.

We exist because you do!