Bryce Henderson
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Student: Bryce Henderson
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Responsibilities

My responsibilities were largely administrative in nature, as that is my background. My title, however, was that of Research Assistant (RA). I generally followed the direction of the RA that was senior to me, who was an integral component to the daily operations of the study. I constructed policies and procedures, while also coordinating data collection and participating in site visits. At times, the clinicians in charge would allow me to sit-in on the patient interview review sessions and even contribute to the discussion if appropriate. At the end of the project, I felt that I contributed several Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s) and data collection components that will contribute to the successful completion of the study.

Greatest Public Health Lesson

My greatest public health lesson was that we don’t always know what’s best for the patients, especially when trying to treat across cultural lines. Sometimes, our drive to help can seem counterintuitive to someone who has been raised in an environment that we know relatively nothing about. That being said, judgments and preconceived notions must be taken into consideration when approaching individuals from other communities, and not only the notions of the researcher, but the participants of the study as well.

Favorite Memory

My favorite moment of the trip was when I left the city for a week to help the in locating a site for Psychiatric Residents to spend time doing clinic work in rural states of S. Africa. Not only was I able to sit in on discussions with patients and their families (with their consent, of course) and was able to see how strained community clinics were, especially in the light of Mental Health services. The conditions in the clinic seemed dire at times, but the people who were working to provide care are some of the best I have ever met. The state we were working in just happened to be right next to the famous Kruger National Park. Kruger is a park that also serves as a wildlife preserve for the classic big animals that come to mind when thinking about African wildlife. Seeing as I was already out that way, I stayed for the weekend to go on some drives through the park. I was able to see Lions, Elephants, Rhino’s, leopards, and many more wonderful species of animals. There were several times that the guide on the drives said “well that’s not very common”, which made the experience feel even more unique.

Another favorite memory, which is more of an aggregate of memories, is of the people I worked with. This was a study that had just gotten its feet off the ground, and my arrival could have been very frustrating for a crew who already were in stride and overcoming barriers. I just kept my head down and tried to listen, which seemed to work out, but the overall compassion and empathy of this group really made the process that much easier. I can whole-heartedly say that I made some lifelong friends in Cape Town, and I hope to go back and see them again.

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