Alisun Chopel, MPH Candidate
Hiking down into and up out of a canyon wider and deeper than the grand canyon, buying scorpion spray just in case, and acting as birth coach to a young woman I had just met, were all part of my journey to assess the need for a One HEART (onehearttibet.org) project to prevent maternal mortality
through birth education and supplies distribution.
Thanks to Bixby funding, my son and I were able to spend the summer with the indigenous people known to outsiders as the Tarahumara, in the Copper Canyon area of Chihuahua, Mexico.
During the day, we walked hours between isolated ranches and cave homes to speak with women about their reproductive health needs, resources, practices and beliefs, and at night, I worked on translation of materials and data analysis. I met and connected with health leaders and indigenous community leaders between visits to dispersed rural communities.
Exhausted by the end of the summer, I brought my son home before going to Salt Lake City to attend a fundraiser for the program. They raised more money than ever before, but unfortunately due to escalating reports of violence in the state they are putting the project on hold. I am more than satisfied with my experience: I learned so much, brought attention to a hidden but pressing issue, and listened to women who weren’t used to being listened to.