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M.P.H. Student Brings Passion for Medicine, Public Health and Sports Together in Guyana

InTouch 9-5-17Parthener Pinder, M.D., an M.P.H. candidate in the School of Health Sciences and Practice, recently travelled to Georgetown, Guyana, with the Guyana-Jamaica Friendship Association (GJFA) for a Symposium and Workshops on Early Childhood Education in collaboration with the Guyana Ministry of Education. The two-day symposium was designed to arm educators with enhanced tools to enrich the learning environment of children, with more than 150 educators from the 11 educational districts of Guyana in attendance. In Guyana, special efforts are focused on the education and health sectors working together to meet the needs of young children, including staff development in both areas. Dr. Pinder was one of five featured presenters of the workshops and combined her knowledge of medicine, public health and sports to conduct two workshops: “The Benefits of Movement and Games for Early Learners” and “Supporting Active Play in the Early Years.”

For each workshop, Dr. Parthener demonstrated a variety of games for the educators to use and had some of the educators act out different nursery school scenarios and activities they may encounter  while working within the Guyana Nursery Education Program. She was recognized by the Guyana Ministry of Education and received an award for her workshop on “Supporting Active Play in the Early Years.”

“I was able to use the skills I learned from my public health education at New York Medical College to identify two current issues within health services and the public health system—play/playing and psychiatric illness,” said Dr. Parthener. “My experience in Guyana showed me that many people don’t consider play/playing as a tool for teaching. Though proven to be a useful tool, many individuals continue to take play/playing for granted. I also recognized that many people do not see young children of being at risk for having psychiatric issues or mental illnesses. If ignored, both issues can potentially lead to a serious public health issue or crisis.”