Research with International Service Learning

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This week, we have a guest blogger: our very own international director, Dr. Sonia Hernández! Dr. Sonia has done a great deal of research in her life, ranging from oncology to service learning related projects (Read more about Dr. Sonia in our Staff Spotlight from last week here!), and is excited to post her very first blog post right here on our website. Here is what she has to say to inspire YOU to get involved too:

What is the health profile of vulnerable communities in Jamaica? How do Tanzanians respond to people with disabilities? ​What efforts are being taken to have a more inclusive society there? What are the effects of having little or no access to health services on the health of Haitian immigrants in the Dominican Republic? What factors contribute to the high incidence of diabetes in Peñasco, México? So many questions…

We are living in a world full of information; in fact, we are bombarded by information every second. This, in turn, triggers in our minds many questions. Humans are curious by nature; we want to know the “whys.” If we want to answer some of these questions, we immediately ask. If the answers we get do not satisfy us, we look deeper and deeper until we are satisfied, convinced,​ and can reach a conclusion. Well, that is exactly what RESEARCH is. Research has helped humanity find answers to questions both basic and intricate.

As a researcher myself, I have been eager to see research as part of the learning opportunities ISL offers. Recently, my desire has come true. Several university faculty have presented solid research proposals approved by their institutional review board (IRB) and by ISL. Faculty and students involved in ISL programs are not only able to serve and explore a new culture, but able to get involved in research as well. It has been a wonderful experience!

I hope many others will join us in this quest to find answers to some of the many challenges facing vulnerable communities. Our goal is that the results of this research will help us become more effective partners; able to better serve our partner communities and help meet their needs in a more effective way.