On the 2nd of September, I presented my practicum project infront of the staff of the DTHF and Professor Leslie London.I want to succinctly note to myself what I found most meaningful. I hope this will do more than fulfill my obligation to maintain a reflective journal, I hope it will give me future direction.
I spoke at great length about my experience – using an autoethnographic approach – in relation to a manual for future fellows. Hold, this is a watershed moment – I started this blog in 2010 when the MPH was just a dream, on the heels of my reading of the ethnography by João Biehl.
To think that I presented on my own research project using a qualitative research methodology is something I am elated about.
Now do I still feel that I need to go forth and pursue a PhD in medical anthropology? Well, as I discovered during the MPH, anthropology is quite a high ivory tower to climb and I probably would not gain admittance. But I can do public health.
I spoke about what I found meaningful during the fellowship and talking with policy makers features at the top of my list. I am really curious about that endeavour, researchers talking to policy makers,because concessions are made, findings are recast and the impact on policy ultimately may be different to what the researcher expected. In my experience, this had to do with how the City of Cape Town understood our findings regarding default from TB care, for its adolescent patients. Yet this also extends to much larger issue of findings among key populations across Africa. Often, the HIV risks of these populations remain unacknowledged.
I wonder then whether I need to find a way of getting research into policy and practice. Would this be a sensible direction for future study?