CLUB LIFE: Engaging With Issues of Health and Social Justice

Since launching last fall, the Bi-Co chapter of Partners in Health has been pursuing global health equity through education, fundraising, and advocacy.

Partners in Health Engage (PIH Engage) is a Bi-Co club, established last fall, that acts as Haverford and Bryn Mawr’s chapter of Partners in Health, a service organization that provides global, accessible healthcare while addressing poverty and structural reforms at a grassroots level. PIH Engage hit the ground running as the club was founded in the midst of the Ebola crisis. The students “immediately held fundraising and education events to dispel misinformation,” says Caleb Eckert ’17, and also “met with Rep. Patrick Mehan’s office to push for funding allocation in Fiscal Year 2016’s budget to go towards Ebola funding, community health workers, and making changes in global health funding overall.” PIH Engage successfully planned and hosted four events in a week during the during their October 2014 Ebola campaign thanks to the hard work and energy of the team leaders, including Shakira King ’17, who is in charge of advocacy; Danielle Nosal BMC ’16, who leads the group’s fundraising initiatives; Meg Palmer ’17 and Emily Bamforth BMC ’16, who both are in charge of community building, and Eckert, who is the overall team coordinator.

PIH Engage grew out of a strong passion for health rights and activism. During the spring semester of 2014, Eckert took a course taught by Visiting Professor Eliot Razman called “Applied Ethics of Peace, Justice, and Human Rights,” in which the class read and was inspired by Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder, a book about PIH co-founder Paul Farmer. Eckert says that he and several other students “felt compelled to engage in the real and systemic change regarding social justice and public health.” Eckert then attended a PIH Engage training institute in Boston over the summer, where he learned leadership and community-building skills and established connections with local PIH teams.

This semester, PIH Engage has been continuing its work by holding a 10 Days to Zero campaign from November 11 through 18 in order to learn about, advocate, and raise funds for PIH’s efforts to eradicate tuberculosis, particularly in Peru. One of the events was a “Tuberculosis Teach-in” on Nov. 18, which educated Haverfordians about the disease, as well as about the work PIH does.

“In addition to raising money for PIH and advocating campus communities, we also want to continue our relationship with Rep. Patrick Meehan’s office, write op-eds and letters to the editor about tuberculosis locally and globally, and push for presidential campaigns to firmly commit to large-scale global health funding commitments,” says Eckert.

PIH Engage meets bi-weekly on Thursday evenings at 9:30 p.m. in either the Rufus Jones Study in Magill Library or Chase 101. The club members welcome Bi-Co community members to join their mailing list, get involved, share resources, and collaborate on events. Email for more information.


-Jenny Ahn ’17

Photo by Ryan Gooding ’16

Caption: Panelists Renee King ’16, Meg Palmer ’17, and Caleb Eckert ’17 after the Tuberculosis Teach-In put on by PIH Engage.