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School has started again. How quickly time flies? I am already at class number two this weekend with only three more to go before the second semester starts. I now have 15 months until I graduate! The meat of my program is just starting and I have decided on where I want my thesis to focus: public health. As soon as next semester starts I can figure out what aspect of public health I want to focus on.

I have had a pretty amazing summer. Work has been a lot of fun and it was a wonderful learning experience as well. I had the chance to learn about healthcare from a very informative position. I also mentored a student this summer through the Goodwill Foundation. My mentee’s name is Joseph and he is attending Oklahoma State. It was really rewarding and refreshing to work with incoming college freshmen. I adopted a dog from the dumb friend’s league, Bella a 3.5 year old chocolate lab. There is a wonderful and amazing woman I met this summer as well and it has been fantastic getting to know her and her family this summer. She is a nurse at another area hospital so at least she’s in healthcare! Well, I need to get back to homework, but I will have another update right around the corner. Till then have fun and welcome to Regis!

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April has come to a close and my first year of graduate school is done. What have I learned so far? I truly love school and this new adventure into graduate school has been very inspiring. One of my biggest surprises has been my attitude and achievements. I was consistently an under achiever, I never gave school a true shot. I went to class and did the work but never was inspired in my work. I got a degree in sociology because when I took my first class, I found the subject fascinating. Now things have changed and it has been a change for the best. Its not that I didn’t enjoy the classes, but now I have more focus and drive, the subject matter is directed into a new area that I have found a passion for and I feel that this makes the difference. This past year has shown me that I have found where my career is headed and reconfirmed that this is the direction I am supposed to be heading in. I still get asked on a regular basis as to what I want to do when I graduate and I still don’t have a direct answer to give. I do know that I am going to keep watching the signs and keep heading in the right direction.

Working in the Emergency Room is wonderful, it is fast paced and challenging in the fact that you have to learn fairly quickly how to deal with your patient population. It is also given me a great insight into the world of those with and with out insurance. I also feel as if I am beginning to see what some of the problems are in our healthcare system. I can see how having a lack of coverage which can lead patients into the ED, instead of doing urgent care or having the ability to go a primary care physician. It clogs the system and causes both patients and staff to become frustrated.

I will get into more details later this week. I have to get back to work now and get ready for the Service Learning presentation for Wednesday in the Mountain View room, so if you would like to hear some first hand tales of our trip, come down and listen at no

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I am back from Ethiopia! What an amazing and wonderful place and trip. I must say if you are thinking about coming to this school definitely look into the service learning programs with the Global Health class. I have had the privilege of doing a bit of traveling in my time and living overseas, but the trip to Ethiopia and Project Mercy exceeded all expectations I could have possibly had. The plane ride was long! But the people on the plane were nice and friendly and the atmosphere on the plane was lighthearted and enjoyable. When you have to be on one plane for that long it is an added bonus. Ethiopia is a country of the most beautiful sights of people and colors I have ever witnessed: from the different color scarves to animals on the streets. Everyone was so polite and excited to hear the Feringies (non Africans, white people) try and speak their language.

From day one at the Yekitat 12 hospital, I felt like a sponge soaking up all the information I could find on healthcare and the healthcare system in the country. It is surprising and uplifting to see the amount of care that is given to the people with the limited amount of resources they have. It really makes one think about the amount of waste that goes hand in hand in our healthcare system. One of my great discoveries on this trip was to see how one person can truly make a change and help people: from Dr. Hamlin at the Fistula Hospital, Dr. Rick at the Mother Teresa Orphanage and Marta and Deme at Project Mercy. To be meeting and talking with these remarkable individuals, I was able to see how one person can make a difference in the lives of thousands.

Now some of the most wonderful parts of the trip happened in 2 day span, on 3 amazing levels. My 32nd birthday was our first Friday in the country at Project Mercy. The surprise birthday doughnut, cake and songs from the house children will be one of those moments that I will cherish for the rest of my life. It was the most unexpected birthdays I will have ever had. The next day the group decided to hike to a waterfall about 2 hours away in the mountains. On this trip I decide it would be the best time for me to spread my mother’s ashes so part of her can flow through Africa. This would have been a trip she would have loved to have joined me on and or done on her own. So we set up a group of 15 and broke up into smaller groups. A group of 5 of us, Joel, Mel, Susan, Jen B. and myself, set off on a pretty good pace to get to the waterfall. After some backtracking and remeeting up with the second group we made it to the waterfall. What a beautiful sight this was to see! Probably a 20 to 25 feet waterfall into a 10 foot pool; absolutely breathtaking! It was a very special moment for me to spread her ashes and reflect on hopefully how proud she would be of me right now and what I am accomplishing in my life and with my Masters.

After we started to head down in the big group, we decided that we are going to stop and check out a Church that is built in the mountains that the locals attend. It is supposed to be another sight that truly inspires one regardless of how religious you are. On the way down my counterpart for the trip and friend in my specific program had a horrible accident. She slipped in the mud and broke her ankle. It’s a tib/fib break! Now a little more information on the hike: first, Yetabon, where Project Mercy is about 8k, the hike up to the waterfall is probably 11k, so this is definitely a nice hike. It started raining about an hour and half into the hike and had kept drizzling all day. The ground is wet and muddy and Justine slips in the mud and breaks her leg. Let’s just say, that if anyone is thinking about heading on a trip in the future, bring your friends and if you don’t have friends in Nursing or Physical Therapist, meet some of the wonderful people and become friendly. We had 4 nurses, 2 with an ER background and 6 PT’s (soon to Doctors of PT) with us when this happened. It was truly a sight, seeing everyone jump into their own work mode and handle the situation. We made our first stretcher and carried her down about 100 feet and had to make stretcher number two. I saw this first hand, the compassion, caring and hospitality of the Ethiopia people. A local farmer, whose yard we were going through, brought down two eucalyptus trees and helped us make a stretcher that allowed us to get our friend off the mountain. His wife brought out a pillow and two blankets to help her be more comfortable and warm through out this ordeal. These are quite possibly the only two blankets that they had in their entire house and she just offered it to us to help make the situation better. Then the rest of the villagers came out and helped carry our friend the three hours down the mountain to the hospital. As a group we tried to help, but the villagers were going down the mountain at such a pace that we were running trying to keep up. We were all falling and slipping in the mud and the villagers were doing this barefoot, it was truly remarkable to watch. To have a better understanding of how remarkable and selfless this was, had any local person fallen and broken their leg, the most likely scenario is that they would have a hobbled down the mountain on their own to the hospital, if they could afford to pay for the visit. Or most likely, they would have gone to the local healer, where he would have set the break and said stay off of it for 6 weeks. If one were to go to the healer the outcome could be a possible deformity in the way the bone healed and loss of motion to ankle with no rehab. So these amazing people, who do not know us or remotely speak our language, take it upon themselves to assist us in getting our friend down the mountain. Had the task been left to us only, it might have taken us at least 7 to 8 hours to get to the hospital and also would have subjected Justine to possibly more damage from the break. It was truly inspiring to see the help that we received in this time of need.

This trip definitely has me looking into options to work abroad in health administration once I graduate. I think this trip has also helped in giving me a leg up with knowledge of healthcare in foreign countries. I know I will be back to Project Mercy and Ethiopia.

By the way I did finally get a job, right before I left! I am a CTA at the University of Colorado Hospital! Now I have my first job in healthcare administration! So far the job is wonderful and very educational. I am working in the ED, so it is definitely fast paced. I hope you enjoyed this entry and don’t worry I have a lot more to add to the Ethiopia trip. I have to tell you about the great people and children at Project Mercy, the Butajira Market and the HIV/AIDS TB clinic we went, oh yeah and the Hippos!!

Till next time.

When I last left off last time I cut my hair. Well since then I have had three great interviews: two at UCH and one with the City and County of Aurora. I feel very good that I will get an offer from at least one of the three. One was with Emergency Department as a CTA in the E.R. working nights and three 12 hour shifts. Another position was in interventional radiology. That position would be interesting because I would get to wear scrubs everyday and who really wouldn’t like to wear pajamas every day? The position with the City and County of Aurora is a Grant Administrator position, working with a funded grant for the Healthy Aging Initiative. Of the three positions, the grant administrator position is more along the lines of what I want to do with my career. So wish me luck! I feel some good news on the horizon.

I leave for Ethiopia in 9 days! I am so excited! This trip is going to be one of the most amazing experiences in my life; it will be life changing. I try to imagine what I am most excited about: the AIDS orphanage, the Fistula hospital and Project Mercy. The reason I feel that this trip will be so life changing is because I am still a “blank canvas” when it comes to what exactly I want to do for my career. I know that I want to be in health administration, but the field is so vast. My trip to Ethiopia should help guide me in a direction for my future. I also know that I can’t put too many expectations on this trip as well so I don’t end up disappointed. I am very excited to see the colors in Ethiopia. I am excited about heading to Africa, I have never been there before. From the group that went last year there is hike which takes about 4 hours to do right outside of Yetabon, up to some amazing waterfalls. I am not a big hiker, but I think it will be well worth 4 hours out of my life. Also, wish me luck that I get some hippo when we go to the lake!!

Last time we spoke I had just come back from Cali for a birthday trip. Well I just got back from another birthday trip this weekend. See some of my friends from undergrad have been making a habit of showing up at each others 30th birthdays. So myself and my roommate flew back to Tennessee and surprised our buddy Tom for his 30th last weekend. Let’s just say that when we showed up at 2:30 he was definitely surprised.

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Well another semester is almost over and I have to admit I am doing better in this accounting class than I thought I would be. After undergrad I tried to forget as much math as possible, but like they say it’s like riding a bike, just hop back on and start going again.

Ethiopia is right around the corner!!! I am really started to get excited this will be an amazing trip and very life changing. Changing in the way that I am really going to have the ability to dive right in and experience healthcare on a global and rural setting at the same time. I am also very interested to see the different colors of this Ethiopia. I think this will be a very colorful place, from the people, to market, to the landscape, everything. I highly recommend that you look into this global healthcare class once you start here at Regis; it is very informative and could be life altering.

I also just cut my hair! So I have gone from shoulder length blonde (natural) locks to a bald head. I decided it was time for a change. I know that I was having a hard time with it originally, because I started my locks after my mom died and it’s been over 4 years with them. But I can always grow them back out and I know this will help me in the job hunt.

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I hope you are enjoying these as much I am in sharing. Till next time.

mikelaJanuary is over. School is in full swing and I am well on my way into what seems to be a solid 2009. So where were we last time?; preparing for my fundraiser. The fundraiser is over and it was a success. We raised over $1,400.00 and I would like to say Thank You, to everyone that helped make this event special. So coming back to school after the first big break, it was definitely challenging trying get in the swing of things. I would recommend that you trying to keep reading and staying on a pattern; it helps to make the transition more enjoyable.

The job hunt is still ongoing; it seems to be a job all together going through the process of finding positions, applying for them and doing new cover letters, but like they say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

I am getting more and more excited about the trip to Ethiopia; I leave in less than 2 months!! All of my shots are done, except going to get my malaria pills on Thursday.

Just got back from a little weekend in LA and it was a good time. It really has given me the bug to want to live by the beach again. I spent a Friday night down at Hermosa Pier and had a few cocktails at Sharky’s. I highly recommend their happy hour if you are in the neighborhood. The beach was awesome and some of the sunset pictures I snapped are amazing.

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Went to Venice Beach on Saturday for the first time, definitely an interesting place with lots of fantastic people watching and saw my first medical marijuana doctor’s office and store to purchase your medication. Los Angeles is a unique place. I have been to San Diego before but LA is a world unto its own. The freeway system alone is a feat of enormous proportions. The reason for the trip was to go with a friend for her birthday and see the Michael Fronti show. That was a blast and I got to hang out with some good friends. All together it was a great weekend to get away and regroup, to focus on keeping my head down, to find a new job and clear the head for school, and to show what I am working for, so that I can have the ability to move to California for a few years to work and live by the beach.

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So welcome to 2009. I am going to start this blog, with this “SCHOOL IS BACK WITH A BANG!!” I already have a 4 to 6 page paper due on economics and my first class isn’t for another week. I am excited because this is my first economics class and I know it is going to be a very important in my career. So wish me luck!

Something else to think about when you start school, make sure you take advantage of being a student. I mean in all aspects, take advantage of the student discounts and go to the Colorado Symphony for $5.00 a show, use career services, use your teachers and professors to explore your career options and expand your knowledge, join the student associations ACHE, CMGMA and others. Talk to professionals in the work place and let them know that you are a student. Use every avenue to further your education and knowledge and it will help make you a more capable manager.

On a personal note, I had a fabulous Christmas. I went home to Atlanta and got to surprise my sisters (I got one of them to cry!). I also got to see my grandparents, cousins, Aunts and Uncles; it was great to see the family. I also got to spend a lot of time with one my best friends and his family. This person has been my friend since I was 15 and we were in high school together. My friend’s family has basically adopted me since my parents died and it was great to be back home with them again for Christmas. They always do a big Christmas Eve dinner. I had made 11 in a row and then for the past few years I wasn’t able to make it so it was wonderful to be home.

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Well, enjoy the New Year, make all the changes to your life you have been wanting to and enjoy each day. I hope to see you at Regis studying, so if you see me come up talk or ask questions. Or come to my fundraiser and speak to me in person.

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