No Shortcuts: emBOLDen Alliances

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Along with the student presentations and their un-conference, the non-profit partners presented some of the challenges and strategies they rely on to leverage their limited resources for the greatest impact. I loved meeting Neena Jain, who founded emBOLDen Alliances and hearing her journey from emergency room physician to Doctors without Borders to learning the skills to respond to global health emergencies and finally starting her own nonprofit.  She met her husband Bill who had been in the restaurant business for years and had a great mind for logistics. They realized they were uniquely suited to put their joint talents together to train first response teams who assist vulnerable and crisis affected communities in the world. Her advice to students who want to go into global health:  “There are no shortcuts, you have to do the hard work of going outside your comfort zone and understanding the perspectives of others and finding your counterpart.”  She explained this means knowing on a deep level that there is always someone similar to you who is suffering and that listening, humility and keeping an open mind are critical to the team you build on the ground.  She walked students through the people needed on a first response team and how her objective is to build in redundancies (everybody works together and knows how to do multiple roles) and ultimately to put themselves out of a job.