Day 6 – NIH training

The directors made our Saturday schedule light. We started with watching “A Closer Walk” (http://www.acloserwalk.org). I’m glad that we had the exposure a narrative film like that provides. The researchers have done a good job personalizing their research throughout their presentations, but this movie comprehensively put a face on AIDS from stories in Russia, Uganda, USA, and India. Some of the Indian Fellows recognized the Indian doctors interviewed in the film. Ali recognized some of the Uganda physicians interviewed. I met one of the activists, Eric Sawyer, during our AIDS Week at Loyola in 2007. Even those in the room from the international sites were crying at times. For others, it dredged up memories from experiences abroad. Later in the afternoon, Ali and I had a conversation that spurred from the movie. He expressed his frustation watching people die of AIDS-related illnesses and his desire to see CD4+ cell counts (an indicator of extent of HIV infection) requiring treatment raised to 350 from 250 so that he can give medications earlier, so that “he doesn’t feel his heart torn” from those presenting with advanced disease who do not have low enough CD4 counts for treatment. The mental burden of HIV in clinicians can often go unnoticed. He told me other stories of the face of HIV/AIDS in his family’s life, Ugandan patient lives, and other things I’ll spare from here for now. The pediatric stories were tearjerkers. To say the movie reaffirmed our continued global health passion may be an understatement as the ensuing discussion among the group demonstrated.

The afternoon session after lunch provided manuscript preparation skills for our research findings. I’m looking forward to improving my science writing skills, skills and style vastly different from humanities/ethics writing.

My brother and Brooke (whom he marries on July 26th) came into town and I had dinner with them and our friends Kristy and Andy. We had dinner at Lauriel Plaza, which yes, is touristy and crowded, but has the best masitas de puerco this side of the Mississippi and great Latino flare. We had frozen yogurt (with a 10% discount because we named the 7 countries of the world beginning with “U”) at a new place in town to finish the night.

All day I had my upcoming experiences in Uganda on my mind in a different way. Ali ended his discussion with me earlier in the day with “you’ll see when you get to Uganda. You’ll see what I’m talking about.”

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