Penn Spotlights the HIV/AIDS Situation in Haiti and the DR

Zhicong Wang, For the Pulitzer Center

Every year, thousands upon thousands of students of students declare their intentions to become doctors or health professionals — in an effort, most say, to change the world's current appalling conditions of healthcare and prevailing disparities. However, how much of the world's afflictions and health situations are they really familiar with?

In an effort to expose students to the circumstances of the globe today and the conditions of a healthcare journalist, I invited Pulitzer Center grantee Antigone Barton to speak on October 15th at the University of Pennsylvania's Global Health Preceptorial, sponsored by the UPenn Student Committee on Undergraduate Education (SCUE) and the Wharton School.

Said one student of the experience out of 30 who attended: "It rarely occurs that we have such an intimate opportunity to speak with an experienced professional reporter, let alone one who is distinguished for her work."

Antigone spoke on issues of HIV and AIDS, as well as appalling conditions of health disparities found around the world, especially in the island nations of the Caribbean (Haiti and the Dominican Republic). While highlighting a particular experience in a penitentiary in Haiti, Antigone showed an especially harrowing clip on the nearly inhumane circumstances that are prime breeding grounds for diseases such as AIDS, hepatitis, as well as other prevalent STDs.

Antigone is a recipient of a National Press Foundation AIDS fellowship and a Knight International Journalism Fellow for work she'll be doing over the next year in Zambia with local newspapers to develop coverage that leads to improvements in health-care delivery in a country struggling to contain an HIV/AIDS crisis.

Zhicong is the Pulitzer Center Student Liason at the University of Pennsylvania.