* a day with the d.r.e.a.m. team

Volunteers administering baseline surveyAdhunika offered me an incredible opportunity to volunteer for the DREAM (Diabetes Research, Education and Action for Minorities) project and with my interest in healthcare I could not resist. On October 17th, 2009 I participated in the first of a series of Diabetes Intervention programs carefully designed by members of the DREAM project including some of our very own – Krittika Ghosh, and Shahnaz Yousuf. The intervention would consist of a 6 month long program geared towards training diabetic patients of the Queens Bangladeshi community which would enable them to make educated lifestyle choices to combat this condition that has affected about 1 in 3 members of the community.

Nahar describing the use of DREAM calender.

The day started off with a few of us surveying diabetic and pre-diabetic patients to determine their baseline knowledge of the disease and their lifestyles with the hope of improving the former over the course of the intervention. Translating medical terms to Bengali and holding people’s attention for the entire span of the survey (about 30 minutes) were some of the challenges for me.

The DREAM team welcomed participants with an interactive name game. The presenters Mamnunul Haq and Gulnahar Alam, both Queens based community health workers trained by the DREAM team, gave us a glimpse of what was to come in the next 6 months.

Mamnundemonstrating low and high blood sugar level.

Mamnunul used vivid powerpoint slides written in Bangla to explain how sugars are processed in our body and what goes wrong when we don’t have insulin in our body, using simple tools such as a bottle filled with red liquid to demonstrate the flow of blood in the presence or absence of insulin.

We then went on to discuss simple lifestyle changes that could be easily implemented in a Bangladeshi household. Amongst those was a set of exercises that Mamnunul and Gulnahar demonstrated for us. The participants seemed highly engaged and enthusiastic. Many of them admitted that their physicians had not taken the time to explain their condition is such detail; a language barrier might have been the primary cause.

Future sessions include a cooking session to share recipes that use ingredients familiar to the Bengali palate but with modifications to reduce carbohydrate and fat intake and an interactive session with a Bangla speaking physician.

Overall, it was an excellent learning experience for me and would encourage many more members of Adhunika to participate in the initiatives of DREAM.

Roshni Basu
PhD candidate (Cell/Molecular Biology)
Columbia University, NY

Photo Source: Krittika Ghosh

 

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Adhunika blog is launched with a mission to share knowledge among women from every walk of life. Sometime it would be in the form of sharing experience to find a feasible solution of a problem; sometime it would be in the form of professional consultation, which Adhunika group will arrange for its bloggers. Nevertheless, the intent of this blog always remains the same - to help and empower women through a common web-based platform....read more

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