2018 Summer Research Program Reflections – Reflections From A Bus Tour of St. Louis, Missouri

June 8, 2018

The blog is following the student participants in this year’s Institute for Public Health Summer Research Program. Each student will be providing their own reflections from a Summer Research Program Seminar Series event. Some students will also reflect on their experience in the summer program.

By Adetutu Sadiq, public health undergraduate students, University of California, Berkeley

My first day with the Summer Research Program started with an orientation and continued with a bus tour of St. Louis led by Professor Bob Hansman, Associate Professor in the Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts. Our first stop was a place formerly called Mill Creek Valley.

Mill Creek Valley was a predominantly black neighborhood until it was demolished and turned into a major freeway as a result of the urban renewal act. Displaced residents were provided nothing towards creating a new beginning for themselves. As we drove further north the sight of potholes on the road and dilapidated buildings was shocking. Learning the complicated history of the former site of the Pruitt-Igoe community was sad and it will take days for me to unravel my thoughts.

Through this tour, Professor Hansman was able to show us that there was a deep disconnection between policy makers and those affected by their policies. One thing he kept mentioning was that “everything is connected”. You can’t look at one thing without taking the other into account, he said. It dawned on me that that was how I was meant to approach problems as a public health researcher. Seeing problems in “systems” and finding ways to tackle them collectively. I realized I needed the bus tour as it has helped me become more aware of the principle of systems thinking. I will apply it while I work with the project peanut butter this summer, helping treat children with severe acute malnutrition in Malawi.

This post is part of the “Summer Research Program” series of the Institute for Public Health’s blog. Subscribe to email updates or follow us on Twitter and Facebook to receive notifications about our latest blog posts.

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