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Hola todos, soy Priya! I am a Masters in Public Health Student at the Yale School of Public Health (YSPH) studying Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases. As a YSPH Health Equity Fellow this summer, I worked with Hands on Peru to evaluate the effectiveness of the Lady Lunes nutrition program at the Centro de Salud Pública. In beautiful Huanchaco, I received a comprehensive education on public health interventions in low resource settings. Additionally, I had the incredible opportunity to meet the most knowledgeable healthcare providers who have taught me valuable lessons about direct patient care.

The Lady Lunes program is a weekly three hour nutrition class for women in the Huanchaquito community offered at no cost. During each class Sra. Yanette, our certified nutritionist, addresses one common ailment by providing participants with nutritional and behavioral guidelines for prevention and treatment. We always begin classes with a group game or exercise to develop camaraderie and review concepts. Course curriculum for the Lady Lunes program takes two weeks per health concept. The first week involves a lecture from Sra. Yanette on the causes and clinical manifestation of one particular health issue. The following week, we host an interactive cooking class where the class works together to build a nutrient dense, holistic meal catered to preventing the disease of the unit. As the mothers in the program build their knowledge base and confidence, they often bring vital input on innovative methods to infuse meals with nutrients without breaking the bank.

My role this summer has been to listen and learn from the program participants on what tools they need to translate their health knowledge to beneficial health behaviors. Employing qualitative and quantitative methods through informational interviews and written surveys, I developed a database of the baseline health knowledge and behaviors of the program participant. The past two months have been, by far, the most rewarding learning experience in my career thus far. Through my communication with the mothers enrolled in the program, I have become intimately aware of the barriers to health families in Huanchaquito must face. As I complete my fellowship in the next few weeks, I return to New Haven, CT with a deeper understanding of how public health interventions can improve lives in multifaceted ways.

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