Spending time in Nairobi, Kenya teaching young adolescents about the importance of reproductive health care may not seem like a typical day for most, but for Susan Gold, it’s just that.
Gold, who works at University of Wisconsin as an HIV nurse, recently received the Reciprocal Exchange Award for her work with reproductive health.
The UW alumna graduated from the school’s nursing program in 1991 and currently leads “Talking Health Out Loud,” a registered nonprofit that teaches classes for HIV-positive adolescents about AIDS, reproductive health and available contraception.
Dr. Sicily Mburu, a physician in Nairobi who heads the project “AIDS No More” chose Gold to collaborate with her on the project to better educate adolescents in Africa about the importance of their health. Mburu is the also the recipient of the 2016 Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders.
“We have a lot of the same issues with barriers to care, stigma, nonadherence,” Gold said. “We deal with the same issues, so we have a lot to offer each other, and it just acknowledges that together we are stronger.”
As the recipient of the Reciprocal Exchange Award, Gold will spend nine days in March teaching 40 HIV-positive adolescents about HIV, reproductive health and contraception. Along with providing knowledge to the group of adolescents, 10 of the 40 students will be trained to teach the classes on their own, said Gold.
UW launches first OBGYN rural residency program in nationOne third of Wisconsin’s 72 counties are without a practicing obstetrician or gynecologist — a figure that predominantly affects the state’s Read…
Gold said she will combine her experience and skills with Mburu’s knowledge and background with African culture to create a well-informed curriculum for the students in the program.
“[The Reciprocal Exchange Award] is a new initiative that recognizes the strengths of Africans — that they have the skills, knowledge and the desire to do this work, and that in partnership we both have skills to strengthen the work we do,” Gold said.
No stranger to Africa, Gold volunteered as a nurse for an orphanage near Nairobi in 2003 and after receiving a Fulbright grant, Gold returned in 2007 as the only clinical nurse with a bachelor’s degree. Gold will leave for Africa to begin her fellowship March 18.
UW focuses on increasing quality health care in rural areasThanks to a four-year grant from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, the University of Wisconsin will increase the number of resident physicians in Read…
In May, she will return with 10 undergraduate students from UW to assist her in teaching classes. In the future, Gold says she has plans to expand “Talking Health Out Loud” to other countries in Africa, and to continue taking students to help educate African adolescents about reproductive health care.
“Young adults with HIV and AIDS — no matter where they live — are the same,” Gold said. “They all want the same things — the same as the student sitting at the Union here, a resource poor area or an orphanage in Nairobi.”
Clarification: A previous version of this article stated that Susan Gold was the recipient of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders.