Provided by Darby Rich
Opinion Piece: My Research that Reaches Out (And why you should do it, too)
The prospect for Mercer’s “Research that Reaches Out” is ideally its title – implementing a research initiative that can lead to communal, national, and global improvement. Being a part of this plan, a plan that claims that “at Mercer, everyone majors in changing the world,” I can guarantee that these high expectations are indeed coming true.
This summer, I was not only lucky to participate in Mercer on Mission: Georgia, but I also was funded by “Research that Reaches Out” to remain in Tbilisi, Georgia for an additional week to conduct research. In Georgia, a post-Soviet country, the government has been making decisions to escape its Russian-influenced past. Yet, this process does not come without its difficulties, one being the healthcare system.
As I plan to enter the healthcare field, I thought it would be interesting to research the Georgian healthcare system, as well as whether or not it appropriately conducts civil society. In order to discover more about the system, I administered various interviews of a spread of Georgian citizens that were educated in the areas of political science and civil society. Additionally, I worked with a non-governmental organization called “Sisters of St. Nino” that performs weekly house visits to the elderly and disabled of Tbilisi. Through these experiences, I was able to compile an amalgamation of information about the Georgian healthcare system and what measures that could be taken to improve it.
My research came to a grand consensus of three generalized statements about the Georgian healthcare system. First of all, personal connections to those in the healthcare field are integral to obtaining proper care; otherwise, acceptable treatment is seldom available. Secondly, the educational pathway for doctors needs a curriculum revamp to ensure that doctors are qualified to treat. And thirdly, the recent switch from private to universal healthcare insurance was made in good consideration but is now failing due to national bankruptcy.
While the research proved informative and eye-opening, I am currently in the process of “reaching out.” I plan to submit a paper and present my findings to the (American) Georgia Political Science Association in November, which is a tad intimidating considering I am a biology major.
Not only do I hope to gain an outside, informed perspective on the issues held within the Georgian healthcare system, but I also aim to begin measures to achieve its improvement. This may be simply educating fellow Mercerians on the troubles of developing organizations in post-Soviet countries, implementing a strategy to aid the citizens of Tbilisi to receive appropriate health care, or developing an international initiative to enable all people access to proper healthcare. The goal is that my research will be transcending to the “reaching out” phase and able to make an impact.
My word of advice to all Mercerians is to take advantage of this program. Having opportunities to be funded internationally at the undergrad level is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. As I continue using my research to reach out into the community and beyond, I can’t help but be grateful for Mercer and continue to advocate for my fellow students to “major in changing the world.”
Despite the fact that I am a science major, I managed to find a way to accumulate and conduct international research, which means that any idealistic Mercerian has the capability regardless of area of study. If you have any sort of idea, a prompt for research that has potential to evolve into change, participate in Mercer’s “Research that Reaches Out” initiative, get funded, and go to your advisor to switch your major to “world changer.”