During Spring Break 2017, Drs Munro-Kramer (Nursing; http://nursing.umich.edu/faculty-staff/michelle-l-munro-kramer) and Rominski (Medical School; http://globalreach.med.umich.edu/leadership-advisory-staff) led a group of six students to the University of Cape Coast in Ghana to work on the prevention of sexual violence. The U-M students represented graduate and undergraduate programs in Nursing (Caitlin Choi), Public Health (Maryn Lewallen & Lindsay Cannon), LSA (Emily Liu, Briana Sanders, Meagan Williams), and Social Work (Lindsay Cannon). What they all shared in common was experience as peer facilitators with the Relationship Remix program, either through the Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center (SAPAC; https://sapac.umich.edu/) or Sexperteam (https://www.uhs.umich.edu/sexperteam).
The trip was part of an ongoing research project to adapt the University of Michigan’s Relationship Remix program, a primary prevention program delivered by peer facilitators to all incoming students, to the Ghanaian context. Drs. Munro-Kramer and Rominski have been working with colleagues at the University of Cape Coast in Ghana to adapt the program, called Relationship Tidbits in Ghana, based on an identified need at the university. The goal is for the program to be delivered by peer facilitators in Ghana, as it is delivered here at the University of Michigan.
Drs. Munro-Kramer and Rominski received funding from the U-M International Institute’s Experiential Learning Fund to provide support for four U-M students to travel to Ghana as peer facilitators, and research funds were used to support two additional students. The six U-M students spent eight days in Ghana working with ten students at the University of Cape Coast to prepare to deliver the program to students in Ghana. The U-M students led sessions on the background of sexual violence, talking about sexual health, recognizing biases, self-care, facilitation skills, and answering difficult questions to the Ghanaian students and received information on sexual violence in Ghana. The students then practiced administering the program to one another. The University of Michigan students also got the opportunity to learn more about the historical context of violence in Ghana by visiting the Cape Coast and Elmina Slave Castles, exploring Kakum National Forest, and partaking in a batik-making seminar.
Student reports about the trip….
“It was the warmest and most fulfilling trip of my college career. I gained so much from being in a place so vastly different from America. I learned a lot about myself and the lens through which I view the world. It was the kind of influential trip that will shape the public health and community education work I do in the future.” – Briana Sanders
“I found the trip to be a wonderful chance to see a well-rounded team working in action. Our transitions in country went smoothly because we were able to work together and with our colleagues at University of Cape Coast. As a nursing student, it is rare to find experience outside of a clinical setting. During our stay in Cape Coast, I saw how nursing research extends beyond the hospital walls. It has broadened my idea of what it means to be a healthcare provider and health advocate.” – Caitlin Choi
From left to right: Meagan Williams, Emily Liu, Mary Lewallen, Caitlin Choi, Briana Sanders, Lindsay Cannon