International Health Major to Research Food Security Issues in Mexico

SEPTEMBER 21, 2015 – As a part of the Department of International Health’s practical experience abroad program, senior Joseph McDonald (NHS’16) is in Mexico this semester.

While there, McDonald plans to focus his research project on broad issues of nutrition and childhood development with a special emphasis on food security.

The World Health Organization, citing the definition proposed by the 1996 World Food Summit, says food security exists “‘when all people at all times have access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life.’”

The Journey

“I will be looking to uncover more about food security in the indigenous regions of Chiapas through an economic and behavioral examination of the families’ and communities’ actions,” McDonald says.

McDonald and three classmates will be working at ECOSUR (El Colegio de la Frontera Sur), which is a research center focusing on public health located in San Cristobal de Las Casas. Currently, the Georgetown group is taking a few introductory courses to prepare them for their field research.

He says that after taking some time to figure out his educational path at Georgetown he definitely found the right program to cultivate his interests.

“Choosing international health, where my passions intersected with academics, began the journey up to a peak that has fully confirmed my belonging right where I am.”

Involved Student

While on the Hilltop, McDonald has rounded out his educational experience with a variety of extracurricular activities.

“Joining the community that is Club Rugby has allowed me to escape the pace of the academic experience to gain a greater sense of teamwork and appreciate the process of learning a new sport,” he says. “Leading ESCAPE retreats this past semester and leading trips during the spring have allowed me to incorporate reflection and thought-provoking questions into my everyday life.”

He adds that his role as director of operations with The Corp, which was incorporated in 1972 and now runs several services across campus, has provided him with “one of my greatest families on campus” and has given him confidence with new tasks and leading peers.

As for the immediate future, McDonald says, “I am very excited to let the experience of this semester wash over me and allow for a bit of reflection to direct my next steps.”

By Bill Cessato

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