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I am galvanized by the problems that persist often unseen within communities in the United States that are not accorded much attention. For me, this service trip to the Navajo Nation is an incredible opportunity to see first-hand how physicians in the Indian Health Service are tackling this expansive healthcare delivery issues plaguing the Navajo community. I am excited to facilitate progress by creating medical records and participating in health education efforts happening across the Navajo Nation. And, I know I will find great personal growth by interacting with kids at Head Start and learning about the culturally rich Navajo community.  I am confident that I will leave this experience with a much deeper understanding of the social landscape of health and a strengthened commitment towards public service.

So, I am dedicating my January to service and need your help to do so. I, along with 8 other students, are traveling to New Mexico to participate in a service project on the Navajo Nation Reservation through Phillips Brooks House Association (PBHA) at Harvard. Our team, along with an epidemiologist and pediatricians, will provide medical care and health screenings in partnership with local Head Start programs as well as work at food banks and for community outreach programs.

The Navajo Nation experiences extreme poverty. The unemployment rate on the reservation is 45 percent. Over 56 percent of family incomes fall below the federal poverty line. More than half of homes do not have electricity or plumbing. For many residents, competitively priced goods and services are over fifty miles away. What particularly struck me is the reality of healthcare on the Navajo Nation. Access to physicians there is extremely limited. Additionally, many Navajo—especially the elderly—are unable to access resources located miles away in the winter, when heavy snowfall makes travel extremely difficult without a vehicle. During my trip we will be able to directly approach these problems.

But to make this trip possible, I need your help to ensure we have enough materials and supplies. I would appreciate any contribution, no matter the size, to help me make my work this January a reality. Additionally, your gift is fully tax-deductible! Thank you for supporting communities and making this amazing service experience possible for me. Happy Holidays!

Yours in service,

Arifeen


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