Preparing For Island Living

Having been encased in a polar vortex for the past few months, it’s hard not to be in a constant state of daydreaming about our upcoming spring break trip to Grenada. My daily check of the weather on the island shows a temperature never dropping below 75 degrees. I currently have the two most essential items packed in my suitcase: a bathing suit and lots of sunscreen. I plan on soaking up all the sun I can over the 8 days with the hope that that feeling of warmth will reach Ann Arbor sometime before graduating at the end of April.

More importantly than the packing of my beach attire, though, is what I have already begun to learn about Grenada through discussions at meetings and my own research. My project (along with Heather and Ben) involves conducting health modules for workers at the world-famous Spice Island Beach Resort, a resort for which the description “luxurious” seems to be an understatement. PHAST students who traveled to Grenada last year surveyed the resort workers to determine the health topics the workers were most interested in learning more about. From this prior research, my group will be presenting on cancer, diabetes and heart disease, and diet/weight control. We have learned that Grenadians are often reluctant to see the doctor because they don’t feel they are “sick enough” to warrant a visit. Many Americans also have the same way of thinking in regards to their health. This thinking can ultimately lead to detecting diseases at more advanced stages that are more difficult and expensive to treat. For this reason, much of our emphasis will be on prevention and screening in order to promote early detection of disease, including cancer and hypertension. It is also important to promote behaviors that may help prevent the onset of disease, such as managing a healthy weight and being physically active.

Throughout the week, it is my hope that we can help better educate the resort workers regarding disease detection and prevention and begin to make behaviors related to prevention more of the norm. With my background in primarily in research, I am excited for a more hands-on experience in health behavior and education during our time in Grenada.

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