Vanuatu Travel Post: Field Report from Emily

October 2019 Vanuatu was an amazing experience!

SolarSPELL Health

Each of my previous four trips to Vanuatu was as a student working towards my doctoral degree to become a family nurse practitioner. I completed my required project in Vanuatu (January 2019) assessing the effectiveness of healthcare education- using the SolarSPELL device. I created a 3-minute whiteboard video on blood pressure management and showed this video to participants in Vanuatu. My project was a success! Blood pressures of participants dropped!

(Emily in Malekula, Vanuatu- January 2019)

I graduated in May of 2019 from Arizona State University’s Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program and I am currently working as a family nurse practitioner. I feel honored to remain on the SolarSPELL team. In preparation for this trip I worked with a current nurse practitioner student, Alyssa, who will be completing her project using the SolarSPELL device in Vanuatu. I offered advice on creating the 3-minute whiteboard video. I also provided education on culture and challenges in Vanuatu and helped her know what to expect in the villages and healthcare centers.

(Emily with Alyssa DNP student in Malekula, Vanuatu- October 2019)

Once we arrived in Vanuatu, I assisted with the training of the new group of US Peace Corps Volunteers highlighting the healthcare content on the SPELL. My job on this trip was also to help Alyssa feel comfortable during the trainings and she did wonderfully!

(Alyssa beginning her DNP project during the Peace Corps training- October 2019)

I also served as a guide to Alyssa- to help her navigate the process of making connections at the Vanuatu Ministry of Health, learn how to use the transportation system, and eventually get to a remote village where she may complete her DNP project on “stroke prevention” in the coming months.

(Emily, Alyssa, and Peace Corps volunteer-Nhia, on a bus in Malekula, Vanuatu- October 2019)

It was wonderful meeting up with Peace Corps Volunteer Nhia again and returning to the village and healthcare center where I completed my project. Alyssa made great connections and formed new relationships in the healthcare center.

 (Alyssa, and Jesse-a local healthcare worker- in Malekula, Vanuatu- October 2019)

This trip was amazing in many ways. Meeting with the newest group of Peace Corps Volunteers always warms my heart. Their hard work and sacrifice serving the people of Vanuatu, is inspiring. Their sacrifice is immense and so appreciated. Providing the SolarSPELL device to them and training them how to implement it in their communities is exciting because I know the impact it can have on the people of Vanuatu. Meeting with the Peace Corps Volunteers who have been using their SPELLs in their community and hearing their success stories is so exciting! I have grown in my new role with SolarSPELL Health and hope to continue my journey with SolarSPELL for many years to come!

Dr. Emily Blau, DNP, FNP