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September 6, 2007

ULM School of Nursing and SNA partner with Convocation speaker

When Dr. David Walton spoke at the University of Louisiana at Monroe’s Convocation Aug. 22, his message was clear: it’s important to establish partnerships that bring health care and social justice to the poor of the world. After listening to Walton, members of ULM’s School of Nursing and Student Nursing Association were inspired to do just that.

During his visit, the School of Nursing and the SNA established a link with Walton to support the nurses he works with in Haiti. ULM nursing faculty and the SNA group will purchase and ship assessment supplies, such as used nursing books, stickers for pediatric patients, penlights (for ocular examinations), instruments, related equipment, and medical supplies like Band-Aids.

Walton’s message of compassion greatly impacted the students, Gibson said.

“We enjoyed the opportunity of having Dr. David Walton visit the School of Nursing during his time on campus,” said Florencetta Gibson, director of the School of Nursing. “Students were able to interact on a personal level with him, while gaining a world perspective. He was so beneficial, and he enjoyed that he was invited to speak a second time to our professional student organization (SNA).”

All nursing faculty and students will have the opportunity to participate in the exchange with Walton on a voluntary basis.

“We want to thank Dr. Walton for giving this opportunity to our students and assisting them in their preparation to influence the outcome of health care,” Gibson said.

More about David Walton:

ULM’s Convocation speaker regularly works 16-hour shifts and eats simple food while tending to people who travel by bus or on foot in Haiti for half a day or longer for medical care. He is a member of the “Partners in Health” organization, dedicating to assisting the world’s poor, not just in instances of emergency, while also creating lasting partnerships that will take root and grow.

Walton was one of the first candidates to be selected for the Howard Hiatt Residency in Global Health Equity and Internal Medicine. He has been working with Partners in Health since 1997 and is currently a resident at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He divides his time between Boston and Haiti.

According to the Brigham and Women’s Hospital Web site, Walton said he knew he wanted to use his medical degree in “resource-poor communities…The medicine is the same, it is just the path that is different. The challenges we face are central to our mission, which is redefining academic medicine so that medical centers can create a pathway for people to be more involved in global health. It is still difficult for motivated people to find tools to serve the poor and to serve the poor in an all-encompassing way. It is still a challenge for most physicians to find time to do this type of work.”

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