Nursing student named Plastino Scholar
Katie Katz is a junior nursing major, a member of the Alpha Delta Pi sorority, the president of Gift of Life and the newly appointed co-executive director of UDance. To add to her list of accomplishments, she recently has been named a Plastino Scholar.
The Plastino Scholar program was started in 2007 by David A. Plastino to help university students achieve their goals by supporting them with a grant for a personalized, off-campus learning experience. The student gives a full proposal about what they would do with the grant, including the experience, the nature of the project, the location and the duration of the project.
This summer for over two weeks, Katz plans to educate mothers in the Banda Village and Kibogora Hospital of Rwanda. She decided to focus on Oral Rehydration Solutions (ORS) when she wrote a paper on diarrheal disease being the the second leading cause of death for children under five years old.
Diarrheal disease leads to severe dehydration, fluid loss and electrolyte imbalance, which is extremely dangerous especially to young children, Katz said. Katz will be partnering with Kageno, a organization in the Banda village which also strives to to improve life in impoverished communities.
“It was very disturbing to me because diarrheal disease is not much of an issue in the United States yet it is very common globally,” Katz said.
The solution is simple too — it’s a matter of hydration which can be cured with Oral Rehydration Solution, a drinking a combination of water, salt and sugar. However, the ingredients need to have the right proportions to be effective. Katz is giving the village and hospitals posters that clearly show the ratios and thus helping to end dehydration.
While she is in the Banda Village, Katz plans to assess people’s knowledge of this issue and also put a video together to raise awareness in the United States about diarrhea disease and child mortality in developing countries.
Katz said she hopes to continue working in developing countries after this experience. While she is unsure how to fund her trips, she hopes to be a traveling nurse or a volunteer so that she can continue to educate women and help them achieve the basic health care they deserve.
While in the Banda village, Katz will work alongside a nurse named Jeremiah. She says he told her a Rwandan saying that inspired her throughout the planning process: “If you teach a woman, you teach a whole country.”