Today I received my Certificate of Completion WITH DISTINCTION from my AIDS course from Emory University! This means that I got 80% or over in the course! I am very proud of myself!
I hope that in my leadership course I also get distinction
This is my first time being distinguished at anything academic!
This week I have submitted my Week 1 essay on the lessons Canada has learned from AIDS and I have attempted Week 2′s quiz twice (out of 100 attempts before May 6) getting 7/10 the first time and 9/10 the second. I know were I went wrong so later on I will get perfect!
This week it is all about the science of HIV/AIDS so we learned about the immune system and how HIV infects the body. It was once again an amazing and giddy experience! Dr. Hagen was accompanied by Dr. Eric Hunter this week, who also has an impressive resume and has been studying HIV/AIDS since the beginning!
Here is what I learned this week…
3 Things I Learned This Week- The Science of HIV/AIDS (Hagen)
- How the immune system works
- The different cells (ie: CD4 T helper cells, CD8 T killer cells)
- How HIV attacks the immune system
3 Things I Learned This Week- The Virology and Pathogenesis of AIDS (Hunter)
- Genetic Bottleneck (because HIV is constantly changing very little genetic material is being passed to a new partner so a newly infected person will only have 1 type of HIV strain in their body until their virus starts replicating)
- How HIV infects (see video)
- Why an HIV vaccine is difficult to create (the constant changing of the virus within one individual)
Or if that video is too confusing with it’s fancy words, here is what happens!
Next week: Behavioural Prevention
A co-worker of mine introduced to me a website called Coursera. She told me she had signed up for a free course on mental health using this website and that she gets a certificate of completion at the end. I thought she was mistaken and asked her to send me the link. I love learning and being out of school has been really lame. I always want to be learning so if this course was for real then I had to get involved.
I checked it out and sure enough this website offers free courses from notable universities such as:
- University of Toronto
- University of British Columbia
- Johns Hopkins University
- Princeton University
- Stanford University
There are a variety of subjects such as:
- Clinical Problem Solving
- Introduction to Music Production
- Internet History, Technology and Security
- The Ancient Greeks
- Community Change in Public Health
- Drugs and the Brain
With 33 universities and 221 courses there is something for everyone! You do not earn a credit but you earn a certificate of completion which demonstrates that you are taking the initiative to expand your learning which can of course be included on your resume!
“Through this, we hope to give everyone access to the world-class education that has so far been available only to a select few. We want to empower people with education that will improve their lives, the lives of their families, and the communities they live in.”- About, Coursera
So, my blog title says AIDS. I have signed up for the AIDS course which is beginning in 13 days and is a 9 week course with a workload of 3-4 hours a week. The course is from Emory University and Kimberly Sessions Hagen is the professor teaching.
I want to take this course because it was not greatly discussed while I was in school. I know that I had classmates who had HIV/AIDS but we never got into the nitty gritty of the issue in ways that I feel like this course will. I work with youth who have addictions issues so AIDS is a very real thing for them and I want to know more. There is never harm in knowing more.
“This course will discuss HIV/AIDS in the US and around the world including its history, science, and culture as well as recent developments in prevention education, biomedical research, vaccine development, HIV testing, and current treatments. The course will also include a review of past, present, and potential future controversies surrounding HIV/AIDS”.
Day 9: How important you think education is
I hold a 4 year bachelors degree from a university so I think I could safely say the education is important me. I love learning! I think learning is what helps us grow and develop as people and as a society! Education is awesome! Education would be more awesome if it was affordable!
I’m really not just talking about formal education but also the side classes one can take, the lessons learned from live experience and the traditions passed down through families and cultures.
Day 10: Put your music player on shuffle and write the first 10 songs that play
4. Jessie J- Who’s Laughing Now (This song is dedicated to those I went to high school with)
10. Foals- Hummer (Skins Secret Party!! I would be in this group of friends. This video reminds me of what it was like to be a teen)
Surprisingly, perhaps, more than a few people are cheerfully claiming that label at Ryerson University this weekend. Also on hand are the “mad-identified,” “the mad-positive” and various “psychiatric survivors” from around the world.
To be frank, the uninitiated might reasonably fear they wouldn’t be able to tell the players at the school’s international conference on Mad Studies without a program cribbed from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
The Ryerson conference is certainly different. It might even be the first of its kind. What Kathryn Church hopes is that it’s also a watershed moment in her professional journey of a quarter-century — or perhaps the entire complex history of the turbulent, often troubled mind of mankind.
Church is director of Ryerson’s School of Disability Studies, established in 1999. Two of its most popular courses are Mad People’s History and the History of Madness — courses taken by students from across Ryerson faculties, by students of engineering, theatre, nursing, by students with and without a history of mental illness.
The curriculum was pioneered by Geoffrey Reaume, who was diagnosed at 14 with paranoid schizophrenia, twice admitted to psychiatric facilities, who dropped out of high school in Grade 9 and for a time worked in a sheltered workshop.
Prof. Reaume has since earned a PhD (his doctoral thesis a history of asylum life from the point of view of patients at 999 Queen St. W.), designed the Ryerson course and now teaches at York University. This weekend, he got married in his hometown of Windsor.
Since 2004, Ryerson’s “Mad” courses have been taught by former Toronto city councillor and New Democrat MPP David Reville, who coined the delightful term “high-knowledge crazies” to describe those who are picking up academic credentials to go with their diagnostic label, adding formal knowledge to their first-hand understanding about how life with mental illness feels, looks, sounds and smells.
As a young man, Reville spent time in the 1960s in three “madhouses,” knew the stigma, became familiar upon discharge with society’s margins. Yet, he found a way to make a living as a plumbing contractor, got politically active, was elected to two terms on city council, then to two at Queen’s Park.
During that time, Kathryn Church recalls, Reville was probably the only “out” former mental patient in Canada.
The slow change in attitudes and practices — in society and academia — “started with people like David who began to speak publicly about their history, challenging the way people would conventionally talk about it, insist on being included in decision-making forums.”
Church dispatched him to a conference in England in 1988 to deliver a paper they’d written “and, in a sense, this event here started there.”
“There was a kind of bubbling up in Canada and elsewhere of people who had the label and were beginning to really push back, challenge the way that psychiatry was shaping their lives, challenge the discrimination that went with being considered mentally ill.”
When he began teaching at Ryerson, Reville hadn’t set foot in a university — other than for the odd guest lecture — in 30 years. He had no credentials. This did not prove an insurmountable barrier.
“Because mad people’s history is happening all the time,” he once explained, his habit was merely “to incorporate breaking news into my lectures.”
Church says that “what we’re trying to do is offer a counterpoint to the history of psychiatry, which is sort of a professional and a disciplinary history, with the lived experience of madness.”
At Ryerson, that experience increasingly shows up in the curriculum. It shows up in how students bound for work in the mental-health sector are trained. Perhaps most important, it shows up in the appearance of more and more faculty members with first-hand experience.
As Geoffrey Reaume explains, is no small thing.
“Throughout mad people’s history, the academic elite have literally organized against mad people through a multitude of oppressive practices and ideas,” he says.
Through their medical faculties, universities conferred “power and legitimacy to enforce imposed practices ranging from lobotomy, ECT insulin-coma shock, excessive drug treatments, discriminatory labels.
“Now that some of us are in these elite positions within academia, it is essential to ensure we use this power and privilege to organize, to promote, research, write and engage the public about a topic that has too often in our history been interpreted through the views of medical-model academics.”
Reaume says there have always “been mad people within the academy.” But they hid their histories for fear of losing jobs and credibility.
“The fact that a course like this is available at all, and a conference like (Ryerson’s) is taking place, is one indication about how much has changed since the early 1990s.”
Ryerson has invited scholars from the universities of Edinburgh, Columbia, Central Lancashire, as well as community-based advocates — people who “work at the intersection of mental health, formal education and social movements.”
There’s little ethereal idealism about it. One of the sessions addresses how universities and the mental-health sector cope with tough economies.
“These are austere times,” Church says. “That’s the challenging sort of global context that we have.”
Neither is there any naivete about the entrenched nature of problems and challenges.
“We’re concerned about the ongoing problems of employment, housing, discrimination, human rights violations, institutionalization,” Church says.
“The same litany of problems that has not changed since I entered this field in the mid-’80s.”
“We’ve really just begun to see this coalescing (of both academic knowledge and lived experience, of expertise from different parts of the world) in the last few years,” she says.
That is why this “mad-positive” professor with “mad-identified” colleagues and friends is so thrilled to welcome the assembly of “high-knowledge crazies.”
“It’s time that people who are being trained to work in the mental-health sector aren’t just steeped in formal knowledge, but in knowledge of the personal narratives of people who’ve been through the system.”
It’s also time, she says, that higher education is made more accommodating to those who have the lived experience of mental illness and its shaming labels.
And, as the ever-mischievous David Reville decided, it’s time the mad got to invent a few labels of their own.