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Projects
Health Related Projects
See what HEAL is currently doing to support global and community health. Here you will find our health related projects!

Clean Water Initiative in Afghanistan

Our Vision

Our Vice-President of Public health and Communications, Sophia Qamari, has family who lives in Mazar-I-Sharif, Afghanistan. Water contamination in newly built wells is a serious concern in this region because of rudimentary water and sanitation systems built in the aftermath of war. Currently, there are two wells that are used by the public, one has been installed at a local Mosque and the other is located by a street. Much of the public is under the impression that once a well is installed it suggests that they now have access to clean water, which we know is not always the case.

Our Plan

HEAL decided to launch our first global project in this community. We intend to pilot well water testing kits that will be translated in Farsi. This will provide over 300 individuals using these wells with the ability to ensure consumable water quality. Our team has researched testing kits and raised funds to procure the necessary supplies. One we assemble the kits we will proceed with translating the instructions and educate the local public health individuals on how to use them.

I-Care Program:
Protecting Eyes and Preserving Vision

Background

The environment can impact our health in many ways. Certain environmental exposures differ based on their occupation and access to affordable health care. Pterygium is a condition affecting the eye where pinkish, triangular tissue growth develops on the conjunctiva (clear, thin, transparent tissue that covers the white portion of the eye called sclera) extends towards the cornea. Cornea is a clear, transparent front portion of the eye. It usually grows slowly with time and can progress to where it covers the pupil of the eye which interferes with vision. While the exact cause of pterygium is unknown, research has linked the condition to excessive exposure to UV radiation from the sun. It is mostly seen in people who spent much time outdoors with excessive exposure to sunlight as well as regular or long-term exposure to windy, smoky, or dusty environments. Thus, pterygia are frequently seen among construction workers, landscapers and people who do manual labor outdoors.

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Pterygium pathophysiology (adapted from the American Academy of Ophthalmology)

The populations that suffer most from this condition are also the ones who frequently do not have reliable access to health care. Therefore, they do not seek help form eye care professionals for diagnosis and management. Treatment of pterygia depends on the size and extent of pterygium. In mild cases, treatment is not required. But this condition should be regularly evaluated to see if it is causing any other visual problems. Furthermore, Surgery is the final treatment option of this condition. Preventive measures for this disorder include protecting the eyes from UV rays by wearing special sunglasses, especially while working outdoors. 

Our Vision

To facilitate early detection and treatment of pterygia among low-income outdoor workers by facilitating free or low-cost eye care

Our Objectives

  1. Outreach to church and community organizations, particularly those that serve the large Latino population in Prince William County

  2. Recruit eye clinics who could provide free eye exams and low-cost corrective surgical procedure

  3. Create educational material (flyers, brochures, slide presentations) to teach affected individuals about the condition and how to get an appointment with eye doctors in our program

  4. Raise money for free eyeglasses that can aid in preventing sun-induced eye abnormalities

Feminine Hygiene Products Drive for Afghan Refugees

Background

At HEAL, we believe the environment has a profound impact on health and wellness and we recognize that this includes socioeconomic, natural, and built environment determinants. We have watched with growing concern the displacement of Afghan people from their home environment and country, as they struggle to start a new life in the U.S. While many are leading efforts to meet their immediate needs including food, shelter, and clothing, the refugees have other equally pressing but unspoken needs, such as feminine hygiene products. Our organization is glad to lead an effort in collecting such products and delivering them to the Quantico base camps. We understand that modesty is an integral part of Afghan culture, and we plan to wrap up the packages and discreetly label them. We hope to start with 100 packages of feminine products and hygiene kits with soap and deodorant.

In collaboration with Operation Allies we started a fundraiser on GoFundMe to help obtain feminine hygiene products for the Afghan refugees.

Please visit the GoFundMe page and brochure below for addition information on how you can help us obtain desperately needed products for the Afghan refugees.


https://www.gofundme.com/f/feminine-hygiene-products-for-afghan-refugees?utm_source=customer&utm_medium=copy_link&utm_campaign=p_cf+share-flow-1

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Project Update

EN-bassadors Leena and Salma Sherdil, with efforts from HEAL leaders, Sophia Qamari and Arman Lateef – successfully raised over $5000 to fund the Feminine Hygiene Products drive for Afghan Refugees. The HEAL members delivered 275 feminine hygiene kits to a refugee housing facility in Leesburg, VA. We are incredibly grateful to Operation Allies Welcome, the branch of Homeland Security that oversees refugee resettlement, for helping facilitate this donation.

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Winter Clothing Drive for PWC Homeless Community

Background

HEAL and 4Girls4Change have partnered during this Winter season to foster a healthy and warm environment with our first Winter Clothing Drive for the homeless community in Prince William County.

Please support our goal of 100 blankets along with 200 pairs of sock. Other winter clothing such as hats or scarfs are greatly appreciated. All clothing donations will be given to a local non-profit organization, Help Us Grow Strong (H.U.G.S), who supports Prince William County's homeless community.

All donation information for drop off location, dates, times, etc. are below within the flier:

 

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Identifying Social and Environmental Determinants of Eye and Kidney Health Outcomes among Diabetic Patients

Background

Social and environmental determinants of health can be just as impactful as genetic ones, yet there is limited research on how these affect outcomes of chronic disease. Diabetes, for example, is a highly prevalent chronic condition, with 415 million people currently being affected worldwide. The most common form of this disease is type 2 diabetes, which is seen mostly in people aged 45 and older. Complications of this chronic health condition include cardiovascular disease (such as heart disease and stroke), kidney failure, and eye damage. Some diabetic patient’s retinopathy (eye disease caused by damage to the blood vessels that nourish the back of the eye) and nephropathy (kidney disease) which can worsen their quality of life. Diabetic retinopathy and nephropathy are preventable complication, possible by controlling diabetes better and having regular health checks.

Research suggests that racial and economic disparities in patients with diabetes may play a role in the outcomes of diabetes, especially with regards to complications. HEAL EN-bassador Layla Moussavi and HEAL President Arman Lateef hope to identify social and environmental determinants of eye and kidney health outcomes among diabetic patients who seek care at a busy clinical practice in Northern Virginia. By identifying such precursors of bad outcomes, they hope to highlight how to prevent them and advocate for such services within their community.

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