Monday, June 28, 2010

Day 13: Barcelona and Healthcare Policy

The last morning in Barcelona didn't offer too much time but we made the best of it.  While many people had most of the day, I had two FDPs (Faculty Directed Practica) to attend in the afternoon so I had to be back on board the ship by noon.  In the morning we decided to take the Metro back Sagrada Familia to tour the inside.  The interior is slated to be finished within a few months and it's really looking nice.  It is very unlike any other cathedral I've seen and has a distinctly modern touch.  It's probably because it's new, but the stained glass was incredibly vibrant and lit up the whole place.  The construction of the building is solely funded by tourist entrance fees, and it was well worth it to contribute.  There is also a mini Gaudi museum downstairs and it was interesting seeing some of his actual drawings.  After departing we grabbed a quick lunch, picked up some pens, and made the way back to the ship.

My first FDP was a lecture by a public health official from the Spanish Government.  He had some really interesting information on how infectious disease is handled and some of the protocol in Spain/Europe versus the US.  The H1N1 situation last year really injured the image of many public health agencies and this effect is especially bad in Europe.  It's also interesting to see how the universal healthcare system present in many European countries arguably makes them more prepared to successfully handle a major pandemic if it should occur.  Let me know if you want more details, we'll chat.

The second FDP was a presentation and discussion about the mental health response in a humanitarian crisis by a representative from Doctors Without Borders.  There were a lot of really powerful stories and pictures.  Some of the policy relating to global mental health was also good to hear.

We departed later in the evening to calm Mediterranean waters.  I officially declare Barcelona a success.  I believe there were about 60 incidents in total (theft, assault, drugs, medical, etc) which is about average for the first port.  Luckily I wasn't (a) drunk or (b) stupid so we didn't really run into any problems.  Spain was great...on to Italy!

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