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College receives grant from leading pharmaceutical company

Penn State Berks has received a grant from Sanofi-Aventis, a pharmaceutical company, for $4,000. The funds will be used for the college's participation in the Children and Youth Empowerment Centre (CYEC) in Kenya to provide for public health priorities such as medical supplies, vaccines, refrigeration, and water harvesting.

Alice Holland MSN, CRNP, Nurse Practitioner Supervisor at Penn State Berks, has been working closely with Sanofi to develop the grant titled "CYEC Project Kinga." "Kinga" is the Swahili word for 'protect.' The goal is to assist the CYEC with preventive health measures by providing vaccines and access to clean water for the population of former street-dwelling youth in Kenya.

Holland led a group of Penn State Berks students last summer to explore Kenyan culture, examine sensitive issues, and review a healthy youth development curriculum. The students met with registered nurse Mary Simiyu, CYEC Health Clinic Program Coordinator and they attended her series of focus groups to assess the needs of the youth.

This summer Holland will return to Kenya with a group of Penn State Berks students enrolled in Holland's course, Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Health and Education, to assist with the development of the Health Clinic at the CYEC. The focus is placed on identifying the factors that influence the development of individual, group, and society cultural perspectives on health and education.

The class will take an experiential approach and apply cultural competence in health and education. The course aims to develop a self-awareness of the diversity within health and education and foster attitudes that value varied perspectives.

The mission of the CYEC is to identify and develop holistic and sustainable solutions for the population of former street-dwelling youth in Kenya. The CYEC has more than 150 children in residential care and provides services for another 60 through its affiliated drop in center. Street-dwelling children lack access to health care and clean water.

The CYEC was formed to address three gaps in the national program for the care of street children: program sustainability, program exit, and standards of care. The program addresses the major circumstances underlying the street life phenomenon, including communal violence, family breakdown, substance abuse, poverty, and disease.

This Penn State Berks health initiative is part of a larger University-wide collaboration with the CYEC that includes the College of Agricultural Sciences, Humanitarian Engineering and Social Entrepreneurship, and the College of Health and Human Development.
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