Anthropology Training in Guatemala: Why Hapin?

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Student Research Reports, Summer 2018

 A training anthropometrist practicing proper pressure technique on adult height measuring. (Photo by Stephanie Covarrubias.)
A training anthropometrist practicing proper pressure technique on adult height measuring. (Photo by Stephanie Covarrubias.)

Anthropology Training in Guatemala: Why Hapin?
By Stephanie Covarrubias

The purpose of my trip was to help with the initial standardizing of the Guatemalan team on proper anthropometric measures. The activities included training the nurses and HAPIN workers on the proper form and technique of anthropometric measures of newborns, infants, and pregnant and adult women. The measures that took place were infant and newborn weight, length and head circumference as well as oxygen levels. The measures that took place for the adult and pregnant women were: height, weight, blood pressure and blood samples. These measures will be used to compare the health effects of women and children and household air pollution. The completion of the trial will hopefully provide guidance to policy groups, including local governments and non-governmental organizations with the necessary evidence to inform and encourage the creation of new policies to extend the use of clean cookstoves in vulnerable populations. Further, my part was to ensure that the quality of anthropometric work and that the measurements are acceptable for future analysis and reporting of the results. We successfully managed to train and standardize all trainees on proper anthropometric form during our week-long training session and secondary week of retraining. Some of the lessons learned was that proper teamwork, positive attitudes and a dedicated team make all the difference. We had a successful training session because all team members were enthusiastic and willing to learn. Because my work was in a pueblo, (small town) I can see the challenges that would have provided for someone not used to seeing and living in rural and poorer areas. It was a very humbling experience, yet a very beautiful one because in general the people of smaller areas seem to be very giving and friendly. I also lived in the office space and living where you work is extremely challenging. I would recommend extreme organization of personal space and to always uphold a professional demeaner. The overall living experience was very challenging because living in the office that was used as the main office, (it had a constant flow of workers and nurses) made it difficult to feel completely comfortable and at home, but it the overall picture it was a really good life experience.  My previous research was conducted in my undergrad where I conducted research in a stable isotope lab looking at the associations of socioeconomic factors and dietary intake based on carbon and nitrogen stable isotopes at the University of Utah. I also am a co-author in a paper for my work at UC Santa Cruz, "Bomb Radiocarbon and the Hawaiian Archipelago: Coral, Otoliths, and Seawater" as a REU student, funded by the National Science Foundation. 

Two of the training anthropometrists practicing their height measurements and proper face position for measuring womens' height. (Photo by Stephanie Covarrubias.)
Two of the training anthropometrists practicing their height measurements and proper face position for measuring womens' height. (Photo by Stephanie Covarrubias.)

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