2017 Fellows: Staying Connected with an Alumni Meeting

Ten 2017 Fellows joined together over the weekend of June 29-30 in Jakarta, Indonesia, for the first alumni meeting of their cohort. The meeting fostered continued learning and connection and provided a platform for fellowship project and community-building discussions. This was a Fellow-run event, with Sati Bur Rasuanto, Lynna Chandra, Beverly Ho, and Ayi Hernandez leading the reunion organizing committee.

Field visits enabled Fellows to learn from the work of Rachel House (www.rachel-house.org), founded by Lynna Chandra (2017 Fellow), which has pioneered palliative care for children in Indonesia living with life-limiting illnesses. Fellows broke into small groups and accompanied Rachel House nurses to visit the homes of palliative care patients and their families, tour a primary health care clinic, and learn about Rachel House’s community network in palliative care. Fellows took away many lessons from the day, highlighting in particular the ways in which nurses and families go beyond healthcare in providing comfort to the children, the power of the promise of presence (without expectation of outcome) that they witnessed, and the importance of finding meaning in work and daily life.

To complement their field visits, palliative care educator Liese Groot-Alberts facilitated a session on the topic of hope. She also provided a collective space for Fellows to honor and remember Ginan Koesmayadi, a 2017 Fellow who suddenly passed away on June 21, 2018. Ginan was the cofounder of Rumah Cemara, one of Indonesia’s largest and most well-respected community-based, nonprofit drug rehabilitation programs and HIV/AIDS centers. He was a pioneer in using sports and music events to engage the public and minimize stigma for people living with HIV/AIDS and for intravenous drug users.

The Fellows closed their meeting with a discussion of the successes and challenges of their group fellowship projects, helping them gain greater clarity on the direction of their respective projects and next steps. They also talked about ways to support each other and incoming Fellows, as well as what each can do to sustain momentum in building a professional family of Fellows.