CIRE Travel is Committed to Walking Palms Global Health
Helping Make an Impact on Global Health Through a Very Personal CIRE Connection
CIRE Travel is honored to support Walking Palms Global Health, a nonprofit with a mission to build community resilience on the front lines of climate change. The organization is active throughout Latin America and the Caribbean where climate change is exacerbating local residents’ risks from drought, floods and other increasingly volatile environmental conditions.
What Walking Palms Does
Walking Palms performs research to design and carry out holistic, community-led health initiatives. These initiatives are critical because data from their research show that vulnerable groups have higher incidence of disease, mental illness and chronic health problems than even higher income parts of the same community.
The organization empowers communities to address and solve these chronic and acute health challenges. Their programs aim to build social resilience, strengthen personal connections and empower local leaders to give their communities the tools and training needed to adapt and thrive in our changing world.
They envision a future where communities on the front lines of climate change are prepared to meet the challenges they confront in their environment. To make this vision a reality, their team of global health professionals, community leaders, scientists, artists, educators and athletes leads programs based on three disciplines:
From Post-Earthquake and El Niño Disaster Relief to Global Health Organization
In April 2016, a devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Ecuador’s Pacific Coast and coincided with the strongest El Niño event on record. The two events exacerbated the negative health impacts on local communities.
Walking Palms, then a grassroots effort, was founded to recruit doctors, nurses and volunteers from around the world in the days after the earthquake. In providing health services to over 6,000 local residents during those trying months, it became clear that sustainable community health initiatives would require longer-term recovery efforts and programs.
Today, Walking Palms promotes and offers holistic, community-led programs and education together with their partners, which include Ecuadorian governmental agencies, universities in both Ecuador and the US, as well as countless individuals and groups from across the global health community and corporate partners, like CIRE Travel.
The Walking Palms – CIRE Travel Connection Runs Deep
Avriel Diaz is executive director and co-founder of Walking Palms Global Health. She is a Climate and Health Scientist obtaining her doctorate from Columbia University in the department of Earth and Environmental Sciences. She holds a master’s degree in evolution, ecology and conservation biology with a focus in infectious disease from Columbia University and her BS in aquatic and marine science from SUNY Environmental Science and Forestry. Avriel’s specialization in natural disasters, climate and health forms the basis for the scientific research conducted by Walking Palms.
Avriel now spends her time between Bahía de Caráquez, Ecuador and New York City, where she was born and raised, and where the CIRE connection began.
“My mother, Anna Hrubant, was Avriel’s family’s nanny for many, many years. My mom and I were so close with the Diaz family that Avriel is as near to a blood relative as I can imagine,” CIRE Travel’s founder and CEO, Eric Hrubant explains. “She was an undergraduate when she co-founded the organization and to see the heart and soul she’s poured into making it the global health organization it is today is awe-inspiring. Supporting her is what family does and sponsoring an annual fellow for Walking Palms is a great opportunity to promote global health. So many times, people give to organizations, but don’t get to see firsthand the impact they have. By donating to Walking Palms, we see where our charitable dollars go.”
CIRE Travel is a Proud Travel and Fellowship Sponsor for Walking Palms Global Health
Eric and the CIRE team aren’t healthcare professionals, but they are travel experts and are honored to support Avriel and Walking Palms in the best way they know how.
Each year, CIRE Travel sponsors an undergraduate or graduate student selected for a travel-study fellowship with Walking Palms. Fellows may earn college credit, and these immersive experiences are frequently reported to be life-altering.
Also, CIRE covers planning and costs for Avriel’s travel between Ecuador and the U.S.
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