Meet The Interns! 

Greetings, we are the University of Washington’s GROW Interns! We are headed to Baroda, Gujarat, India to work with The MINDS Foundation, a grassroots organization that aims to raise awareness and reduce stigma around mental illness in rural India.

Erica Weisman: Hi, everyone! My name is Erica Weisman, and I am the lucky GROW coordinator of this 2015/16 GROW team. We are ready, excited, and nervous to be heading off to Gujarat, India for two months to visit our ever growing and inspiring partner, The MINDS Foundation. MINDS is a grassroots organization, based in Vadodara, that works to de-stigmatize and screen for mental illnesses in rural towns throughout the state of Gujarat. This work is extremely interesting and powerful for me and my studies. I am a soon to be a senior, majoring in Community, Environment, Planning. I am particularly interested in healthy communities, and what factors work to create one.

Currently the GROW team is packing packing packing, and reassuring each other that we have enough Tums and Deet! We set out for India July 6—just two weeks away!

As I said earlier, I am experiencing a lot of nervous excitement for what is to come. I initially wanted to participate in GROW, for the exact reason that GROW exists within GlobeMed. GROW allows young students to learn hands-on what a healthy and impactful partnership and grassroots organization looks like, and I truly believe I will get to see that when on GROW (#whyGROW)! I am so excited to even see what the little stuff looks like each day. What do hospital rounds look like for a doctor within a partnered hospital? What, exactly, do the materials look like used in children’s educational camps, and how well do the participants receive the information?

Within the smaller things, I hope to begin to understand the everyday, lived experiences of the MINDS staff. I am also so excited to create a mini-documentary about the MINDS Foundation! It will be an excellent way for me and the team to engage thoughtfully with how we want to present what MINDS stands for within a three-minute video clip. Our biggest goals for this trip are to openly and effectively communicate with the rest of our chapter what we have learned and experienced during GROW, and to assure that UW GlobeMed maintains a healthy partnership with the MINDS foundation.

Michaila Forte: Hi, everyone! My name is Michaila and I’m a junior at UW majoring in Biology and Biochemistry. I wanted to go on GROW because I believe health is a human right, I want to help de-stigmatize mental illness, and I want to learn more about non-profit partnerships. #whyGROW

I’m so excited to just be in India and experience the vibrant colors, pungent smells and incredible history. I’m also excited to get to work with the MINDS Foundation and staff. I hope to build a strong relationship with the staff and my team. I’m also excited to learn more about mental health in India and analyze the efforts that are already in place.

My biggest team goal is to come home with a more complete understanding of how a partnership between non-profits works. I also hope to bond more with my team and bring our relationship back to UW. I also hope to bring the GROW experience to my chapter. I also hope we are able to improve our partnership with The MINDS Foundation.

Anna Liddane: Namaste! My name is Anna Liddane and I plan to graduate next year (2017) from UW with majors in Psychology and Biology. With GROW around the corner, I feel most excited about witnessing the vibrant colors of India and exploring the street markets while drinking fresh chai!

But more importantly, I can’t wait to start working on the ground with the MINDS Foundation. I wanted to go on GROW to experience grassroots mental health education through a non-profit I felt so familiar with. Throughout the last two years in GlobeMed I have immersed myself in understanding the purpose of the MINDS Foundation and familiarizing myself with the key figures that run this organization. When I had the opportunity to go on GROW, I knew I wanted to go in order to experience all of my pre-conceived ideas of the work done at MINDS first-hand. I am most excited to work on our promotional video project. I can’t wait to see the education camps in rural communities take place and to document the progress being made through these awareness projects.

As a team we have discussed our goals and the challenges we will most likely face while trying to complete these objectives. I hope to make connections with the MINDS staff that strengthen our partnership and enable us to evaluate all aspects of our work together. I also plan to document our work on the ground in the most ethical and polite manner, while effectively portraying our partnership and community work through media.

Can’t wait to embark on this adventure! GM love <3

Riley Backman: Namaskar! I’m Riley, and I’m a junior at UW majoring in Molecular Biology and minoring in German. I applied for GROW this year to realize our partnership with the MINDS Foundation and to strengthen our commitment to that partnership. I’m very excited to see MINDS’ on-the-ground work and how it positively impacts communities and individuals, as well as to partake in the processes that make this work possible. One of our team’s biggest goals for the year is to evaluate possible improvements in partnership and to determine how we can best continue to support the work that MINDS does.

Stay tuned to hear more about our GROW adventures! GM love. 


From left to right: Erica, Michaila, Riley, and Anna

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