After returning from a month-long research trip to Southeast Africa, one Weber State University faculty member has jumped on her bike and is riding for charity from Canada to Mexico along the Pacific.
Assistant nursing professor Kathleen Cadman recently returned from Mozambique, Africa, where she gathered data for research on the reasons for lack of rural healthcare workers in developing countries. Findings so far indicate that although such schooling is free up to the university level in many countries, it is difficult for some people to make the trip to participate. Another challenge is that current programs are not sustainable because they are not run by those who live within the communities.
“The idea of sustainable practices is having resources that are user-friendly,” Cadman said. “We want resources and information that can be passed easily to others, so the education keeps pushing out farther and farther to the more remote areas. We would start training in the larger cities, and each person who has been trained could turn around and train others.”
After completing her research, Cadman traveled to several other African nations, including South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe. Cadman is no stranger to travel. Her recent trip to Africa put her total number of countries visited at 116.
“I went to Madagascar and saw lemurs, because that’s what you do in Madagascar,” Cadman said. “I went to Botswana and did a boat safari. Part of my trip was for research, and part of it was, ‘Well, as long as I’m here, I might as well check out a few other things.’”
Upon returning to the U.S., Cadman decided to take a trip with her parents all the way down the Pacific coast. But it’s not a typical family vacation: Cadman and her father, Bob, are riding their bicycles, while her mother, Doris, follows in a support vehicle. Their journey began on June 7. Cadman and her father did a similar ride in 2010, biking from Florida to California.
They are riding to raise money for Outreach International, a charity that provides sustainable community development resources to impoverished countries around the world. Cadman chose to ride for Outreach International because she trusts the work that they do.
“I’ve seen a lot of projects done by Outreach International all over the world,” she said. “It is one of the few groups I’vecome across that actually does what it says it is doing in a sustainable way.”
Cadman had little prior conditioning for her ride, having just returned from Africa. However, she hopes to complete the ride sometime in the first two weeks of July. Weather and terrain have dictated their daily pace.
“I’m really enjoying what I’m doing. Not only is it raising money for an organization that I like, it’s just good to be outdoors and take a little break from the academic me and do physical activities instead. I am thoroughly enjoying myself — even through the long hills. We are whittling it away pedal stroke by pedal stroke.”
Upon returning to the classroom in the fall, Cadman hopes to show her students how much fun research can be.
“When people think of research, they think of libraries. But with my experiences, I can show my students what research actually looks like and how it can be exciting and can tie it in with their passion.”
To follow Cadman on her ride, visit facebook.com/kathleen.cadman. For more information on Outreach International, visit fundraise.outreach-international.org/fundraise?fcid=323299. For more information on WSU’s School of Nursing, visit weber.edu/nursing.
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