Dr. Ben LaBrot, founder of Floating Doctors, USC professor, and 2012 CNN Hero, gathered with the 3rd Grade students on May 7 via Zoom to discuss how he and his organization help keep people healthy in remote locations in Panama. The students were particularly interested in logistics, such as “So, you have a boat. Do people come on your boat? Is it a big boat or a little boat? Do you live on the boat? What about your family? How do you know where to go in the boat where people need help?” Dr. LaBrot shared his work with some of our Upper School students in the Summer at Brentwood course, Global Health, where students are able to travel to Panama, directly help deliver health services, and learn about global health systems. He also shared a live challenge with the students, essentially asking how we could help get food to people who need it. How could we get food to them and keep them safe at the same time? Who could deliver it and how? The students brainstormed in groups and then shared their ideas with Dr. LaBrot. Afterward, he wrote to say:
"That was so much fun, thank you so much for having me! I was not kidding about what I said to the kids…Some of the ideas they come up with are pretty much the same ideas that the best minds available were able to come up with: The drones, the use of school buses since school buses are not otherwise in use right now, using things like post mates but providing assistance for people learning how to use it and also the financial support to be able to afford to use it…The group that focused on protecting the helpers by making sure they have masks…Really, really impressive. Simple solutions for a complex problem :-)
And I was also not kidding when I said listening to their ideas was a way to avoid getting discouraged because if they are able to come up with potential solutions that are so creative, who are we to do any less?"
Dr. LaBrot left the Lower School community with an optional Challenge of the Month—to design their own masks!