Dr. Alireza Khorsand is an economist who's academic and research interest is based on economic evolution and its social impact on populations; specifically with emphasis on disadvantaged youth. For the past fifteen years, he has invested his experience and knowledge into the projects and programs of GHH. Viewed from an economic stimulus perspective, GHH is based on the principles of economics and reflection of the place of youth in an economically "market driven society." Dr. Khorsand seeks to show that by acknowledging the capacity of young adults to improve the healing outcomes of hospitalized children while increasing opportunities for them to improve their educational, social, and vocational directions, we can prepare them to take on deeply entrenched social issues affecting health equity. Dr. Khorsand holds a Ph.D. in Economics in International Economic Development from the Pantheon-Sorbonne, Paris, France. Currently Dr. Khorsand is the Director of the School of Business at Stratford University in Falls Church, VA where he teaches graduate-level International Economics. Dr. Khorsand is fluent in English, French and Farsi and conversational in Arabic.
Susan's background is in Fine Arts with a concentration in soft sculpture/ wearable art. She successfully designed women's accessory lines while training in retail management prior to her studies in Paris where she worked in fashion and performing arts. There her life took a huge turn when she was cast in a role with the Company Jerome Deschamps in Lapin Chausser, a wildly successful play. She spent several years performing in Europe, representing France in the 1991 World's Fair in Seville. Lapin Chausser was awarded the equivalent of a Tony (Moliere) in 1991 and our cast had the honor of meeting and performing for both French President Mitterrand and German Chancellor Kohl. Returning to the US in 1992, Susan was Director of Costume Production at Arena Stage, Washington, DC managing a $1 million material and staff budget mounting 10 performances a year for two of the three theaters.
Susan is deeply humbled when students access their compassion to make hats to help sick children. Then, when they are recognized and thanked by doctors and professional healthcare staff for their support, their reaction is everything good. Because they might never have been in a situation where they've been appreciated or thanked, it changes their paradigm. It is beautiful and is what motivates her to further this project. And then, when a parent shares their gratefulness to these students it reaches a new level. It is an energy that must find it's way in today's world and even beget more.
It began as an effort to redefine community service in the eyes of students. We wanted to show them that it doesn’t have to be a burden or boring but can be a strategic opportunity to skill-build and add value to their community. We wanted them to thoughtfully reflect on why so many children are sick, what are social determinants of health and what is the impact of them on our health. Then, how this knowledge can improve their individual and collective behaviors and guide their academic choices and career paths. To that end, GHP® designed a service-learning curriculum where students become both aware of the mounting numbers of children's who are sick at a crucial moment in time where they can build their collective capacity by linking to other GHP® sites in a network. Our goal is for them to develop feelings of self-efficacy and personal agency, then practice critical thinking as they choose academic paths to career paths with the understanding that they hold the keys to social change.
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