Tanya Owens Photography: Blog https://www.tanyaowens.com/blog en-us All Images & Content Copyright (C) Tanya Owens contact@tanyaowens.com (Tanya Owens Photography) Sat, 21 Aug 2021 17:21:00 GMT Sat, 21 Aug 2021 17:21:00 GMT https://www.tanyaowens.com/img/s/v-12/u912903336-o1057644277-50.jpg Tanya Owens Photography: Blog https://www.tanyaowens.com/blog 90 120 High Dynamic Range Images https://www.tanyaowens.com/blog/2021/8/high-dynamic-range-images HDR

There was a time when High Dynamic Range aka HDR photography/images were all the rage. Everyone was chomping at the bit to create these images that truly mimics what the eye sees. And they were done to quite a comical effect, where some images were clearly manipulated and others you were so captivated with you wanted all images to be HDR. Quite a bit of controversy arose in photographic circles with some eschewing HDR altogether and considering those images to be low quality and not truly art, and others on the opposite side of the spectrum.

When I first saw an HDR image I didn't know what it was and was so captivated by it. I wanted to immediately figure out how I could adjust the settings in my camera to get that perfect image. When I realized that you needed special processing software and must take a series of bracketed images I became intrigued. So my next photo trip I made sure I took some shots that were on the tripod with the recommended settings for HDR images. When I returned from my trip, I raced into my digital darkroom to test the premier HDR software at that time: Photomatix. I downloaded a trial of the software it to see if I could get that perfect HDR image. I used three bracketed images I shot in Sedona, Arizona.

Arizona Mountain PhotomatixArizona Mountain Photomatix

I was quickly disappointed by the results and resoundingly abandoned further attempts. However, deep within me I still wanted to create perfect HDR images.

Trip Down Memory Lane

So what took me on this trip down memory lane? I was working on my flower catalog this week and came across some daisies I photographed in 2012 in Rhode Island, when I first obtained my 100mm 2.8 Canon L macro lens. It was a winter day in December, a couple weeks after I returned from China, where I had the opportunity to photograph flowers at the Shanghai Botanical Gardens and in Singapore. I decided I wanted to work with a dedicated macro lens to see if I could get better quality. So, I took some test shots and my camera was set up to shoot JPGs small, yes small JPGs - 72dpi. These files are great for online, but not for printing. So as I went through my catalog I rejected those images. Then yesterday I was testing out some digital painting plugins and actions and wondered if I could redeem some of those low quality photos of flowers I rejected and do some digital painting with them.

As I looked through the images I realized that some of the shots looked bracketed. I guess I was testing the look of different exposures, ISO, and shutter speeds. So I decided to create an HDR image with one of the flowers, a daisy. 

Pyrethrum Daisy Light DarkPyrethrum Daisy Light Dark

Both images were shot at ISO 125, 1/60 shutter speed (Tv) and 2.8 aperture (Av), with an exposure compensation of 1/3. The image on the left flash exposure compensation is 0 and the image on the right flash exposure compensation is -2/3.

Buried in the heart of Photoshop (PS) and Lightroom (LR) are HDR tools to create HDR images. They are ok, but not as effective as dedicated HDR software. So while in LR I decided to try the HDR tool and quickly created an HDR image.

Please note, I did not spend extensive time with any of the images below to correct for aberrations, clean up the image or correctly align the images to prevent ghosting. Please disregard these elements if you see them in the image(s). I am merely checking for the overall look of the image(s) to see which tool produces the best results.

Pyrethrum Daisy HDR LRPyrethrum Daisy HDR LRHDR merged from 72dpi JPGs

Hmmm, not too bad. I wonder what would the NIK HDR Efex Pro, a dedicated and highly rated software, do?

Pyrethrum Daisy HDR Efex Pro 2Pyrethrum Daisy HDR Efex Pro 2HDR merged from 72dpi JPGs

Wow, that is significantly much better. This made me think back to that first picture I shared above and wonder what would NIK's HDR software do. Would the results be better than Photomatix? Nine years has passed, I think this is the time to realize my HDR dream.

NIK HDR Efex Pro

The flowers above were low resolution JPGs, however the picture of the Sedona, Arizona desert mountain was shot with my Canon 50D,  APS-C sized 15.1-megapixel RAW file. These are high resolution images. HDR Efex Pro can work with RAW images so I did not need to convert the images to TIFFs or JPGs.

Arizona Mountain BracketArizona Mountain Bracket

So, with my three bracketed images I launched HDR Efex Pro Standalone application. To be honest the first time I used it I was a bit confounded & searched for help files. After immersing myself in the basics & a bit of trial and error I created what I thought was a beautiful HDR image. I saved the image and looked and looked and have no idea where it was saved. Stymied I endeavored to start again. I didn't want to use LR to create the HDR, because I did not want to use the intermediary step of creating TIFFs to send over to HDR Efex Pro. So, I peaked into Adobe Bridge, a software that I tend to ignore, and discovered that I could select the images and send them over to HDR EFex Pro. This turned out to be a better solution and much easier. As after you create the HDR in the plugin and save it, it opens up directly in Photoshop as a layer with a smart filter. It is a 32bit file, which is rather large, but that means the quality is higher. You can always save it down to 16 or 8 bits. The great thing about it being a smart filter is that you can go back into HDR Efex Pro and make adjustments as needed.

Arizona Mountain HDR Efex Pro 2Arizona Mountain HDR Efex Pro 2 Now this image is significantly better than the image I created with Photomatix. Looking back on it, if I knew then what I know now, I probably could've obtained a great image nine years ago in Photomatix when I started on this journey that I quickly abandoned. I really like this image. I would more than likely work on the clouds a bit more as they are a bit bluer and moodier than I prefer or that the scene dictated. Also, the clouds have too much grain in it after processing. When zoomed in the birds look like sensor spots that weren't cleaned up. But, overall I really like the clarity in the bushes and the rich tones in this image. It makes me want to step into the image and explore. 

HDR Efex Pro has so many features and presets in it to play with that I can certainly achieve the look I want without the photo looking cheesy and over processed. But I didn't stop there, I wanted to look at Canon's Digital Photo Professional (DPP) HDR Tool. I use it to process my raw images and thought that I would give it a gander. Like PS & LR the settings are a bit on the slim side and since it isn't as feature rich or customizable like Photomatix and HDR Efex Pro, the results I achieve may or may not be what I want.

Arizona Mountain Canon DPP HDRArizona Mountain Canon DPP HDR

The image above is pretty flat. In Canon DPP's defense there is a feature in HDR Efex Pro where I can select a flat looking image too. But that's not why I want to create an HDR image. Yes, some photographers just want to recover the details that are lost depending upon your exposure setting, and that was my goal too. But I wanted it to feel like it was 3D, like you could just step into the scene.

Photomatix vs NIK HDR Efex Pro

While in Sedona, AZ I took a self portrait and bracketed the shot. Since I am a dark brown I knew if I exposed for the scene it would make me over exposed, that is too dark. So, I took two shots:

Arizona Mountain Me Light DarkArizona Mountain Me Light Dark

This is a photo I took for my scrapbook, so I didn't take more than two bracketed images. Here is the result from Photomatix, that just broke my tiny lil heart.

Arizona Mountain Me PhotomatixArizona Mountain Me Photomatix

And here is the result from NIK HDR Efex Pro I worked on today. Well, I actually did a bit more work in NIK. I wanted to lighten me (not lighten my hue, but lighten the exposure so you can see me). The first image the colors were very vibrant but made me look too orange like in the image above. So I pulled down the vibrancy and desaturated a bit.
Arizona Mountain Me HDR Efex Pro 2 VibrantArizona Mountain Me HDR Efex Pro 2 Vibrant Arizona Mountain Me HDR Efex Pro 2 DeSatArizona Mountain Me HDR Efex Pro 2 DeSat
Then in PS I masked & combined the layers and created a better version.

Arizona Mountain Me HDR Efex Pro 2 MergedArizona Mountain Me HDR Efex Pro 2 Merged  

Please note, I did this quick and dirty, so the masking isn't perfect and the alignment isn't right. However, I discovered that I can achieve the results I want in HDR Efex Pro and now I am going back to those bracketed shots I took in the past and considering new images I can shoot in the future.

Tip: If you plan to shoot your own HDR images, make sure you have your camera mounted on a tripod. If you are shooting with a traditional DSLR lock the mirror up to minimize movement as the camera brackets the shots. Depending on the model of your camera you may be able to bracket more than 3 shots allowing the software to have more details to work with to create a more realistic or surreal photo.

I hope you enjoyed my time in the digital darkroom as much as I did, and the stories behind the shots. 

Until next time, this has been Behind the Lens.

contact@tanyaowens.com (Tanya Owens Photography) Arizona Desert Flowers HDR https://www.tanyaowens.com/blog/2021/8/high-dynamic-range-images Thu, 19 Aug 2021 23:56:05 GMT
B&W Conversion Fixing Bad Color Cast https://www.tanyaowens.com/blog/2021/8/b-w-conversion-fixing-bad-color-cast I am working on fine tuning my technique in the digital darkroom. I decided to look through some older photos to practice various skills & techniques and came across photos I took back in 2006 during my first trip to West Palm Beach, Florida. I packed light and carried my Canon Powershot A250 with me. The Powershot is a digital budget friendly prosumer camera, with creative zones. It had a focal length of 5.8-23.2mm, f/2.6-5.5 (35mm film equivalent: 35-140mm) and a digital zoom of 3.6x. It was pretty sophisticated with aperture shutter and shutter speed control. I would use this camera to help me determine the optimal settings for my film SLR camera. And though it was only 4 megapixels I got quite decent shots with it.

On the PierBlue Cast, incorrect white balance

So, I was surprised when I looked at my photos from that weekend and noticed that most of my shots had a blue cast over them. Whoops I used the wrong white balance. And since this camera only saved JPGs and not RAW files I could not use Canon's Digital Photo Professional software to set the correct white balance. So, I brought the images into Lightroom and went to work fixing the white balance.

On the Pier 2On the Pier 2Fixed the white balance

And since I had to do quite a bit of editing to fix the color cast I decided to play around with creating a black and white. While in Lightroom I adjusted tone, presence, and converted to B&W. Nice start, but not quite there yet.

On the Pier B&WOn the Pier B&WAdjusted tone, presence, and converted to B&W.

My esthetic is stark B&W. I like white whites and black blacks with some gradation. I want it to feel like a Black & White image and not like a grey image. After doing an initial pass in Lightroom I sent the image over to Nik Silver Efex Pro and used one of the high contrast filters to give me that B&W esthetic I wanted.

On the Pier Silver Efex ProOn the Pier 4High contrast B&W enhancement I was quite pleased with what I got out of Nik for most of the image but the clouds were washed out and when I brought back definition in the clouds it began to look over processed and the image darkened. So, I took it over to Photoshop and blended the clouds in from the original B&W I created in Lightroom. Yes, lots of steps and tweaking to get to the final result; one in which I am pleased. I printed the picture on my small Epson photo printer and was frankly blown away, just awashed in the whimsy. You know that feeling you get when things turn out just right the way you want it.

On the Pier FinalOn the Pier Final

This kinda reminds me of those postcards you saw back in the day when you traveled. I feel like Harry Belafonte should come out and start singing. That's what good art should do, it should captivate you and invite you to step into the scene and be one with it. Ahh, whimsical photographs. Do you feel the whimsy?


contact@tanyaowens.com (Tanya Owens Photography) B&W Florida travel photography West Palm Beach https://www.tanyaowens.com/blog/2021/8/b-w-conversion-fixing-bad-color-cast Thu, 05 Aug 2021 19:46:16 GMT
Getting Creative with Digital Painting https://www.tanyaowens.com/blog/2021/7/getting-creative-with-oil-painting Flexing My Digital Paint Muscles

I'd admit when I first starting shooting, I thought the art occurred behind the lens and not in the darkroom, especially not in the digital darkroom. Well, I am so glad I shifted on that, because my art has really opened up and my creativity knows no bounds. I am currently dabbling in creating composites and realizing my vision of art & photo realism photography. Keeping the lid on it for now as I don't want any spoilers.

Photoshop Filters Opening Up Creativity

Yesterday, 7/29/2021, our local TV station KHOU tweeted about a thunderstorm that was happening south of Houston. I decided to be cheeky and say it is sunny, blue skies with white fluffy clouds. Well it was when I looked out my office window. As it is now, just a beautiful summer day. As it tends to happen in areas along the Gulf Coast, the weather quickly changed. I heard the rolling thunder, but no change in weather and decided to grab my camera and my H2n zoom microphone. I attached the mic to the camera, screwed on my 70-200mm lens and headed out to the backyard. It was perfect, the wind was blowing, the clouds rolling to the north, birds were fleeing to the north, or taking advantage of the tail wind, and the thunder was rolling.

I shot some shaky hand held footage. No time to grab the tripod and it get ready, it would be pouring by the time I got outside. Actually, I really need to build a photo blind in my backyard, but that is a story for another day. I uploaded this shaky footage to YouTube, but I had fun creating it, so no shade please 🙃.

My biggest challenge when shooting footage is shutting up. I find myself narrating when I should be capturing ambient sound. I am really happy with the sound captured in this footage.

Image from Video

So I snagged a frame from this video and had fun playing with the old Pixel Blender set of filters in Photoshop. Here are a few digital paintings I created:

Fisheye Filter: With this filter you create a fisheye effect on a certain portion of the image. It was quite fun to play with.

Fisheye Storm CloudsFisheye Storm CloudsUsing the fisheye filter on storm clouds captured during a SE Texas July thunderstorm.

Oil Paint Filter: You can create thick lush paint strokes or fine paint strokes. I decided to make these strokes more on the finer side.

Oil Paint Storm CloudsOil Paint Storm CloudsUsing the oil paint filter on storm clouds captured during a SE Texas July thunderstorm.

Ripple Blocks Filter: I can see using this in some parts of images and certainly for creating textures for composites. I am also sure I have seen art like this hanging in restaurants and in businesses.

Ripple Blocks Storm CloudsRipple Blocks Storm CloudsUsing the ripple blocks filter on storm clouds captured during a SE Texas July thunderstorm.

Spherize Filter: This is by far my favorite effect I played with today. It is like creating your own little world. Wow, I can see how to create planets for a novel series I am writing. I really like sci-fi. Doesn't it look like a mini earth?

Spherize Storm CloudsSpherize Storm CloudsUsing the spherize filter on storm clouds captured during a SE Texas July thunderstorm.

How to Create an Oil Painting using Photoshop's Oil Paint and Liquify Filters

Here is a quick technique tutorial. It is using an older version of photoshop, but the principles are still the same.

Stay tuned for up coming images and products to drop, fingers crossed, for the Christmas 2021 shopping season.

contact@tanyaowens.com (Tanya Owens Photography) digital painting https://www.tanyaowens.com/blog/2021/7/getting-creative-with-oil-painting Sat, 31 Jul 2021 21:17:50 GMT
Working on My Flowers Catalog https://www.tanyaowens.com/blog/2021/5/working-on-my-flowers-catalog This Rose

I am really enamored with this rose, Silver Jubilee.

Silver JubileeSilver JubileeThis pink and cream rose comes from the hybrid tea rose family. What a creamy delight.

I think it is a combination of the memories of visiting the Portland Rose Garden back in 2007 and the colors. Mostly the colors. The colors are so soothing and peaceful. Now the lighting is harsh, it was of course the middle of the day. And to be honest I am not as agnostic about harsh light as some landscape & nature photographers who swear by early morning or dusk light. Or they use a filter to take away some of the harshness. Well back in 2007 my filter game wasn't what it is today, so I used the tools I had on hand.

My First SLR

My handy, and first SLR camera, the Canon Elan 7ne is a film camera.

Canon Elan 7neCanon Elan 7neCanon's Single Lens Reflex (SLR) film camera is a high-amateur-class (auto focus) AF SLR camera. My first SLR camera.

I was so evangelistic about using film. I wanted to make sure the settings were perfect and was agonistic about doing much in post. I guess I was leaning more toward editorial photography back then. Of course now that has changed and I am more of an artistic photographer using the camera as a tool to execute an artistic vision. But back to my film camera. The limitation of the film camera I had was that after you take the shot you have to go by faith that it turns out as you saw it. With digital you can check immediately and then tweak the settings, clean the lens, etc. to make sure you get a tack sharp in focus image. So I carried with me a point and shoot digital camera, the Canon Powershot A520, my 2nd digital camera, but the first one with many features.

Canon PowerShot A520Canon PowerShot A520Compact digital camera with built-in flash and 4x Optical/3.6x Digital/14x Combined Zoom. 4.0 Megapixel CCD. Point and Shoot camera.

I loved this little camera, sadly it was destroyed during a trip to the USVI. A crewmate dropped it in the water. Anyway, I would take a picture with my digital camera, ensure the settings were optimal and then mimic the settings with my film camera. It wasn't optimal, but it helped me get my settings mostly correct.

Culling Decisions

Presently, I am going through my catalog of flowers. I have about 755 images. I will not be uploading all of those images to my website. My goal is to upload the best of the best. But to be honest, sometimes I just can't say no. I will flag an image as a reject, revisit and then unflag it. Argh, I need to make up my mind. I am making progress. I have the flowers sorted by color. I am currently working on red and orange flowers. The Silver Jubilee rose has notes of yellow, pink, orange and cream.

Silver JubileeSilver JubileeThis pink and cream rose comes from the hybrid tea rose family. What a creamy delight.

So, what do you think? Should I cull Silver Jubilee or keep? Please let me know in the comments below or tweet me  

contact@tanyaowens.com (Tanya Owens Photography) behind the lens fine art prints Flowers hybrid tea rose https://www.tanyaowens.com/blog/2021/5/working-on-my-flowers-catalog Thu, 06 May 2021 13:00:00 GMT
Digitizing with PSW Deluxe - Creating Customizable Fabric Art and Embroidery https://www.tanyaowens.com/blog/2018/3/digitizing-with-psw-deluxe-creating-customizable-fabric-art-and-embroidery I am happy to announce the release of my first eBook - Digitizing with Professional Sew-Ware (PSW) Deluxe today March 8, 2018. The ebook is reasonably priced and a must have for owners of the Singer Legacy SE340/300 embroidery and sewing machine.

Digitizing-with-PSW-Deluxe-CoverDigitizing-with-PSW-Deluxe-CoverA companion guide for the SINGER® LEGACY™ SE340 sewing and embroidery machine.  

DIGITIZING WITH PROFESSIONAL SEW-WARE DELUXE™ is a companion guide to the software that comes bundled with the SINGER® LEGACY™ SE340 sewing and embroidery machine. The Professional Sew-Ware (PSW) Deluxe™ is a full manual and auto digitizing, advanced editing, and lettering embroidery software. This guide deeply dives into the Digitize mode features and tools.
The guide details how to access the Digitizing mode and how to use its powerful features. This feature in PSW Deluxe™ is not covered in the manual that is accessed via the help menu. This guide describes what digitizing is, what the tools are in the Digitizing mode, why you should use them, and how to use them.
The Digitizing mode in PSW Deluxe™ gives you full control to manually digitize artwork into an quality embroidery design. Allowing you to create custom embroidery designs. You can save embroidery designs in a variety of machine formats for the leading embroidery machines including: XXX, PES and DST to name a few.
You can purchase the eBook here: http://www.tanyaowens.com/pswdeluxe
contact@tanyaowens.com (Tanya Owens Photography) custom embroidery digitizing embroidery https://www.tanyaowens.com/blog/2018/3/digitizing-with-psw-deluxe-creating-customizable-fabric-art-and-embroidery Thu, 08 Mar 2018 15:24:22 GMT
The Genesis of my Love of Photography https://www.tanyaowens.com/blog/2018/2/the-genesis-of-my-love-of-photography It's a brand new year and a milestone year for me with a significant birthday coming up in the fall. As you can imagine, it has been a time of introspection for me. As we come into 2018, I've been thinking quite a bit about Tanya Owens Photography. After giving the website a once over, I realized that she was due for a major overhaul, so I gave her a major renovation. She looks quite slick, polished, and professional now.  


While going through that renovation, it dawned on me that I never really introduced myself as an artist to you nor did I take the time to introduce the website to you and take you on a tour. Well that was rude of me. To remedy that I have planned a series of weekly blog posts that will introduce you to me, Tanya Owens, and the website www.tanyaowens.com. These blog posts will not only provide a bit about my history as a photographer and my passion as a writer and photographer, they will also give you some insight into the photos I have taken on my travels, why they are whimsical, and new products.


Let's start at the beginning. This is a blog post I shared on another blog July 2, 2010. It is a fitting introduction to me as a photographer and is part one of my artist statement. So, let's flow into the whimsy...



My love of photography began before I could talk. And before I could walk. I am the first born, number one of three. And as you probably have guessed it, my mother did what most new moms do, she recorded my life on film using her snazzy Polaroid camera.


My mother's camera looked something like this:

Polaroid Automatic 215Polaroid Automatic 215Polaroid Automatic 215 Land Camera with flash. Used old polaroid instant print development media and paper.

Image is from: http://collectiblend.com/Cameras/Polaroid/Polaroid-215.html

I instantly fell in love, not so much with the camera, but with the art of Photography.


I was a very happy six year old one Christmas morning when I opened a gift from Santa, aka Mommy, and discovered my first camera. It was not the instant Polaroid my mother had, instead it was a 126 mm Instamatic camera loaded with Black and White film and equipped with flash cubes. I diligently did what any six year old would do, I immediately took pictures of my other Christmas presents including my Barbie doll and her beach house!


My 126 looked something like this:

126 Instamatic126 InstamaticOld 126mm film camera that used cube flash

Image is from: http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3429/3890534525_619017cc2a.jpg

Yes, I have loved photography my whole life. And I am so grateful, because the images that I can not convey with the stroke of a brush, I can with the click of a lens and the strike of a key on my keyboard as I write narratives that provide context to the image the Artist, me, is/am conveying.


For years I have wanted to display my photographs in a gallery. I was just online looking at my website, ecstatic that I was able to create an icon from one of my photos to display on the address bar of whatever browser the viewer uses. Excited that I have uploaded a bare cross section of images snapped on various travels the last five years. Happy that a long time vision is coming into fruition. Especially since with the aid of technology and the internet my business and artistic dreams are realized. I don't have to show my portfolio to various museums and galleries or do a tap dance to garner attention and scream out to the masses, hey, look at me, acknowledge me, I am an artist and my voice is yet to be realized.


Well, at least not at the moment. I will eventually have to do some of that to realize other parts of my dream. For now, I am grateful for Zenfolio, the host who enables me to run my gallery, Shop, and Blog which provides an avenue for my voice to be heard, even from the desert.


contact@tanyaowens.com (Tanya Owens Photography) art barbie canon dslr instamatic magicmatic photography polaroid slr tanya owens photography travel https://www.tanyaowens.com/blog/2018/2/the-genesis-of-my-love-of-photography Sat, 24 Feb 2018 11:11:45 GMT
Behind the Scenes https://www.tanyaowens.com/blog/2012/10/behind-the-scenes Throughout my fellowship I have had the opportunity to view first hand some of the training programs that Project HOPE (PH) manages and I have had the opportunity to meet with key stakeholders who are vital to the success of the PH Shanghai programs along with visiting some of the patients who are benefiting from PH’s programs.


US Consulate General Shanghai, Seth Patch; SCMC President, Dr. Liu


Jenny Xu, Tanya, and Lily Hsu 

Tanya, Mike, Lily, Tibetan child

Mike Maves, Lily  and Tanya visit Tibetan Children with Congenital Heart Disease @ SCMC

Tanya, Mike, Lily, Tibetan families


These strategic partners, whether they are providing financial aid, human resources, or tactical/strategic advice, are instrumental to the success of PH Shanghai’s projects and the health of Chinese nationals who benefit from the care provided by the health care professionals trained by PH Shanghai. The impact meeting these people and patients have had on me will be lasting. The passion and professionalism displayed by the key stakeholders motivates me as I think about how I can carry my enthusiasm forward and make an impact on the underserved in the U.S.


Aside from providing guidance on how to improve PH Shanghai’s training programs and helping PH achieve their goal of providing online training, I have also had the pleasure of editing important documents and material that project HOPE disseminates in English. Below are some highlights of these projects:

  • Most Meaningful Editing Project: English version of the poem SCMC sent to Comer Children’s Hospital upon learning about the untimely death of Dr. Donald Liu. Dr. Liu often traveled to SCMC to train pediatricians and also hosted physicians when they traveled to Chicago for training.
  • Most Impactful Editing Project: The final editing and proofing of the Project HOPE global NCD manual that previous fellow Connie Lieu wrote. This manual will assist field offices with developing programs targeting NCD prevention, treatment, and patient management.
  • Most Fun Editing Project: Cervical Cancer Fan that is handed out to women who attend the Free Cervical Cancer screenings. The fans discuss HPV, pap smears, and cervical cancer prevention and treatment.
  • Most Celebratory Editing Project: Rural Training 10 year anniversary invitation and program, which chronicles the inception and progress of the program for the past ten years.
  • Most Significant Editing Project: SCMC Memorandum of Understanding with Georgia Health Sciences University, Georgia Health Sciences Medical Center to establish a collaborative program for health program consultation – this project was more than editing, I provided some consultation based on my experience with developing RFPs and SOWs. Naturally, I recommended that they had a lawyer give it a final look over before it was sent out to parties to sign.

I have worked on additional editing projects of various sizes. Because Project HOPE is an international charity, it is important that Project HOPE accurately disseminates communications in proper English. I am honored to have been able to assist.


My experience in China has been positive. I will miss working with the Project HOPE Shanghai team: Lily, Jenny, GU, Lisa, Niki, Tracy, and interns Amy and Sandy. I am impressed with Lily’s leadership, her ability to identify the talents of each member of her staff and capitalize on them. I am also impressed with her vision – the go forward strategy of adding eLearning to the Rural Training Program is a strong one and will in no doubt result in Project HOPE reaching more health care professionals in rural parts of China. The capability of the staff at the Project HOPE Shanghai office, the passion they bring to their work, and the sheer volume of work they are able to manage, all with a positive attitude and a smile, is quite impressive.


Thanks Project HOPE for the opportunity to bring value to your organization. Thanks Pfizer for this opportunity to volunteer in such a meaningful way and also help Pfizer realize its goal of making the world a healthier place.


contact@tanyaowens.com (Tanya Owens Photography) Center Children's China Congential Fellowship HOPE Heart Mandarin Medical Pediatrics Project Shanghai Tibet https://www.tanyaowens.com/blog/2012/10/behind-the-scenes Fri, 26 Oct 2012 06:50:00 GMT
Capacity Building and Sustainability pt. 2 https://www.tanyaowens.com/blog/2012/10/capacity-building-and-sustainability-pt-2  

Exuberance, pride, and relief are three words that describe my emotions as I come to the end of my fellowship. This has indeed been an enriching and busy month. The third and final month of my fellowship; this is the time where I shift gears to ensure that the capability built results in sustainability; sustainable, what an apt word to use for this Blog.


After the national holiday week (Sept. 30 - Oct. 7), the Project HOPE (PH) Shanghai staff kicked things back into high gear running a number of programs. On Friday October 12, 2012 Lily Hsu and I traveled to Shenyang in Liaoning province. We attended the Cervical Cancer Cytology training. I was able to sit through most of the program, minus the hands-on screening. The hospital in Shenyang has a rich history. It is one of the oldest medical institutions and medical schools in China, predating the communist party. Lily informed me that it was built by the Japanese during the Japanese occupation. The buildings architecture was beautiful with high ceilings and wide staircases. As we made our way to the training room Friday afternoon (October 12, 2012), I was taken by the jars of preserved organs and ancient medical instruments that were on display and lined the corridor to the classroom.

DSC_0020.JPGDSC_0020 DSC_0027.JPGDSC_0027


On Saturday, October 13, 2012, the Cervical Cancer Screening Training began with the sessions taught by experts from Liaoning province. BD representatives were in attendance, and Lily shared with the students Project HOPE’s history and the purpose of the training program. I attended the full day session and made some observations about the training. After sharing my observations with Lily as we flew back to Shanghai, Lily asked me to share with the Project HOPE Shanghai team.


On the morning of Monday, October 22nd, Tracy Huang ran into my office excited, incidentally my office is also the conference room and the kitchen. Tracy asked if I wanted to see the first module of the web course as it was better than she had expected. Lily and I rushed over to Tracy’s desk to see the demo course that will be shown during the Rural Training Program’s tenth anniversary gala celebration on November 1st. I was also mildly surprised. When I first saw the demo of the LMS with the course embedded within the LMS, I was concerned. I explained to Tracy that the course needed to launch in a separate window. One of the benefits of doing that is that it makes the LMS able to launch training that is not created by the vendor, such as off the shelf courses and donated training.


Needless to say, the suggestions I made about the page layout and graphics were taken into consideration and rendered wonderfully. I am surprised daily by the talent in the office and the capabilities of Tracy Huang to translate what I communicated to her during our meeting to the vendor. This was the first demo, only the first 9 pages of it. I am excitedly waiting for the rest of module one to be finished.

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On the afternoon of October 22nd I delivered my second and final Train-the-Trainer session to the PH staff with suggestions for improvements and adding interactivity to training after attending the all day session in Shenyang. The session focused on a refresher of some slides on adult learning that I shared during our September training along with key elements to remember as considerations to make training more Active. I focused on the meme Think Beyond the Classroom. I chose this as Lily asked me a question during our flight on October 13th, “how do you build interactivity and make training active when you have a limited amount of training time”. I explained to Lily and the team, when you move beyond looking at training as a one-time event and more of as a continuum: how you support the learner before, during, and after the training, you can then begin to compartmentalize the training and focus on critically what must be taught during the face to face time with the instructors and what can be moved into pre-work, before the training, and post-work, support materials and actions after the training.


We had a lively discussion and dialogue about how PH can put into practice what I was sharing. Admittedly some of the suggestions I made regarding how to make training more interactive and engaging pushes past the comfort zone of many Chinese nationals as it is not normally how training occurs. Lisa also mentioned with all that they have to do they don’t have time to review the course material experts develop and create engaging exercises or moderate the live training sessions and facilitate exercises. Feeling her pain, I shared that at Pfizer I too face similar situations and shared some creative ways to address the time crunch, such as leveraging the subject matter experts to facilitate and moderate the exercises.


On Wednesday, October 24th Lisa and Niki attended the third anniversary of the Fudan University, Obstetrics and Gynecology Hospital, which is in the Yangpu hospital district in Shanghai. As part of the celebration the hospital along with the World Health Foundation and Project HOPE, sponsored a free clinic to screen women for cervical cancer. 100 physicians were on hand to screen the women, of which 109 hospital workers were screened. These women, primarily hospital cleaners and care workers are predominately migrant workers from rural provinces. During the screening, Niki, Lisa and their team of volunteers handed out information to the women, including the fan, which contains FAQs about HPV and cervical cancer treatment and prevention.

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Although I was not in attendance for this particular screening, I am glad to learn that the fan I helped edit and provide suggestions for layout was well received by the women in the clinic. To learn more about this screening and the project, please go to Project HOPE China’s website: http://www.projecthope.org.cn/English/shanghai/ and select the Women’s Health Cervical Cancer Prevention Program button.


contact@tanyaowens.com (Tanya Owens Photography) Cancer Care Cervical China HOPE HPV Health Learning NGO Owens Pfizer Professionals Project Shanghai Shenyang Tanya Training WBT building capacity eLearning gynecologist hospital pathology https://www.tanyaowens.com/blog/2012/10/capacity-building-and-sustainability-pt-2 Mon, 22 Oct 2012 06:27:00 GMT
Capacity Building and Sustainability pt. 1 https://www.tanyaowens.com/blog/2012/9/capacity-building-and-sustainability Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today.
Teach a man to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime.

-- Chinese Proverb

I am frequently asked by people, what exactly am I doing in China, and what work am I doing at Project HOPE. Succinctly in four words: Capacity Building and Sustainability. What does that mean? Simply, I am working with Project HOPE China, in the Shanghai office to help them achieve a major milestone and move to the next level in their learning delivery goals. Project HOPE China works using the Train-the-Trainer model. See, Project HOPE China, could simply bring in experts from the West to do complex surgical and medical procedures, or, and this is a better approach, Project HOPE can bring those same experts over to China to train the physicians and health professionals and these professionals can then pay it forward by teaching another set of professionals and it goes on and on until capacity is built.


However, Project HOPE doesn’t simply train a set of health care professionals and call it a day. They could and they would have accomplished a great deal. No, Project HOPE ensures that what they are doing is sustainable, so that it can stand on its own and prosper. As a Pfizer Global Health Fellow, I am here in China for a limited duration. I can work on a project that will be akin to feeding Project HOPE a fish, or I can build capacity, aka, teach them to fish so that when I leave, Project HOPE can continue to grow/develop that skill set and institutionalize the program; that my friend is sustainability.


How do I do that? It’s not as difficult as you think. As a Global Health Fellow (GHF), I bring my expertise as a learning professional to the table. As a consultant I connect with my customer to understand their business environment, business goals and objectives. I then collaborate with them to help them achieve their learning goals. In Project HOPE’s case, the team consists of professional trainers who are medical professionals.


What I am helping them do is expand their knowledge of the learning industry by teaching them adult learning principles, concepts and techniques to create greater interactivity in their training offerings that will enhance learning and increase knowledge transfer. I am also working with them to incorporate a Learning Management System (LMS). This will greatly assist them with reaching health care professionals in rural parts of China, as well as busy health care professionals who may not be able to take a block of time off to take training. Making on-line training available to these professionals will build capacity and improve patient care.

contact@tanyaowens.com (Tanya Owens Photography) Cancer Care Cervical China HOPE HPV Health Learning NCD NGO Owens Pfizer Professionals Project Shanghai Tanya Training WBT building capacity eLearning gynecologist hospital pathology https://www.tanyaowens.com/blog/2012/9/capacity-building-and-sustainability Fri, 28 Sep 2012 06:13:00 GMT
Pediatric Nutrition Review: the AFINS Research Project in Guangxi Province https://www.tanyaowens.com/blog/2012/9/pediatric-nutrition-review-the-afins-research-project-in-guangxi-province On Wednesday September 5, 2012, Jenny Xu and Tracy Huang from Project HOPE China, Tanya Owens from Pfizer Global Health Fellow (GHF), and several health care professionals from Shanghai and Nanxishan embarked on a four day trip to Guangxi Province.  Guangxi Province is in southwestern part of China bordering Vietnam. The purpose of our trip was to follow up on the Abbot Fund Institute of Nutrition Science (AFINS) pediatric nutrition program at two rural, mountainous, primary boarding schools. The students who attend these schools are very poor; many, if not all are from the Zhuang ethnic minority group that is prominent there. I was informed by Lily Hsu, Program Director at Project HOPE China’s Shanghai office, that when the program was implemented the children ate at most two meals a day and the meals typically consisted of beans and rice. The children were undernourished, even mal-nourished and their growth was stunted.  To combat this, the Chinese government committed to elevating the nutritional status of the children and committed to 3 RMB per child, per meal.  The combined team of health care professionals visited the schools to follow up on the nutritional progress of the students and to conduct follow-up training. To learn more about the program and the baseline of the children, read the AFINS Nutrition Investigation in Rural China report on the Project HOPE China website.


Tracy Huang and I flew from Shanghai to Nanning南宁, the prefecture level city in Guangxi Province桂. After arriving in Nanning, we met up with Jenny Xu, who went down earlier to conduct nutritional training in Nanning. We joined up with the healthcare professionals from the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region Nanxishan Hospital and drove three hours to Baise City百色 (longitude 104 ° 28'-107 ° 54 ', latitude 22 ° 51'-25 ° 07'). Baise City is historically known as the seat of an infamous communist uprising against the Ming Dynasty. Baise City has numerous construction projects going on with sky scrapers competing with the surrounding mountains.


View of Baise City from the Baise Memorial Hall Museum 


   Tanya Owens in front of the Museum

After touring the Baise Memorial Hall Museum  we drove five hours along the mountain roads to Leye County乐业县. Leye County is administered by Baise City; the area is northeast of Baise City. The route we drove is mountainous, fertile, rural, and has numerous terraced farms, valleys, streams, rivers, caves, villages, and small towns.

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Leye County city is in a valley that is 2km x 1km surrounded by steep mountains. We quickly checked into the hotel and attended dinner at the home of the lead volunteer Luo, whose three story home is towards the top of a steep road that was leading up towards one of the mountains. The town, albeit not too large, has numerous new concrete homes and quite a bit of new home and business construction projects. Once we arrived at Luo’s home we ate dinner out on the deck outside of the kitchen. We learned that the large pile of dried corn on the deck was for the pigs on the farm behind the home.

Pediatric Nutrition Review: the AFINS Research Project in Guangxi Province – Day Two
The second day of our trip, September 6, 2012, started out very misty with fog shrouding the mountains. We left the hotel in Leye County and traveled through Lousha Town, whose main road was under construction. Many people in the rural areas, small cities, and towns in Guangxi Province have never seen a foreigner, especially one with brown skin. I have seen many startled expressions as we traveled along the road.

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Once we turned off the main road, all of the roads going forward were dirt roads. We travelled along the primitive mountainous roads to Quanda Primary Boarding School. The ages of the children at the school are from pre-school to about 11 years old. The students live at the school during the week because it is too far to travel from their homes and villages each day.  The school was only 20 km from our hotel, however, due to the conditions of the roads it took us two hours to drive there.

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The school’s compound was not very large. Nestled almost at the top of the mountain, the compound consisted of three buildings: The main building was two stories and it contained the classrooms on one side and the dormitories on the other side; the kitchen with the staff quarters upstairs, and the bathroom, which had no running water.


We were able to observe the children having lunch. Good news, the children’s meals have improved. They were served rice, pork with vegetables, and vegetable soup all in one bowl.  Unfortunately, the children do not have a formal cafeteria and the kitchen facilities are primitive. The children had to line up outside in front of the kitchen with their metal bowels, where a makeshift serving station was set up. The children were served from the youngest to the oldest.

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Once their bowls were filled, they scrambled around the yard looking for a place to sit to eat their meal. The smallest of the children struggled with their hot bowls, but they did not complain, they happily enjoyed their meals. After lunch Project HOPE presented the children with school supplies. Forty of the top performers received backpacks with supplies in them, and the rest of the children received gift bags full of school supplies. We then presented the sports instructor with balls, rackets, and jump ropes. After photos the children rushed to their dorms and classrooms to open their gifts.

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After the brief speeches and gift presentation, Xie from the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region Nanxishan Hospital conducted a 45 min training for the older children ages 10 - 13. He discussed proper nutrition and eating habits and encouraged the children to make healthy eating choices and to minimize junk food intake. During this time Jenny Xu and the other health care providers met with the school administration and teachers to discuss the program’s progress.


Once the presentation was over, we, along with the local volunteers, travelled a short way down the mountain to one of the local farmer’s homes. His home was in the traditional style with the pagoda style roof, free range chickens and roster, honey bin and walnut trees. This farmer sold walnuts. During our lunch at the school, we were able to enjoy fresh walnuts and honey, which came from this farmer’s farm.

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After a short visit we travelled the rest of the way down through the mountains where we had a farewell dinner for the local volunteers and the farmer at the only restaurant in Lousha Town, which was situated on the main road. The food was fresh and tasty; we were even presented with the local delicacy, fried grubs, which I refrained from trying.

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Unfortunately, my western tummy did not process the food from the school and Lousha town well. I spent a very fitful and sick evening at the hotel that evening.


Pediatric Nutrition Review: the AFINS Research Project in Guangxi Province – Day Three

The morning of day three, September 7, 2012, we said good-bye to Leye County city and traveled the short distance to the Huayan Primary Boarding School. Because I was ill the evening before I refrained from eating breakfast at a local restaurant in a neighboring town before we reached the school. I also refrained from eating lunch at the school and dinner in the village. The trek to the Huayan School was shorter and only took us an hour to travel over the mountainous dirt roads. The Huayan School is situated at the top of the mountain; however it was not as cool there as it was at the Quanda School.


The facilities at the Huayan School were more basic than the facilities at the Quanda School. The compound had three buildings: the main building, which housed the classrooms, a separate building that held the dorms and directly behind the dorms the kitchen. This school did not have a bathroom; everyone had to go into the woods behind the main school building to relieve themselves. As you can imagine with the number of students and staff at the school this leads to very unsanitary conditions. Thankfully, we observed two constructions projects at the school: the construction of a new building for the kitchen and directly behind the classrooms and adjacent to the dorms, a bathroom.

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Because it was Friday, it was a short day for the children and we did not observe them eating lunch. However, we did have the opportunity to observe a literature lesson. It was remarkable. The children scrambled to their classes and suddenly we heard this sing-song as the children were reading out loud from their literature books. It immediately reminded me of the style of reading I have observed from the Hebrew Cantors. The older children had a very definite rhythm, however when I went to the younger classes, the first grade class, they were not quite in sync. I asked Tracy Huang, what the children were saying and she initially said, the children were not reading in Mandarin. Upon closer examination they were reading in Mandarin, however, their southern accent made it difficult for the Shanghai team to understand them.

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I also had the pleasure of observing one of the teachers teaching the children. This is one of the times I wish I did not have limited language skills and was conversant in Mandarin. I had so many questions I wanted to ask about the teaching style they used and the success rate they had with it. After that morning’s lessons, the children all lined up out in the yard, which incidentally had places cordoned off with construction material, for the Project HOPE presentation.


As we did at the Quanda School the day before, we presented the top 40 performers at the Huayan School with backpacks equipped with school supplies and the remainder of the children received gift bags. After the speeches and presentations the older children sat for Xie’s lesson on proper nutrition. After the lesson, the children gathered their gifts and sauntered off the mountain to their respective homes. I was amazed watching the tiny preschoolers with their gift bags walking up the steep dirt road towards their homes.  I wondered how long it took them to get home and how safe was it for them to walk along the narrow dirt roads along the mountain, with very little clearance and steep drops.

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After lunch at the school our party drove down the mountain, off the dirt roads and onto paved roads going away from Leye County to Bama / Hechi County to the village of Bapan, which has one of China’s longevity villages. Actually Bama / Hechi County boast many longevity villages with numerous centenarians.  Along the way to Bapan, we enjoyed the beautiful natural scenery, the terraced rice paddies, banana farms, tea farms, and lots of vegetation. We even enjoyed the odd ox here and there, a few pigs and once in a while a wayward colt that refused to be tamed. Aside from a small bird here and there, I did not observe any wild life along the mountain roads. We stopped to observe the large sink hole in Tiankeng in Dashiwei, part of the karst mountain formations. And after seven hours journey we arrived at Bapan Village during the evening. After dinner was served by a local family, we resided in the village hotel, which was in the traditional Chinese style, located on the top two floors of the building, the second floor was a residence.


Pediatric Nutrition Review: the AFINS Research Project in Guangxi Province – Day Four

Day four, September 8, 2012, the last day of our journey, I awoke a bit sore from the very firm mattress and quite famished.

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However, due to our journey, which consisted of several hours of driving, I refrained from eating as I did not want to risk getting sick. Thus, I subsisted on crackers, cookies, water, and on day four a couple of bananas I purchased at a village, when everyone stopped for breakfast.


Before we ventured out to breakfast we stopped at the home of Huang Puxin, who is 113 years old. The secret to longevity the Bama centenarian’s state: “organic food, good air, and water;” “a peaceful heart;” and “do[ing] good deeds, help[ing] others, be[ing] kind, hav[ing] confidence, and never giv[ing] up.”

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We had the opportunity to read a bit about his life and engage Huang Puxin. I chuckled when he patted my back and leg several times and then said something about me being mocha (at least it sounded like mocha) and then asked in his native language where I was from. They told him that I am American, from the United States. Huang Puxin was surprised and remarked that he didn’t know that there were mocha people in the U.S. At least I hope he said mocha. When I asked Tracy to translate what he said, everyone chuckled, but she did not provide a word for word translation, other than that he was surprised to learn I was American and thought I was from a different country, I presume an African country.

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After visiting with Huang Puxin, we drove to a nearby village and had breakfast.  I refrained from eating but did purchase a few bananas from the outdoor market and a Coke.

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We then traveled to the Leye-Fengshan Geopark, where we saw the Ming River and a large Karst Cave with stalagmites and crystal formations. After this last bit of sightseeing, we stopped along the roadside and purchased mangoes and then after a few hours of driving we stopped for lunch at a city outside of Baise. I was surprised when I heard clucking outside the restaurant and saw two chickens running around without their heads. Yes, they killed, plucked, and cooked the chickens right by the street for the restaurant where our group was eating. I drank water and ate my banana.  After lunch we settled in for the three – four hour drive to Nanning and our 2.5 hour flight back to Shanghai.


Altogether, the trip was a success. The team of healthcare professionals and local politicians were pleased with the progress the children were making. There is greater awareness about nutrition and the facilities are being improved. There is still more to be done. Project HOPE is partnering with Kraft foods, Lily Hsu informed me. Kraft will be helping to build a more sustainable system by donating Kraft kitchens and helping to build small farms at the schools to help further improve the children’s nutritional welfare. As we drove through Leye and Bama / Heche Counties we could see abundant farms and vibrant food markets, so there is plenty of food in the valleys and mountains. The continued efforts to educate, promote healthy eating, and build better facilities and small farms at the schools will ensure the children who are attending these mountain boarding schools will be well prepared to go on to secondary school.


Lousha Town Boarding School


Huayan Primary Boarding School Children Reciting Literature and a Walkthrough of a Dorm



contact@tanyaowens.com (Tanya Owens Photography) Afinis Baise China HOPE Leye Owens Pfizer Project Tanya boarding children food hunger minority mountains nutrition politicians poverty rural school https://www.tanyaowens.com/blog/2012/9/pediatric-nutrition-review-the-afins-research-project-in-guangxi-province Thu, 13 Sep 2012 05:22:00 GMT
Engaging Learning Programs https://www.tanyaowens.com/blog/2012/9/engaging-learning-programs Today, September 4, 2012, I had the opportunity to share with the staff at Project HOPE the principles of Adult Learning and how to make training more Active by incorporating sound instructional design principles such as Gagne’s Principle of Learning and ARCS motivation theory. During the training session I also gave a short primer on what is eLearning, how to create an eLearning course and how to convert your existing instructor-led training (ILT) into an eLearning course.

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Project HOPE China is being innovative as they move their on-ground training programs, which are costly to run, to on-line training programs, which has a huge upfront cost, but over the long term is not expensive to maintain and run. It is a great cost saving measure and will create a tremendous ability to reach more health care professionals and patients.

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During the training session we spent time discussing how the team could use interactive elements in their existing training programs and what they would need to do to prepare the Rural Training course materials for conversion to eLearning.  Kudos to the Project HOPE Shanghai team; I am glad that I am part of this next phase.


I finished up the training discussing QR Codes and their application for Project HOPE. That was a hit. I created a QR code for the Project HOPE China website and my website and had everyone test it; the team was excited to scan the code using their cellphones and an iPad. Immediately, they were able to access their website, see text messages and even business cards I created. I could see the wheels turning in their heads as they thought of ways to use this new tool in their training programs. Immediately Niki and Lisa began to use the QR codes in their literature for the Cervical Cancer and HPV awareness campaigns.



contact@tanyaowens.com (Tanya Owens Photography) Active China HOPE LMS Owens Pfizer Project Tanya Training WBT cancer care communication doctors eLearning health professionals https://www.tanyaowens.com/blog/2012/9/engaging-learning-programs Tue, 04 Sep 2012 05:53:00 GMT
Pediatric Nocturnal Enuresis Education Program and the Small Dolphin Summer Camp https://www.tanyaowens.com/blog/2012/8/pediatric-nocturnal-enuresis-education-program-and-the-small-dolphin-summer-camp  

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The Child Enuresis Awareness and Education Program was founded by the Project HOPE (PH) Shanghai office April 2010 at Shanghai Children’s Medical Center (SCMC). The overall goal of the program is to improve the treatment and education of children suffering with enuresis in China. This August, PH held the Bedwetting Parents Group Therapy class for caretakers and parents on August 15th and the Small Dolphins Summer Camp on August 19th for children suffering with enuresis.


Recruitment for the classes occurs when parents and caretakers attend outpatient clinics. Incidentally, Jenny Xu informed me that on any given day, there may be 5,000 patients that go through the outpatient clinics. Wow, that is a startling statistic. The parents’ group therapy class was well attended, with over 50 parents and caretakers in attendance. The session is co-taught by a pediatrician who specializes in endocrinology and urology and a social worker. These experts discuss the physical things that are occurring in a child’s body that results in the underdevelopment of the bladder and consequently bedwetting episodes, and the psychological aspects of dealing with the disorder from parental anguish to the child’s embarrassment. The physician explain to the parents techniques to train the child’s bladder and also pharmaceutical products that can be used, if various other techniques alone do not produce the proper results. Most importantly, the pediatrician explain that it is a biological / medical problem the child has and should not be a source of anguish as there are proven methods to help the child develop better bladder control and enlarge their bladder.


The Small Dolphins summer camp is targeted to children between the ages of 4.5 – 14 years old. This year was the third year the camp was run, and Project HOPE solicited an army of volunteers ranging from a leading SCMC pediatrician and a social worker who conducted the training along with Jenny Xu and Tracy Huang from Project HOPE Shanghai, 10 pediatricians, and additional volunteers; one pediatrician per child. Project HOPE planned for 10 children, all recruited from the Bedwetting Parents Group Therapy class. What Project HOPE did not anticipate was that 19 children would show up for the camp. No need to panic, the 10 pediatricians worked with two children instead of one, and the many volunteers doubled up as well.


Why one pediatrician per child? This camp is intended to not only teach the children what is happening to their bodies and why they are wetting the bed, it is also to train the children’s bladder and enlarge them. Throughout the day the children drink lots of water and their parents along with the pediatricians encourage them to hold their wee. Each child should be able to consume 10cc per kg of their body weight, states the printed literature PH hands out to the parents and children. During the camp the children drank 3 – 10 (330 ml) bottles of water.  When the child urinates, the urine is weighed and it is tracked on a chart on the wall for all to see. It doesn’t stop there, to make things interesting a healthy competition is created where the children compete against themselves to see how well they have progressed throughout the day and against the other campers. At the end, the children who have made significant progress receive prizes. At the end of the camp, all children receive a certificate.


During the camp, each child receives words of public praise from their parents or caretaker. This is very important, because many of these children may have only received criticism regarding their bedwetting. Why is this camp so important? Jenny Xu informed me that almost 50% of Chinese children suffer from bedwetting. This becomes quite significant in instances where children are in boarding schools and are sharing beds with other children. So, combatting this NCD is critical to childhood confidence and psychological development.


I had so much fun at this camp as I observed the children and parents receiving information about this NCD and watching the children having a fun time discussing their condition. They were in a space where they did not have to feel ashamed or hide their condition. Jenny and Tracy asked me to participate by teaching the children an English nursery rhyme that they could learn to sing. Since it was some time since I have actually worked at a summer camp and have sung a nursery rhyme, I reached out to my Pfizer Colleagues in the U.S. who have small children. These colleagues sent me some wonderful recommendations of songs to teach the children.

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If You’re Happy and You Know It 

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  The Hokey Pokey  

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Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star


The children learned: If You’re Happy and You Know it, The Hokey Pokey, and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. When I gave the description of the Twinkle Twinkle Little Star song, one brave little girl burst out and started singing the song in Chinese, before I could finish. I was so impressed I gave her the microphone and said I don’t need to teach this song. But Jenny encouraged me to teach them as they did not know the song in English. Towards the end of the camp a group of little boys aged 8 – 10 approached me. One boy exclaimed something to me in Chinese that sounded like a compliment. I looked over to Tracy and said, “What did he say?” Tracy told me that he said I was beautiful. I then responded by kissing the boy on his cheek. All of little boys cheered and ran away. I giggled; in all cultures little boys behave exactly the same.



contact@tanyaowens.com (Tanya Owens Photography) China SCMC Shanghai bedwetting camp children pediatric https://www.tanyaowens.com/blog/2012/8/pediatric-nocturnal-enuresis-education-program-and-the-small-dolphin-summer-camp Fri, 24 Aug 2012 05:21:00 GMT
Whirlwind https://www.tanyaowens.com/blog/2012/8/whirlwind August has been a whirlwind of activity. I started my Pfizer Global Health Fellowship with Project HOPE in Shanghai, China on August 1, 2012. The week started with introductions and learning about the mission, goals, and focus of Project HOPE China; the Shanghai staff discussed their programs, each program’s impact and their excitement to have me onboard to determine the learning strategy to convert their on-ground training programs into on-line training targeting: the Rural Training Program, Women’s Health-Cervical Cancer Education Program, and Pediatric NCDs (non-communicable disease), specifically Ventilation Management.

Lisa, Niki, Amy, Jenny, Gu, Connie, Tanya, Sophy07-31-2012_SCMC_lunch

Lisa, Niki, Amy, Jenny, Gu, Connie, Tanya, Sophy 

I spent the first week of my fellowship immersing myself in the programs and eating lunch at the SCMC (Shanghai Children Medical Center) cafeteria with the various health professionals. I quickly learned that pork is a staple as each dish I had daily would typically include three variations of a pork dish, a vegetable, and rice. This was a culture shift for me as I typically do not eat pork, and when I do it may be a few times a year. I learned that everyone really does eat with chopsticks in China, and no they do not provide napkins, you must bring them yourself. I also learned that eating with one’s fingers is not taboo, and though I was a bit awkward with the chopsticks my Project HOPE hosts were forgiving and I am getting the hang of things.


There are five full time staff members in the Project HOPE office in PuDong with two interns and a part-time office manager in PuXi, which is across the river, considered the Old Shanghai. I felt instantly welcomed in this all female office as Jenny Xu, the head of the Pediatric Nutrition program provided me with a “white coat” so that I could blend in with the other health care professionals at the hospital.


After meeting with Lily Hsu, the Program Director at the Shanghai office and my direct manager during the fellowship, my second week at Project HOPE, I quickly began work on my main goal, developing the eLearning strategy and securing an LMS (learning management system) and my three action items for August: GCP Training, Active Training and Interactive Training Train the Trainer session for Project HOPE staff, and an overview of the Pfizer Global Health Fellow Program.


Original Business Requirements Document


Revised Business Requirements sent to IT Vendor                                                

Working with Tracy Huang, I compiled a list of business requirements that we both revised to reflect Project HOPE’s needs and a mock-up of what the LMS’ graphical user interface (GUI) and basic functionality along with a mock-up of an eLearning course template. Tracy has communicated with a vendor who provides a hosted LMS service and develops eLearning courses. If the vendor meets all of our business requirements at a cost that is optimal for Project HOPE we will go forward with them.


Original LMS Mock-up    


   Revised LMS Mock-up sent to IT Vendor

I am both excited and nervous about this process. Typically it takes several months and even over a year to secure a LMS and it is a multi-year process to move from on-ground (ILT) training to on-line (eLearning). Also, developing an eLearning course follows the same process as software development and typically takes 3 – 12 months to develop a course or a series of courses depending on the level of complexity. Given the type of training that Project HOPE is seeking to move on-line, it will more than likely take longer to develop the courses. However, I am looking into some rapid design strategies especially with the fact that they have stable content and some content that is already in video format. Therefore, what needs to happen to create the courses is good instructional design to convert the training from an ILT to eLearning format, some graphic design, and solid multi-media course development. Working with the right vendor who has a solid track record for results and rapid development will land Project HOPE in the right place. However, we are still at the beginning of this process and we are cognizant of the target date of late October to have the LMS up and running with at least one show case course.


As for the GCP course, we have sent a list of questions clarifying the request to SCMC. As soon as we have a clearer understanding of the expectations I will continue working with my contact at Pfizer China to secure a resource that can come over and conduct a GCP clinic for the SCMC staff; next week I will share my impressions from attending a few of the training events and methods to build in greater interactivity and make the training sessions more Active. I will also discuss Pfizer’s global imperatives and how the GHF program fits into them and how it thus benefits Project HOPE and their key stakeholders.


contact@tanyaowens.com (Tanya Owens Photography) China Fellowship Global HOPE Health Pfizer Project https://www.tanyaowens.com/blog/2012/8/whirlwind Fri, 24 Aug 2012 04:23:00 GMT
I Climbed Three Mountains https://www.tanyaowens.com/blog/2012/8/i-climbed-three-mountains

I Climbed Three Mountains, those four words alone seem outlandish, but that is exactly what I did when I traveled to Enshi, in Hubei Province China, August 16th – 18th, I climbed three mountains. I didn’t mean to climb three mountains. Honestly, I thought I was going to look at a canyon that was as majestic as the Grand Canyon in Colorado -- that should’ve been my first indication that something was askew here; the Grand Canyon is in Arizona.

Mufu Mountains, Tour Guide & Shuping Gu, Seller
Enshi (9 of 15) Enshi (6 of 15) Enshi (8 of 11) Enshi (1 of 11) Enshi (11 of 11) Enshi (3 of 11)


Aside from the sheer insanity of climbing three mountains, in August, in extreme heat, and completely, utterly unprepared for that type of a trek, I learned something valuable from the experience that translates well with my global health fellowship. Ask questions. Ask clarifying questions. Ask detailed questions. Ensure that everyone has a common understanding when you have completely finished asking questions, because something invariably will get lost in the translation.

Tanya Owens, ShuPing Gu, Tour Guide
恩施 038 恩施 047 恩施 025 恩施 065 恩施 064

The trek also made me think about the situation the Chinese women are encountering in the far reaches of Hubei province in which the city of Enshi sits and the five mountains in the Mufu mountain range, of which three I climbed on Friday August 17th. The necessity to ask questions to ensure that women and physicians have a common understanding is critical, especially to removing barriers that will culminate in the reduction, if not eradication of cervical cancer among Chinese women. Notwithstanding, the Mufu Mountains (Mùfù Shān幕阜山) aka the Enshi Grand Canyon (ēnshī Dàxiágǔ 恩施大峡谷), are beautiful as is the view of the lush green valleys, the river and partial view of the canyon, all of which I would’ve enjoyed more if I was prepared for the trek.


That’s the key, being prepared for the trek, the journey, and that is what Project HOPE endeavors to do, to Build the Capacity of Community Health Providers. And that was the charge for the weekend in Enshi where over 80 health care professionals, mostly gynecologists and pathologists gathered to learn the latest techniques in preventing, diagnosing and treating cervical cancer during the Women’s Health-Cervical Cancer Prevention Program Training.

照片 658 Tanya and Niki 照片 672 Opening Remarks 照片 688 ShuPing Gu 照片 732 Pathologist Training

It so happens that this section of Hubei has the highest incidence of cervical cancer in Hubei and is second highest in all of China, per data collected by Project HOPE. The data on the Ministry of Health (MoH) website has data for the entire province. The MoH calculates the prevalence of cancer per 100,000 women. The Provinces with the highest incidence of Cervical Cancer, according to data collected in 2011 are Qinghai 47.7, Xinjang 38, and Shanxi 35.1. Hubei’s province rate is 16.9. Enshi’s population is ~3.6 million, this makes it a small city in China. To put this in perspective, the population of Tibet is just over 3 million. Tibet has the second highest rate of Condyloma Prevalence at 220.7, however the incidence rate of cervical cancer is only 11.3.


With China’s incidence rate of cervical cancer being six times higher than the rate in the rest of the world, early diagnosis and treatment is critical. This is where Project HOPE comes in, in partnership with BD, Project HOPE has launched a three year training, awareness, and screening campaign which should stem the tide and turn those statistics around.


The outcome of the Cervical Cancer Prevention Program is, through a series of training and education activities, to enhance health care professionals’ capacity, improve women's awareness, and promote a combination of social concern, thereby ultimately reducing the morbidity and mortality of cervical cancer in Chinese women.


So, where do I come in? The key words are “build capacity” and that is what I will be working with Project HOPE in Shanghai to do. We are currently working on the business requirements to secure a hosted Learning Management System (LMS), which will enable Project HOPE to make eLearning courses available for health care providers. This is critical for building and enhancing the skills of health care providers in rural communities. I attended the training to obtain a firsthand understanding of the complexity of reaching health care providers that are not located in the major urban centers such as Shanghai and Beijing and to experience part of the training class so we can focus on how to translate the instructor led training into eLearning courses. Although I will not be climbing three mountains anytime soon, at least not without being prepared, so too is the expectation with the cervical cancer prevention training program, in that the diagnosis and prevention of cervical cancer among Chinese women will no longer be an uphill battle. With adequate skills and resources cervical cancer can be prevented, and if it is diagnosed, the intent is that diagnosis will occur when the cancer is in Phase 0, where the cure rate is 100%.



contact@tanyaowens.com (Tanya Owens Photography) China Enshi Hubei Yangtze canyon chinese climb mountain mountains river steps https://www.tanyaowens.com/blog/2012/8/i-climbed-three-mountains Wed, 22 Aug 2012 08:29:00 GMT
Amped and Ready to Go https://www.tanyaowens.com/blog/2012/7/amped-and-ready-to-go It is Tuesday, July 31st 1:35 pm CST (Beijing Time) and today is my unofficial first day as a 2012 Pfizer Global Health Fellow. Wow, I have been in Shanghai now since July 18th, but I have not yet recovered from jet lag. Working both a Shanghai day and a East Coast U.S. day is taking its toll on my sleep deprived body, however, the kinetic energy coupled with the sheer overwhelming responsibility of helping Project HOPE achieve their on-line learning goals has me amped and I couldn’t sleep if I wanted to.


I checked out of the Renaissance PuDong Hotel at 10am and traveled by van over to the Shanghai Children’s Medical Center Guest House. The ride over was pleasant and I was slightly embarrassed by my two large and over packed black suitcases along with my laptop bag and a small black carryon bag. My host Gu was wondering what I had packed. All of the comforts that make me feel at home, coupled with clothing that will help me transition from the hot and steamy Shanghai summer to the cool autumn and early winter when I return home to Rhode Island November 15th.


When it came to food, I have played it safe. My first day in the office at the China Research and Development Center (CRDC) my Pfizer hosts took me to lunch at the Herbal Legend, which incidentally was quite good, even if the Arrowood Iced Tea tasted surprisingly like sweet corn. I, however, have been reluctant to venture out to a restaurant on my own and thus ate my other meals at the hotel, sampling some of the Asian fare that was distinctly Asian, yet tailored to a western palate. I decided to wait until my fellowship started to venture out to restaurants with my Chinese hosts translating the items on the menu so that I would not be surprised by what appeared on my plate.


Well, today, as I was introduced by Gu to the office staff, Jenny and the fellow Project HOPE colleagues, I was whisked over to the cafeteria for lunch at 11:30 am, where everyone was excited that it was cold noodle day. The cafeteria was for the hospital staff and was thriving with doctors and nurses enjoying their meals. There were two types of meat with the noodles, shrimp or egg and pork. I chose the shrimp, though it was a bit different to have my shrimp looking at me in a full exoskeleton. Since I had just had a rather large breakfast at 9am, I did not eat much, just enough to sample the noodles with the peanut sauce and to enjoy the cabbage and carrot soup.


After the lunch I had a good conversation with Jenny, who is the nutritionist, about Project HOPE China’s plans and expectations to move their instructor-led training (ILT) to an online format. And easy enough task if you have the right infrastructure in place to sustain it. My challenge is to understand the IT environment that Project HOPE has and then to snag an expert in China who can make Project HOPE China ready for all that is involved with managing on-line training. My expertise lies in translating ILT into web-based training (WBT) where the client already has a LMS (learning management system) in place and an IT infrastructure to sustain it. I am moving into new territory here, however, I am up for the challenge.


Tomorrow, August 1st, is my official first day at the Project HOPE. I hope that I am not too excited to sleep. I will need my rest as I begin this exciting new adventure in my life.

contact@tanyaowens.com (Tanya Owens Photography) China HOPE Owens Pfizer Project Shanghai Tanya https://www.tanyaowens.com/blog/2012/7/amped-and-ready-to-go Tue, 31 Jul 2012 07:20:00 GMT