Integrated Development Group Makes Meaningful Impact
Students at Pacific are making a difference in the lives of others every day. Some help feed and clothe the homeless, others volunteer at the local animal shelter, and others think a little bigger, like helping to build cardiovascular clinics on the other side of the world.
In Pacific’s Integrated Development Group, students have been working on more of the latter.
Founded in 2010, the Integrated Development Group (IDG) is a student-run, pro-bono consulting firm which “seeks to accelerate high-impact social entrepreneurs and enterprises through an interdisciplinary approach to problem solving,” according to its website.
The Pacifican spoke with IDG Managing Director Alayna Myrick about some of the important work students are doing with the organization.
“We normally do market analysis and marketing plans,” Myrick said. “We are open to RFPs (requests for proposal), like most businesses. So any non-profit or social entrepreneurship can apply for our services. We have anywhere between two and four projects each semester.”
Last year, IDG received a proposal from a Christian non-profit organization called Changing Lives Together. Headquartered in California but working out of Ghana, the organization was trying to determine the feasibility of building a cardiovascular clinic in the northern part of the African country.
“They reached out to us trying to find more information about making a business plan, feasibility plan, and marketing analysis,” Myrick said.
IDG decided to take on the task, so Changing Lives Together flew Myrick (who was then a Project Manager) and fellow IDG Project Manager Sally-Ann Ferguson ‘18 to Ghana in order to collect data for the project.
The students spent nine days of their winter break in Ghana, traveling from hospital to hospital to collect data on cardiovascular referrals. The students needed the data to create a demand schedule detailing the number of people who would potentially visit the clinic, allowing them to determine how big the clinic should be.
“Sally-Ann and I worked with the national director of Changing Lives Together,” Myrick said. “We would travel to different district hospitals, meet their board members, and speak with their accountants to try to figure out how many cardiovascular cases they see, meaning how many they diagnose, how many they are able to treat with the pharmaceutical resources they have on site, as well as how often they have to refer people down south.”
Myrick explained that there are only eight cardiovascular surgeons in all of Ghana, and only two hospitals capable of conducting cardiovascular surgeries on a large scale. Unfortunately, both of those hospitals are in the southern part of country, leaving cardiovascular patients in the north with few options.
“What we’re hoping to do is aid in creating a cardiovascular clinic in an area farther north, and we are actually looking to expand on an already-existing Methodist clinic that works there but doesn’t have a cardiovascular center,” Myrick said. “That way, people can actually have tests done, so they know if they need to travel the extra 100 miles down to Kumasi or Accra to have surgery, or if they need a prescription beyond aspirin.”
“My favorite part of the trip was seeing the people we were helping; the people who would be affected by the project once it is put into place,” Sally-Ann Ferguson said. “Driving those distances, we realized how far between the cardio facilities it really is. We were in a four-wheel car that could manage the roads, and saw that other people weren’t usually able to make the distances.”
Myrick began the Changing Lives Together project January 2016 as the Project Manager, then transferred that responsibility over to Ferguson when Myrick was promoted to Managing Director in May of 2016. Ferguson’s team of IDG analysts are currently working on the feasibility study to estimate the size and cost of the facility in Ghana.
IDG has worked with and provided services for a variety of local, national and international clients, including, Friends of Yimbo, Youth Uprising, and OASIS.
This semester, IDG is working on another project called Autism Awareness United.
“It’s an organization that is currently being created… We are doing some of the preliminary work to see how we can compare to other organizations that help with researching autism, or spread awareness about it,” IDG analyst Adi Iyer ‘18 said.
While IDG primarily receives support from the Eberhardt School of Business, students of all backgrounds are encouraged to apply to join IDG; the organization strives to get a 360-degree view on any problem.
“The thing that attracted me to IDG was the real-life application,” Ferguson said. “A lot of times, business classes are giving these case studies that there have already been solutions for, or it’s all theoretical, whereas this is getting experience writing a business plan and learning about the different stages.”
IDG Advisor Dr. Vusal Eminli echoed that sentiment, stating, “IDG provides students with an opportunity to get hands-on experience with real-world problems. It makes the material that they learn in class relevant to real world applications… It allows them to engage in the problems of the real world and be part of the solution.”
Myrick said that IDG provides students with transferable communication and writing skills; it also gives students the opportunity to have an impact across the globe. IDG provides training for new analysts at the beginning of each semester, as well as intermittently throughout the semester. Those interested in applying to join the organization are encouraged to do so at www.integrateddevelopmentgroup.org.
IDG’s final presentation banquet of the semester will be held on April 20 at 6pm in the Regent’s Dining Room. The free event will feature a full dinner and presentations on the work IDG analysts have been doing this semester. All students and faculty are encouraged to attend.
CORRECTION: The print version of this article incorrectly stated that Sally-Ann Ferguson took over as Project Manager of the Changing Lives Together project when Alayna Myrick was promoted to Managing Director at the start of the Spring 2018 semester. Ferguson actually took over as Project Manager after Myrick was named Managing Director in May of 2016.
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