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August 18, 2011
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August 18, 2011
1 person found this review helpful

I did the 4 week program "Urban and Rural Health" in both Quito and Chone, Ecuador. This was one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life. My Spanish increased tremendously from the classes and host family, I fully experienced and gained an appreciation for the healthcare system in Ecuador, and I fell in love with the Country and its people.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

my ability to speak Spanish back in the States, as well as my appreciation for rural healthcare

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I cannot think of any changes I would make. I have a wonderful time...

August 2, 2011

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August 2, 2011

My program was called Andean Health and was based in the Capital city of Quito. It gave me the fantastic opportunity to learn Spanish and understand culture. There's also a lot of support when you go from the two local coordinators. They remain open and willing to help you out in any situation and encourage you to get out and experience the culture. They try really hard to keep you safe by warning you of the right places to eat and how you can protect your stuff. I ran into absolutely no trouble because I laid relatively low and didn't carry anything valuable with me. This includes those expensive hiking backpacks. The only problem that I could've encountered during this trip was someone opened my backpack while I was walking around the city. But, since I had nothing of value, they left me completely alone. There was more than ample warning about carrying backpacks around the city.

The best part of my experience was learning about the culture. I got a lot from exploring the city and even more by spending time with my family! They taught me how to make bread, as well as ice cream. And, the way they worked as a family of 13 under one roof was absolutely amazing!!!! It gave me a greater respect for their culture and cultures in general.

I went as a nursing student. Much of the clinical experience was mainly observation, but if you got into the program that went to Chone, you got as much clinical experience as you were comfortable with! The doctors sometimes allow you to perform check-ups along side them and even quiz you! Not only did this experience teach me a lot more about the nature of medicine, but it also taught me a great deal about how life can play out. In the case of Ecuador, time is something that is very precious. A doctor can have anywhere from 3-4 patients a day to more than 20 patients all within the same time limits. So, there must always be a careful balance between giving your patient the time they need to fully explain their situation and being able to give all of your patients the help that they need. But, not only did this give me a new perspective on how things run in clinics and hospitals, but it also gave me my first real life experience within a clinical and hospital setting. It was great to see how doctors, interns, nurses, and other healthcare workers work together to achieve the common goal of helping a person to get better, as well as the interesting experience of seeing my first procedure and surgery. It really gave me the sense of not only the fragility of human life, but also the strength that one mere person can have into response to a travesty, such as the death of their unborn child, or the courage one can have in the face of pain.

My Spanish capabilities also skyrocketed! I went there with almost no spanish and by the end, I was chattering away with my family almost everyday! I think it was mostly cause I spent the majority of my time with my family.

I was amazed at all the things I got to experience in my program. It opened my eyes to a lot of things many U.S. citizens avoid and ignore here. What kind of effects poverty can have and how religion and culture can impact a person's life.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

my understanding with the Ecuadorian culture and the increase of my knowledge of different healthcare systems. It also greatly improved my Spanish from where it was.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

not really change anything. The meetings seemed as though they weren't very important, but we still had some very meaningful discussions about teenage pregnancy. Many people also wanted to focus more on medical Spanish, especially since those that had more advanced language capabilities. Our basic class, however, had a dental student teaching us English, so we got a lot more experience with the medical terms than more classes.

July 12, 2011

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July 12, 2011

my program was in Ecuador in the Urban & Rural Comparative Health program in the capital city of Quito and rural town of Chone for one month in total. What was so great about the program was that you are totally immersed in Ecuadorian culture. All the coordinators and doctors that help organize the students are local. This way you don't feel like a tourist taking a guided tour. I felt welcomed by the Ecuadorian coordinators, doctors, and the locals. I've heard doctors criticize programs that insert American doctors in foreign countries where they perform high-tech surgeries, procedures, medical treatments, etc. I was glad to see that CFHI did not take this approach. The program is purely a learning program for students who want to expand experiences and knowledge of global healthcare, especially in underserved areas. The program is structured such that medical rotations are 4hrs in the morning followed by 3-4hrs of Spanish class in the afternoon. Spanish class can be very helpful depending on your Spanish level.

During the first week I observed pediatrics in a clinic serving a poor area. We participated in a vaccination campaign and walked through a barrio in Quito knocking on doors and inquiring as to the vaccination status of children.

The second week in Quito was at the Military Hospital where I saw many different surgeries including more advanced laparoscopic procedures. I particulary enjoyed this week as I was able to follow a surgeon through clinical visits, rounds, and surgery. The military hospital is always busy with a lot going on.

The last 2 weeks were spent in rural Chone. The first thing I noticed stepping off the bus was the heat and humidity. But these things were more than made up for by the amiable host family. The hospital Davila Cordova in Chone lacks AC in many rooms but is a place with a lot to do and a lot to learn from. We spent our days in the departments of Surgery, Neonatal, Deliveries, Emergency, Pediatrics. The doctors and nurses are very nice and there is a small town environment where it seems that everyone is friendly. I scrubbed in on several surgeries and the doctors are more than willing to let you assist based on your skill level. All were willing to answer questions and talk with me. Overall Chone was a great experience. Here there were rarer diseases such as malaria and Dengue.

The CFHI experence was unforgettable. We had our weekends free to make trips and I had a great time with the other CFHI students. I highly recommend this program. The higher your medical education level and Spanish ability the more you will get out of this program, but regardless your level you will learn a lot.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Urban and Rural Comparative Health program in Quito and Chone Ecuador

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

make availible the option to spend more time in the hospital/clinic for those students who wish to have longer hours reach out to minorities and underepresented groups perhaps through scholarships.

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Some

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Okay

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

What one change could this group make that would improve your volunteer experience?

have the option of spending more time in the hospitals/clinics with more specific tasks that we could do.

Did your volunteer experience have an effect on you? (teaching you a new skill, or introducing new friends, etc.)

I met new friends, and it taught me a lot about surgery, emergency, and healthcare in Ecuador.

How did this volunteer experience make you feel?

It made me feel the need for advances in healthcare around the world.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

June 21, 2011
1 person found this review helpful

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June 21, 2011
1 person found this review helpful

In April 2011, I participated in the four week program, entitled, “Doing More with Less, Healthcare in Remote Southern Bolivia,” specifically in the small and beautiful city of Tarija. The program exists through Child Family Health International, a leading nongovernmental organization which places health sciences students in global health education and community service programs in five different countries. Students participate in clinical rotations at general public health clinics throughout Tarija. The state of Tarija is unique in that it offers universal health insurance for all its inhabitants. In turn, this has created an enormous demand upon the health care system in the region which, sometimes, cannot be met because of the lack of health care personnel, monetary funds, and equipment. As students, we witnessed firsthand the difficulties many Bolivians have in accessing health care services in this region. In the recent decade or so, training opportunities for health care personnel in Bolivia have expanded dramatically with the founding of more private universities. The number of graduate level programs in medicine, nursing, and dentistry have doubled and there are larger numbers of providers available to serve the population. Within the past twenty years, the government of Bolivia has responded to the country’s dire health situation by passing several acts which allow local and regional governments to formulate social and economic development plans for health actions while funding would come from the national budget. In 1998, the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare designed the Bolivian Health System as a universal access system based on primary care and embracing gender and intercultural approaches. In Bolivia, current priorities include providing basic health care to more women and children, expanding immunizations, and dealing with the problems of diarrhea and tuberculosis which are leading causes of death amongst children. For the first two weeks of the rotation, we primarily worked in Villa Avaroa, a center for general public health facility located within the immediate outskirts of Tarija. Many of the women and children hailed from nearby rural communities and underserved areas of Tarija. It was pretty evident that much of the patient population comprised of the lower socio-economic groups of Tarija. The second half of the rotation involved primarily working in the Hospital of San Lorenzo, which is a smaller town or “pueblo” located approximately thirty minutes from Tarija. This hospital also served the locally underserved area of San Lorenzo and surrounding communities. We worked in the general public health care system which is funded by the government of Bolivia. Resources are limited. There is a well-developed system of free vaccinations for infants and children, but families have to seek these services. In both of the facilities, free vaccinations were offered for women and children. A high emphasis was placed on nutrition and many prescriptions were offered to patients for nutritional supplements and vitamin supplements. Nutritionists and nurses explained the significance of these supplements and value of a balanced diet and nutrition to the patients and their families. We observed these sessions and assisted in administration of the prescriptions as well as in nutritional education. The lack of sanitation and hygiene were prevalent among patients and their families as was evident by their clothes and body odor. We saw several infants and children with advanced dental caries and infections due to lack of basic dental hygiene. Many patients came from impoverished backgrounds and living conditions. Transportation from the rural countryside to larger cities for health care can be an issue for many residents of the “el campo” (the countryside). Residents of nearby countryside communities often make several trips to health care facilities in a given year, but those in the further rural areas cannot make it. There are small health care teams that will make monthly trips to various rural communities for the rendering of basic health care services. We participated in two of these trips to different communities in the rural areas, and it was a very unique to have this experience and I definitely learned a lot. These rural communities are quite far by driving distance and the team of health care providers included the physician, a nurse, the driver, and the medical students. I remember one day in which we saw seven children from one family, ages 14 to 3. They all had pediculosis and were suffering from the common cold. They lived in huddled conditions in a small, two room house in the hills of the countryside with an outhouse for a bathroom and very limited access to any city resources. NGOs and the churches play a significant role in health care delivery. While in Tarija, we had the opportunity to attend a large public health fair with booths from various dimensions of the health care system. There were representatives from public health programs involved with the prevention of infectious diseases (such as Chagas disease, TB, rabies, malaria, yellow fever, typhoid, etc), local schools, programs for the control of diabetes, herbal and traditional medicine groups, exercise and yoga groups, reproductive health and birth control education groups, programs for the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases, lactation groups, and many more. There were hundreds of people who attended the fair, from local students from colleges and high schools, health care professionals, military personnel, the general public, etc. The fair catered well to the needs of an entire community and was very well-organized with educational booths, demonstrations, posters, and speakers. I learned a lot and the well-designed and artistic, creative posters were very effective ways of communicating important points about the different health conditions and concerns that are prevalent in Southern Bolivian society. I also learned about the 24 hour “enfermeria” centers located sporadically in different parts of the cities, and these function as 24 hour “emergency rooms” staffed by nurses and provide basic services for immediate need ailments.
In Tarija and in other areas of Bolivia, much of specialty and sub-specialty medicine services rely upon the private sector, which cater mostly to the middle and upper classes. Larger numbers of lower socioeconomic groups seek specialty care in the secondary and tertiary level public health facilities. For this reason, there is an advantage to having a universal health care access system, one which provides basic services to all. The access, though, may not be as easy as access in the private sector. We also learned in depth about the different clinical pathologies that are prevalent in Southern Bolivia, such as Chagas disease, tuberculosis, and parasitosis. In the first two weeks of the program, there was a strong focus on Chagas disease, an infectious disease that is a major cause of death and disability in South America. We participated in prevention and epidemiological programs as well as clinical rotations where we observed the various manifestations and stages of Chagas infection. Bolivia, in the heart of South America, is home to the most indigenous population in the region and is the poorest country in South America. Proper nutrition is a huge problem in Bolivia and approximately a quarter of the country suffers from malnutrition. Statistics indicate that only about 20 percent of the rural populations have access to proper sanitation and safe drinking water. Bolivians living in rural areas lack proper sanitation and health services, rendering many helpless against potent diseases like malaria and Chagas disease. Major infectious diseases with high degrees of risk in the area include foodborne or waterborne diseases such as bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever; vector-borne diseases such as dengue fever, malaria, and yellow fever; and water-contact diseases such as leptospirosis. While delivering health care in the rural areas, we also saw many patient cases of parasitic diseases such as giardiasis, ascariasis, and strongyloidiasis. I will have to admit that there are some challenges to working in a foreign country, including an initial lack of understanding how the health care system works. Along with the language barriers at times, there is also, sometimes, a sense of frustration because one wants to do more to directly help the patients and their families, but there are so many obstacles due to economic and social reasons. There is only so much the health care providers in the public sector can do for their patients, and this was evident from what the physicians told us too. They had limited resources in hand to directly aid the patients. Through conversing with the physicians and nurses, we learned that things are not easy for them as they get paid minimally and jobs are not widely abundant for health care providers. Some were also caught up in very busy days with a constant stream of patients and only so much in terms of the amounts of medications they could provide because even pharmaceutical supplies are limited within the public sector. All in all, I learned a lot about the conditions of health care for the vast majority of people in Bolivia. Many people cannot afford to render the services of private practitioners and have to seek health care in the general public health system. The good thing about the universal health care system is that all individuals are able to access at least some form of basic health care, which is better than no access at all. I also learned a lot about the many prevalent health conditions in the area ranging from mosquito-borne infectious diseases, parasitoses, rabies, and heart conditions to uterine cancers, chronic manifestations of different diseases, and hepatitis. Along with developing my Spanish language skills and learning many new words and phrases in Spanish, I learned a lot through my cultural immersion experience in Bolivia through experiencing the customs, traditions, and food of the country. Staying with a host family also enlightened my rich learning experience in Tarija. I was able to ask them a lot of questions, and I learned a lot through conversing with them and with others throughout my stay in Bolivia.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Throughout my rotation, I learned a lot and I gained a deeper understanding of the challenges of health care for the underserved in Southern Bolivia. It was a fascinating and unique learning experience. This rotation integrated well the concepts of health care and community service.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I have given them feedback on minimal areas of improvement. For the most part, the organization is great and does a wonderful job of arranging rotations for students.

June 11, 2011

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June 11, 2011

I participated in the CFHI Reproductive Health program in Quito, Ecuador for 4 weeks during the month of May. Ecuador is a developing country in South America endemic to many tropical diseases rarely seen in the United States including Yellow Fever, Malaria, and Dengue Fever. The hospitals and clinics in this unique setting provided a rare glimpse into a healthcare system completely different from those of Northern America.

During my time in Quito I had the opportunity to rotate in three different hospitals/clinics. My favorite hospital was Maternidad Isidro Ayora, a public hospital for pregnant women and their babies. It was both interesting and devastating to witness the number of teenage pregnancies in this hospital, some as young as 13. I had the opportunity to shadow physicians for a wide range of obstetrics and gynecology visits including pelvic exams, ultrasounds, vaginal and cesarian section births, and well baby exams.

The most interesting rotation was in a traditional medicine clinic for the indigenous population called Jambi Huasi. I was able to follow one of the medicine women at the clinic for a diagnostico mediante el cuy in which a guinea pig or cuy is used as a diagnostic tool. The entire therapy is performed in Quichua as the healer rubs a guinea pig on the patient and then guts it to examine its anatomy. This was the most unique clinic in which I rotated in Ecuador and I enjoyed learning about traditional alternative therapies.

In addition to clinical rotations and spanish lessons I had multiple opportunities to travel and see the local culture. My experiences on these trips range from zip-lining in the rain forest to attending a La Liga soccer match to snorkeling in the Galapagos Islands. The CFHI local coordinator for my program was extremely helpful in arranging these trips.

This experience has reinforced my desire to travel and work in underserved communities in both the United States and internationally as a physician. I will never take for granted the abundant resources of North America after seeing doctors draw blood from patients without wearing gloves and labor and delivery rooms that are so overcrowded with patients that the families of the pregnant women are not allowed in to witness the birth of their children and grandchildren. This has truly been a life-altering experience for me. I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in international health care.

CFHI was organized and well-run. My medical and local coordinators were there for all of my questions/concerns. Highly recommended

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

furthering my understanding of health care systems in under-served communities and my desire to travel and work internationally as a physician.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

lower costs and/or provide more scholarship awards to make the program more affordable and accessible to students.

June 9, 2011

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June 9, 2011

I spent 2 months in Ecuador, 2 weeks in Quito and 6 weeks in Puyo, working in clinics, educating communities about dengue fever, surveying for mosquitoes who carry both dengue and malaria, traveling to schools for hearing tests and vaccinations, and interacting with the small communities within the jungle. It was very educational, I gained a greater understanding of prevalent medical conditions within these communities and how the medical system works within Ecuador, and learned about alternative, medicinal treatments using local plants.

Overall this was an incredible experience and I learned a tremendous amount. My one disappointment was that I did not work more with the Malaria Services, since tropical medicine is my passion. If I were to do it again, I would prefer to have spent much more time learning about infectious disease and its impact on these communities, than working in general medicine.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

my daily approach to patients. This was my second time visiting Ecuador during my medical training, but it left a much different impression on me now that I actually see patients on a daily basis. Not only am I able to communicate better with my patients, but I have a better sense, culturally of how to interact with them.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

make it cheaper to participate and offer larger scholarships. I think it is invaluable for everyone in the medical field to be competent in cultural awareness. You really can not provide quality care to a patient without understanding where they are coming from.

June 9, 2011

What textbooks and the Internet teach us regarding international rural and urban medicine is no replacement for real-world experience. My participation in CFHI’s Ecuador Program in April 2011 has forever changed my perception of how a healthcare system is supposed to work and how invaluable the system is to the citizens of Ecuador. I also observed the disparities of the urban-rural healthcare compared to those of my home country, USA, and immediately saw the challenges that they faced.

I feel very privileged to be able to work alongside these hardworking medical professionals and I was able to walk away feeling like I gained a lot of knowledge, wisdom and great passion to help the community whether within my area or abroad. Although my time in Ecuador was short, in the end, I was brought back to why I wanted to become a doctor. It is not about the money, nor the prestige or even the fascination I have about the living system, it is what I saw everyday with the doctors I shadowed; spending time with them and understanding their concerns, pain and suffering. I watched as spending mere minutes with them seemed to ease their pain and suffering, all this without any drugs. It would seem that the medical world forgets the humanity aspect in our profession but after completing this program it brings back the reason why I want to become a doctor.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

appreciating the type of healthcare system the USA has to offer. One extreme example is the drinking water...in the USA, we rarely had to worry about the diseases or illness the water would give us if we decide to drink directly from the sink (although strongly discouraged) but in Ecuador, the risks of parasites or any other type of diseases are ten-folds higher but because of poverty, they do not have any other choices.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

perhaps have more time in the jungle as our trip was only 3 days. I would like to see more of other Shaur community and learn more about their cultures.

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Quite well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

Did your volunteer experience have an effect on you? (teaching you a new skill, or introducing new friends, etc.)

I have made life-long friendships and have new appreciation on life.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

May 13, 2011

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May 13, 2011

I feel extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to spend one month in Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca with CFHI’s women’s reproductive health program. I knew I wanted to do an international rotation during my 4th year of medical school, but I didn’t have much time to plan one and wanted to make sure that whatever program I did was a well organized clinical experience with a reputable organization that is socially responsible and economically just, and I felt this program fit that description.

I had a lot of specific goals in mind when deciding to do this program in Oaxaca with CFHI. In 4 weeks, I feel I was able to meet all of my goals through this program. They included:
1) To broaden my knowledge about the Mexican public health system and the health-related strengths and challenges encountered in Oaxaca, especially pertaining to indigenous populations.
2) To gain clinical skills in women’s reproductive health, especially in rural and low-resource settings.
3) To increase my Spanish language proficiency in the clinical setting, with a particular emphasis on medical Spanish.

A typical day consisted of going to a “centro de salud”, a small community health clinic in a rural community near Puerto Escondido. Each week I would spend time in a different centro de salud with a different precepting doctpr. The clinics are very small, usually with about 2 exam rooms and a triage area with some boxes with files of medical records. Two doctors, 1 nurse and 1 clerical worker typical staff the clinics and they have a small pharmacy attached.

Everyday in clinic my precepting doctors and I saw a big variety of illnesses. The most common presentations involve pregnant women for prenatal care, reproductive health issues including STDs and especially HPV and cervical cancer; followed by the usual upper respiratory and pulmonary infections (including TB); gastroenteritis/diarrheal illnesses, chronic diseases like diabetes, hypertension and hyperlipidemia; injuries like lacerations and fractures. The precepting doctors were all very nice, and gave great feedback and supervision. It was such great practice to do so many histories and physical exams in Spanish. By my third week, I definitely felt that I could conduct a medical history in Spanish competently.

CFHI also set up wonderful supplemental private Spanish lessons that are tailored to review grammar, as well as focus on medical Spanish. In addition, a comfortable homestay was organized for me through CFHI, and worked out extremely well.

I am very grateful for the incredible learning experience I have had in Oaxaca, both in the clinical setting as well as in the daily life setting. Seeing first-hand how medicine is practiced here has given me valuable opportunities to reflect on my own clinical practice as well as my values in practicing medicine. Overall, I think the most valuable thing I am taking away from this month is a positive attitude and enthusiasm for meeting new people in a place as beautiful as Oaxaca.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

CFHI's strength lies in its organization and planning of high quality programs that help its participants meet their professional and personal goals.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Overall CFHI as an organization has done a wonderful job in making sure its program participants are taken care of.

April 15, 2011

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April 15, 2011

I am a 4th year medical student who will soon be starting my residency in family practice. Through out medical school I always wanted to work internationally as I hope to continue to reach out to countries in need of medical care. Child Family Health International (CFHI) allowed me to have this opportunity. I traveled to Quito and Puyo Ecuador for one month in February. I participated in the Amazon Community and Indigenous Health program.

The part I liked most about this program was the variety. I worked in a private clinic in Quito, a missionary hospital in Shell, government run clinics in rural communities, participated in Dengue control and even visited a jungle community. Each experience was unique and left a lasting impression. All of the physicians and nurses were wonderful to work with. Everyone was interested in teaching about the Ecuadorian health system. They were also interested in learning about health care in the US. It was fun and interesting to explain how being a 4th year medical student works in the US and how this compares to medical education in Ecuador.

I not only learned a great deal about health care in Ecuador, but was also directly immersed in the culture. CFHI allows participants to live with host families. This is vital to any international experience. I was able to eat the local food, experience culture and tradition and practice my Spanish on a daily basis. Also, during my first week in Ecuador I attended daily Spanish classes. This was a great opportunity to practice and improve conversational skills as well as medical vocabulary. CFHI structures their programs in a way that allows for opportunities to learn and explore.

My experience with CFHI is one that I will never forget. I would highly recommended this organization and program to anyone who is interested in learning about another culture as well as experiencing medical care in a different country.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Spending a month in Ecuador gave me a greater appreciation for health care in the United States. It allowed me to what other countries struggle with on a daily basis where we take these things for granted-clean water, good nutrition and general access to health care.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I would not make any changes to CFHI. It is a great organization with a great purpose and mission.

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Quite well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

February 28, 2011

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February 28, 2011

I spent one month in India doing the Urban/Rural Himalayan rotation through CFHI. It was an absolutely unbelievable experience that changed my life. I am a physician assistant student from Michigan, about to graduate and start my career. The month in India counted towards one of my clinical rotations, and was probably the one that I gained the most knowledge in. Not only did I learn about medicine and health care in an under served area of the world, but I learned about life and culture as well.

I was able to spend two weeks in DehraDun, India. Here I was able to really grasp the lifestyle of people in an urban setting. I worked in several different hospitals and clinics, and CFHI really was helpful in letting me get the most out of my experience as a future medical provider. I worked with such a variety of physicians, in a wide variety of settings. The ability to see the differences and similarities between India and the US was something that I really appreciated. Getting around in the city was a little overwhelming at first, but once we got the hang of taking the vikrams and rickshaws it was alot of fun. It only takes one time of getting completely lost to learn how to pay attention to where your stop is supposed to be. We stayed with a host family in Dehradun, which was amazing. Our family was so welcoming and friendly. They really made us feel like we were part of their family. Meals were prepared for us three times a day, which were all delicious and authentic. I really enjoyed my two weeks in the city.

We also got to spend two weeks in a rural setting in villages in the foothills of the himalayas. The scenery was some of the most beautiful that I've ever seen. The village of Patti was where we worked in a small clinic that was run by a doctor who practices ayurvedic medicine. Here we helped people in the local village, but also got to hike medicine to surrounding villages as well. That was my favorite part of my whole experience in India. It was nice to be able to help these people that usually would have to walk three hours or more on their own just to be seen for something as simple as heartburn or a skin infection. The hike was beautiful, and the whole experience was something that I will never be able to forget. Mussoorie was also a beautiful rural city that we worked in. We stayed at the missionary hospital and worked with several different doctors seeing patients in the clinic and also doing surgeries in the OR. The skills and knowledge I learned while working in those underserved, rural areas is something that will stick with me throughout my entire career as a physician assistant.

I couldn't have asked for a better experience than the one I had while in India. CFHI did an amazing job of organizing and accommodating my stay in India. I am so grateful that I got the opportunity and would recommend it to anyone interested in helping people and learning what health care is like in other countries.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

As a future physician assistant interested in working with the under served I will take with me everything I've learned about under served medicine in India. I know have groundwork for what rural health care is all about. Being able to utilize the resources that I have, in helping patients to the best of my abilities. Also, it will be nice to help patients get the access to the resources they need for proper treatment and care.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

The only criticism I have is that I wasn't able to do as much hands-on work as I would have liked. As a third year PA student, I would have liked to scrub in on surgeries and have more direct patient care, but I know it is difficult with the language barrier that existed.

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