September 9, 2012
I was a volunteer with the CFHI Rural/Urban Himalayan program in Uttarkhand, India in August 2012. There were three students involved in the program at the time and we spent four weeks living in a variety of settings and experiencing the different modes of health care delivery in each place. Overall, the experience was fantastic from a cultural and public health perspective. Health care and the large-scale challenges in health infrastructure in India were very different from my home country, Canada. I gained a much better understanding of the crucial role that social and environmental determinants play in health. Clinically, the placement did not offer many learning opportunities directly related to clinical, patient management on an individual level. However, I went into the program expecting that to be the case and I am already a medical student in Canada so I know I will get that clinical experience at home. Most importantly, I never felt as though my position as a foreign student was ethically questionable or exploitive. I was particularly welcomed by the staff at the Landour Community Hospital in Mussoorie, and I plan to go back some day and spend more time there. It was a Christian hospital, which may not be appealing to all students, so be aware of that when you sign up for the rotation. I never felt pushed to join in with religious services etc. Logistically, the program coordinators did a good job. We never had any transport issues and the home stay was very comfortable. Overall, I would recommend this program to medical or public health students, with the caveat that it is not a hands-on clinical experience.
Would you volunteer for this group again?
For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?
Did the organization use your time wisely?
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When was your last experience with this nonprofit?