In order to showcase the accomplishments of our Fellows, we have created a SIHF 2016 Impact Report. While it is impossible to capture the scope of the contributions that were made this summer in just a few short pages, we hope this report helps to highlight the ways in which our Fellows have left an undeniable mark on our sites around the world.
Are you interested in learning more about the medical field, hoping to gain volunteer experience, or simply seeking a way to give back while exploring the world? If so, look no further. Here are five great reasons you should start planning your FIMRC volunteer trip today!
None of us here at HQ can believe how quickly the summer has come and gone! At the beginning of the summer, we introduced several of our interns, including three HQ interns. We cannot begin to describe how grateful we are for their hard work and dedication throughout their time at FIMRC. No matter the task (and yes, there were some boring tasks), they had a smile on their face and were determined to perfect the project with which they were tasked. But instead of telling you about their experience, we wanted you to hear it from their own perspectives.
My service to FIMRC was originally 1 month, but turned into 6. I wanted to actually PRODUCE something tangible and make an impact. Every assignment in my life before that was theory based papers. I created a 6 week teen pregnancy prevention program with the help of Dr. Stedem and Tatiana. I ran the program with 2 different groups. This was a profound experience and I ended up staying in Costa Rica until May 2015 teaching English. I learned to speak Spanish fluently and found my calling, physical therapy, while I was down there.
Patrick Kelly, an undergraduate student at Temple University, participated in the Summer International Health Fellowship (SIHF) in July of 2016. During his time in Huancayo, Peru, Patrick worked with several other Fellows on a project aimed at helping teenage mothers improve their self-esteem and creating projects that could help them gain an income. He reflected on his time with the teen moms, explaining how they were able to begin achieving FIMRC's goals.
"Project Bumwalukani has truly been an adventure I will never forget. From testing patients for malaria to rafting on the Nile, my two months here were filled with experiences I couldn’t get anywhere else." Matt O'Keafe volunteered during the SIHF Sessions I and II, and wrote this piece reflecting on his experience.
Although there currently are no volunteers at Project Las Delicias, the FIMRC mission is alive and well! As time at Project Las Delicias has passed, Dra. Tania began noticing a change that was needed; with the help of FIMRC staff and volunteers, she has begun to implement programs that center around teenagers. Two programs in particular that were started earlier this year are the Parenthood Planning Program and the Empowering Teens Program.
According to UNICEF, 2.5 billion people lack hygienic sanitation facilities and 768 million people drink unsafe drinking water; of these people, women and girls are disproportionately burdened by poor sanitation and water inequities. These statistics are what motivate Jasmine to pursue work in the fields of social justice and health equity and what makes her passionate about the success of her social impact start up Wish for WASH. Ultimately, Jasmine seeks to utilize design to advocate for universal health.
We get a LOT of questions from both volunteers and their parents about the safety aspect of travel, project sites, and excursions that volunteers experience while with FIMRC. Even knowing our commitment to safety, sometimes the only thing that can help that worried feeling is a first hand testimonial. We decided to share the perspective of Kamsela, a parent of a recent volunteer, on how FIMRC handled safety for her son during his FIMRC experience.
By the end of SIHF 2016, our Fellows will have logged 24,480 hours of service. WOW! We are so impressed by the dedication we see each and every day. But it's not work 100% of the time...our Fellows know how to have fun too! When the weekend rolls around, you will find FIMRC Fellows hiking glaciers, scuba diving, taking safaris, and in general, making the most of every second of SIHF 2016! Thank you to all Fellows who submitted photos of their summer adventures - check them out below.
FIMRC's Summer International Health Fellows have the opportunity to develop lasting relationships with community members and to contribute to innovative health improvement programs. Not only do Fellows assist with daily clinical operations, they are also instrumental in driving forward our public health initiatives. With only two weeks remaining of this year's fellowship, we couldn't be more proud of all that our Fellows have accomplished.
Each year, FIMRC recognizes chapters from across the globe for their outstanding efforts and contributions to our organization. The chapters of FIMRC are one of the most important aspects to fulfilling our mission, and we are incredibly grateful for everything they do.
This past February, Claire Koepke volunteered at Project Alajuelita, Costa Rica. Claire's unique skill set proved incredibly useful when she was able to lead a Yoga lesson at our clinic. Below is an excerpt from her blog about the experience!
Food is one of the perks of volunteering abroad, and we now have opened a new site with new dishes to try! Nutrition is a key area in which we focus for many of our project sites, and you can learn about the communities through their food. Our FOM Rachel Good and volunteers Olivia & Jessica share a taste of Anconcito, Ecuador.
From rotating through FIMRC clinics, government hospitals, and rural health posts to hosting mobile clinics and health screenings, our Fellows have taken advantage of every opportunity to receive valuable clinical exposure and to learn about the local health systems. Below we've included a few snippets about the clinical experience our Fellows have received, the skills they've learned, and how they've put those skills to great use!
On June 4, staff in six countries welcomed 75 students from 40 universities across the globe. Now in its seventh year, FIMRC's Summer International Health Fellowship offers participants the chance to truly immerse themselves in a new culture and community. Fellows spend one month (or two!) in the clinical setting as well as in the community offering a blend of both medical exposure and public health experience.
A little bit of humor and humility are definitely an important component to the Summer International Health Fellowship. But don't take our word for it - hear how Daniel sums up his experience last summer in Nicaragua in our latest blog post.