We have begun our crazy busy summer at FIMRC with 52 Summer International Health Fellowship participants at our sites in Nicaragua, Peru, the Dominican Republic, India, and Uganda! We cannot believe our first session only has a few days left of the program! Our groups have been taking on independent projects such as creating Diabetes management curriculums, shadowing in governments clinics and hospitals, and assisting with patient intake at our mobile clinics. It hasn't all work for the SIHFers, they've also been able to go rafting, ziplining, and enjoying the beach!
Project Limón, Nicaragua
"So far I've spent 3 weeks here in Nicaragua and I am in love! I am living with the most awesome host family and I truly feel like a member of the community here. This is so important to the mission of FIMRC because by living in homes, we get to see firsthand the needs, conditions, and circumstances of the community and are able to provide better, more tailored healthcare for these people. I have been challenged in ways I never expected but have learned and grown so much as a person, student, and future professional. There are not enough words to thank everyone who has made this experience possible and I look forward to making the most of my last week here!" - Samantha Cooke
Projects Huancayo and La Merced, Peru
"The SIHF program in La Merced was very immersive. We spent a lot of time with people in Orito Bajo, Marankari, at the market where we did a health fair and of course the hospital. We really got to meet the people of La Merced and interact with them on a day to day basis beyond the home stay and the patients in the hospital." - Shali Pai
"I have really enjoyed being able to speak with the community health workers, physicians and nurses at different hospitals and clinics where we volunteered to compare and contrast the difference between health care in the US and Peru." - Pooja Pendri
Project Restauración, Dominican Republic
"When we weren't working on our projects or shadowing in the clinics and hospitals, we were able to see various programs created by FIMRC and the impact they have had both on the community here in Restauracion and in Tilori, Haiti. From the diabetes charlas (educational talks) to singing songs with the elementary school kids in Haiti, it was rewarding to see the eagerness and determination that each and every member of these communities displayed when learning with us." - Sushmita Banerjee
"I've been putting my EMT training to work by developing a first responder curriculum for rural healthcare providers. It's exciting to know that my work this month will lead to improving emergency care for people in many different countries!" - Michaiah Hughes
Project Kodaikanal, India
"The stay in India has opened my eyes to a completely different world. Traveling we have been able to see the beautiful temples of Madurai as well as take safari boat ride and be ride elephants in Thekkady, Kerala. The weather has been beautiful with mild amounts of rain here and there since the monsoon season has begun. The biggest cultural shifts were getting used to food and the way people stand in line – sometimes you really have to push to get anything at a store.
The clinics have also been great environments for learning. At Pasam, we are able to be hands on with all patients that come in. In addition, it is nice having Arun by our side to explain what is happening when Dr. Mas gets busy with the patients.We have learned how to properly listen to heart beats, check the lungs for infection, apply dressings, and take a patient’s blood pressure. We were also able to watch Dr. Mas perform a surgery and follow up with the patient in the days after. Most importantly, we have been learning how to make diagnoses with the little resources that are in this region. Dr. Arun has explained strategies such as locating the specific regions of pain and asking the patient about the nature and history of their pain, to find out how to help without needing any lab work or digital tests. Although Pasam has many more patients, the advantage of switching to KHMS this last week is they have many more resources including an ICU unit. This allows us to see patients that need critical care the approach that the physicians take.
The creches, according to most of us, have been the best part of the time here. Being able to help these small children, as well as play with them, is very rewarding. Working in the crèches has given me an insight in how to properly address the public health issues. Learning how to keep the families bringing their kids, and how to financially balance such places is key to their maintenance. All around this experience has been rewarding so far. I am looking forward to the next five weeks." - Tony Satroplus
"The FIMRC Project in Kodaikanal, India has been both an enlightening and immensely gratifying experience. Working with doctors at the Pasam Trust Hospital, FIMRC rural clinic, and the Kodaikanal Health and Medical Service Hospital (KHMS) has given me a wide exposure to the medical practice here in Kodaikanal. From live abdominal surgeries to simple back aches, we were always on our toes. We traveled daily to the creches (preschools) and treated the children for malnutrition, scabies, tinea, and other diseases. Seeing the smiles of the children, who, by the way, suffered from a myriad of different diseases, was one of the most gratifying experiences of my life. Without a doubt, my experience has definitely been a positive one, and I encourage anyone seeking a career in the medical field to volunteer their time here. " - Alex Gandhi
We will be posting more updates from Session II and from our SIHFers in Uganda in the next few weeks - stay tuned!