SIHF 2016 : Connecting with the Community

Fellows Reaves Houston and Sophia McFarlane distribute water filters to families that participate in Project Limón's Nutrition Program.

Fellows Reaves Houston and Sophia McFarlane distribute water filters to families that participate in Project Limón's Nutrition Program.

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. 


Expanding on the efforts of our Session I participants, Fellows are working to improve the health education resources for the creche children. Fellows have also continued to track the development of the children and have performed vision tests. Additionally, home assessments have helped to identify the next families for participation in the Chimney Initiative, which aims to reduce the rates of respiratory illnesses due to poor ventilation.


Uganda may be the site with the highest patient caseload of all FIMRC facilities, but that does not stop our amazing staff and Fellows from placing an equal emphasis on the importance of health education. From hiking to far away homes for prenatal visits to improving data collection methods and updating our peer educator materials, the efforts of our Uganda Fellows will continue to impact the health of the Bududa community for years to come. In the next two weeks, we look forward to our the delivery of health education sessions on diabetes, HIV/AIDs, and adolescent women's health.


Fellows in the Philippines have the unique opportunity to support the University of the Philippines (UP), Canossa Health Center, and Rural Health Units with efforts to improve morale among patients. Fellows are hard at work developing art projects for patients and their families in the inpatient pediatric cancer ward at UP and are also developing nutrition activities for the children that attend the feeding and daycare center at Canossa. Additionally, Fellows are assisting with ongoing PhilPEN screenings, which aim to identify community members with diabetes and hypertension. Each community will develop their own education programs based on PhilPEN results. Some communities are already ahead of the game and have asked for assistance on raising awareness of the importance of physical activity so Fellows have recently launched weekly Zumba lessons!


Fellows in Nicaragua have been great assets to our outreach coordinators. With all hands on deck, we have been able to reach more families and provide an exceptional level of individualized care and counseling to our Diabetic Program participants as well as to the mothers in our Prenatal Program. Fellows have reworked the program to include more interactive presentations and activities via Powerpoints and videos and have also developed resources to encourage breastfeeding. Fellows have distributed water filters to families that participate in the Nutrition Program and have assisted local food experts with the creation of a community garden. Lastly, Fellows are working on the development of lessons on reproductive health and healthy relationships, which will be delivered to a local girls soccer team.

Peru - Huancayo

Outreach efforts have taken Fellows to orphanages in the center city of Huancayo to rural communities such as Aco and Sapallanga. Continuing with the orphanage education efforts of Session I, Fellows have continued to develop interactive health lessons for the Dale La Mano (Lend a Hand) program which takes place at Castilla y León Children's Home as well as the Gelicich and Secaya Orphanages. Additionally, Fellows have vaccinated the cuy (guinea pigs), which have been given to families participating in the Nutrition Program. Currently in its pilot phase, the program aims to decrease malnutrition and anemia rates in the community of Aco. 

Peru - La Merced

In support of the effort to provide auditory testing to area schools, Fellows have begun assisting local agencies with administering tests to children in the native community of Pichanaki. Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) education efforts have continued in the community of Belen and Fellows have also continued to expand upon the amazing efforts of the Session I cohort that developed FIMRC's first ever 'Mini First Aiders' Program.

Dominican Republic

Community health fairs are always a hit at Project Restauración! Our Fellows are doing an amazing job educating the community on the importance of hand washing, proper dental hygiene, and living a healthy lifestyle through diet and exercise. Fellows have also been instrumental in reaching families through face-to-face campaigns related to diabetes and hypertension. A recent campaign in Tierra Sucia, a rural community near Restauración, resulted in four new patients enrolling in the Diabetes Program. Fellows are now prepping to begin FIMRC's Nutrition Program in the community of La Garrapata.

Posted on July 14, 2016 and filed under SIHF2016, SIHF.