Students Share Summer International Adventures Stories

By Kristen O’Reilly
UMass Medical School Communications

Members of the School of Medicine’s Class of 2013 were busy this summer, improving their language skills and experiencing new cultures while helping people around the world. More than 20 students presented their stories at the Global Medical Education Poster Fair on Monday, Aug. 23, in the old Medical School lobby.

The students, most of whom are in the Multicultural Pathways Program, taught Liberian refugees about AIDS awareness and prevention, helped Argentine women learn to cook healthy meals to avoid malnutrition, and promoted a micro-financing project in Nicaragua. One student, Keith Azevedo, even led a rescue effort for a mountain climber as part of his work in the Cordillera Blanca of Peru. Other students traveled to Vietnam and China, Guatemala and Costa Rica, Ethiopia and Cape Verde, among other places, and they returned excited to tell their stories.

Andrea Posa spent six weeks in a Liberian refugee camp in Buduburam, Ghana, and came home impressed with the people she met. “I was surprised how motivated people were to improve each other’s lives,” said Posa, who learned about the camp from a student she mentors at Worcester’s African Community Education Program.

Ashley Farrington “loved every minute” of her five weeks in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Besides teaching art and cooking classes, she translated a Web site into English and worked in a clothing store that sells items for 25 cents.

Paula Hercule went to the Dominican Republic for a Spanish-language immersion experience so she can better communicate with clients at the Pathways Community Health Center in Worcester. She lived with a host family and took Spanish classes daily.

Azevedo’s story was particularly exciting. He described a 42-hour rescue of an Austrian climber who had broken his back in a fall involving three other hikers. An experienced hiker and mountain-climbing guide, Azevedo was at the base camp treating routine minor injuries when word came of the accident that occurred just short of the 20,000-foot summit. He organized a 25-person rescue team that carried the man 30 miles to where he could be flown to a hospital in Lima. While the man will recover, Azevedo reported, another hiker involved in the accident died on the mountain.

A full list of posters presented appears below the slideshow.



Global Medical Education Poster Fair (Class 2013)

Poster titles and participants:

  • Learning Cardiology in Portuguese in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – Patricia Pringle
  • Adventuras en La Isla Hispaniola – Paula Hercule
  • Cultural and Healthcare Experiences in Ethiopia – Sriya Avadhani
  • Poco a Poco: Adventures in Guatemala – Erica Popovsky, Rachel Cannon, Rebecca Jacobson, Jeffrey Villanueva
  • Research and Language Immersion in Cape Verde: Building the foundation for improving care for Cape Verdeans in MA and abroad – Alison Lima
  • The ICA Social Clinic in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala – Jeffrey Villanueva
  • Medical Interviewing in Lisbon – Jessica Zina
  • Off Grid Lighting Services for Rural Underserved Populations: How LEDs can prevent chronic obstructive pulmonary disease – Max Fraden
  • Six Weeks in a Liberian Refugee Camp in Buduburam, Ghana – Andrea Posa
  • Kampuchea – Nathalee Kong
  • International Health: Partnering From Ideas to Implementation - lessons learned in China from the WHO – David Wang
  • Spanish and Service in Samara, Costa Rica – Sophia Paraschos
  • Learning French, Horticulture and Medicine in Dakar, Senegal – Erik Lewis
  • Learning Spanish for Mountain Rescue in the Cordillera Blanca and for Pediatric ED – Keith Azevedo
  • Interdisciplinary Yoga: Learning About the Mind-Body Benefits of an Ancient Healing Movement Meditation – Katherine Riva
  • Bridging the Cultural Gap: Service at a Rural Clinic in the Mekong Delta – Mary Le
  • Abwenzi Pa Za Umoyo, Partners in Health, Malawi – Jarred McAteer
  • Malnutrition Prevention and Treatment in Buenos Aires, Argentina – Ashley Farrington
  • Rural Health and Service in Leon, Nicaragua – Mitchell Li