Students showcase summer international projects

Second-years travel the globe to learn about international medical care on a personal level

By Kristen O’Reilly

UMass Medical School Communications

August 22, 2012
Members of the Class of 2015 detailed their travels to delve into international medical care at this year's International Poster Fair.

Twenty-seven members of the School of Medicine’s Class of 2015 traveled all over the world this summer to learn about international medical care on a very personal level. Some visited countries completely unfamiliar to them, while others returned home to countries they left as children. A few conducted research while others shadowed health care professionals or served in local health care clinics.
The second-year students presented posters detailing their global adventures on Monday, Aug. 20, in the Faculty Conference Room. Also presenting posters were students in the Summer Service-Learning Assistantship Program, who conducted service learning projects domestically.

Some of those presenting international posters were participants in the Pathway on Serving Multicultural and Underserved Populations elective, a course designed to help students develop linguistic and cultural competence and sensitivity to the hardships that many immigrants and poor people face. As part of the program, they received a stipend to help with travel and living costs.

Jeremy Konstam said he had an “incredible experience” during his four weeks in Ecuador, where he lived with a local family, took language classes, volunteered to teach English at a local school and observed at a family health clinic. “It was interesting to see how health care is delivered in a low resource setting,” he said, noting he was impressed with the skill of the local doctors and the overall continuity of care.

Azmin Kahramin traveled to his native Bosnia, from which he emigrated as a teenager during the country’s civil war. He shadowed professionals in the clinic, the lab and diagnostic areas. Mental health issues relating to war trauma are common in the country, a particular area of interest for Kahramin. The Greater Boston area is home to 12,000 fellow Bosnians and he hopes to reach out to this community as a medical professional.

Rebecca Lumsden was one of three UMass Medical School students in Kenya focused on research projects under the direction of Ann Moormann, PhD, MPH, associate professor of pediatrics and quantitative health sciences. Lumsden studied the social and public health barriers to measles vaccination in the area by interviewing providers, studying hospital records and observing clinical procedures. She said it was a good start on a possible longitudinal project that would culminate in a capstone research project in her fourth year.

Dien Le worked on his language skills, especially medical terminology, during his five weeks at the Di An Hospital in a rural section of Vietnam. Le said medicine considered non-traditional in Western cultures, such as the use of herbs or acupuncture, is much more common in Vietnam, and he had to be sure to ask his patients about the use of these techniques as he interviewed them.

Other students traveled to Argentina, El Salvador, Guatemala, India, Albania, Tanzania and China, among other countries. The complete list of posters presented follows:

2012 Global Medical Education Poster Fair

Matthew Baron: Substance Abuse Education in Rural El Salvador

Geoffrey Buckle: Burkitt’s Lymphoma in Western Kenya and Uganda

Josh Kahane: Life in the Ecuadorian Rainforest: Farming, Education and Health

Diana Thyssen: A Look into Argentine Health Care: Hospital Universitario Fundación Favaloro

Sharon Li: An Exchange Experience at Huaxi Hospital, Chengdu, China

Amanda Gonsalves, Elise Sullivan, Kyle Wu: Clinical, Cultural, Language Immersion, Costa Rica

Emily McCoy: Volunteering at an Orphanage and Clinic in Tanzania

Carolyn Buckley: Unidad de San Patronato del Sur: Public Hospital in Quito, Ecuador

Dylan Perry: Medical Spanish and Community Health Care in San Vito, Costa Rica

Mackenzie Bartlett: India: Introduction to Traditional Medicine and Himalayan Health Exchange

Eric Evan-Browning : Spanish Immersion in Quetzaltenango (“Xela”), Guatemala

Dien Le: Di An Hospital, Vietnam

Ava Chappell and Joseph Frey: Public and Rural Health in Leon, Nicaragua

Azmin Kahramin: Observational Rotation at the General Hospital “Prim dr abdulah Nakas”

Paavan Mehta: Health Care Delivery in Ahmedabad, India

Lauren Veit: Language and Cultural Immersion in Quito, Ecuador

Prachi Godiwala: Interhealth South America: Health and Service in Ecuador

Lorena Ceci and Laert Rusha: Albania: Discovering Albania’s Health Care

Jonathan Barry: Community Health Research and Clinical Medicine in Vellore, India

Caleb Dresser: Primary Care in Rural Madagascar

Alyssa Goldberg: Plasmodium Falciparum Infections in Kisumi, Kenya

Jeremy Konstam: Family Health and Medical Spanish in Quito, Ecuador

Lynne Fiore, Amos Lichtman, Keri Nobil: Rivas County Renal Failure Study

Brendan Flanagan: Clinical Work in Guatemala

Reem Abu-Libdeh: San Pedro La Laguna/Lago de Atitlan, Guatemala: Health, Culture and Language

Josiah Bote: Spanish School and Cultural Immersion in Leon, Nicaragua

Rebecca Lumsden: Barriers and Challenges to Measles Elimination.

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