Honduras with Medical Brigades
"This summer I traveled to Honduras with the Drexel University chapter of Global Medical Brigades to take part in a dual medical/public health brigade.
"The medical portion of the brigade was comprised of a mobile medical clinic, complete with a pharmacy where we served an extremely remote, rural community with limited exposure to health care. Many of the patients we cared for had never come in contact with a medical professional. This became clear when we arrived on the first day of clinic and there was already a line wrapped around the building where we were seeing patients. For the medical brigade, I worked in various stations of our clinic alongside local physicians including triage, gynecology, medicine, dental, and patient education. During my time serving in the community I was able to practice the clinical skills I had gained during my first year at the College of Medicine, including history taking and physical exam skills as well as my Spanish speaking. I learned a tremendous amount in each station, especially in the specialties of gynecology and dental. For example, the dentist I worked with taught me how to locally anesthetize a patient’s mouth before performing a tooth extraction; he also stressed the important relationship between oral hygiene and health overall. Working in gynecology for a day allowed me to shadow a gynecologist who taught me how to do a pelvic exam and explained to me the normal and abnormal findings. Throughout the course of the medical brigade, our team provided care to over 500 patients and dispensed medications and vitamins to nearly all of them. One of the most memorable moments of the trip was when we had to say goodbye to the community, and the leaders of that community were brought to tears at the impact we had made.
"The latter part of the trip was spent working to improve public health in another remote community with very limited resources. Here, I bonded with one family in particular as I worked on a team to build a hygiene and water station, eco-stove, and lay down cement flooring in this family’s home. The public health part of the trip taught me just how much environmental and social factors play a role in the pathogenesis of disease. Many of the health problems we saw in the clinic were due to the lack of sanitation and hygiene within the community. Having the opportunity to have such a direct impact on underserved communities in both a medical and public health setting was an incredibly rewarding experience. Serving on this mission with Global Brigades further confirmed my whole-hearted dedication to the pursuit of a medical career helping others.
"I would highly recommend this experience to other students. Since returning, I have had several students ask how I became involved with this opportunity and that they would be interested in this type of service trip."
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