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Mayan Medical Aid – Alan Viglione, MD

Written by Alan Viglione, MD PGY 3 at the Kaiser Permanente Internal Medicine Residency Program, San Francisco while on rotation with Mayan Medical Aid in Santa Cruz La Laguna, Guatemala.

February 2015

Mayan Medical Aid at Santa Cruz La Laguna, Guatemala, is truly one of a kind.  A program set in paradise and built from scratch by Dr. Craig Sinkinson. My one month experience provided the perfect mix of third world medicine (with rare disease), cultural training, medical Spanish (wonderfully built in with online modules etc), camaraderie/coordination amongst other volunteers, and friendships that will last a lifetime.  The organization of the program is the key to its success. From the moment of arrival we were greeted with appreciation.  Housing options included a HomeStay with local families for an authentic experience, student housing (a beautiful, fully supplied house), or primary convenience at a staple Hostel by the lake.  By the end of the month I was fully integrated into the community; greeted with a friendly “buenos dias” by literally every community member along the scenic walk into town.  I could not dream up a more appreciative population and one that is more in need of resources.  Support at Mayan Medical Aid goes 100% toward local relief and everyone that passes through makes a promise to return one day, myself included.  I can’t envision a better capstone experience to supplement 3 years of residency at Kaiser Permanente.

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