Written by Christina Kinnevey, MD, Fellow at Kaiser Permanente Napa-Solano Community Medicine & Global Health…
Written by Jonathan Lin, MD, PGY-3 at Kaiser Permanente Oakland Otolaryngology Program while on Global Health rotation at Hospital de la Familia in Nuevo Progreso, Guatemala in November 2016.
As a third year resident physician in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery,
I had the amazing opportunity to be part of a surgical mission trip to Nuevo
Progreso, Guatemala. As a resident in a busy surgical residency, I cherish any
opportunity I have to get away from the usual “grind.” In this case, it meant going
somewhere new to try and improve the health of people living in a community.
Having gone on mission trips as an undergraduate, I learned early on that as
foreigners visiting a country, the residents of that community often end up helping and teaching us more than we can do so in return. Although our work is not to be understated, performing surgery and treating a variety of medical conditions, our
capabilities are limited by our ability to follow-up on patients and on the resources we possess. I am always amazed by the generosity of the hosts and the patients that we meet while on mission trips. The spirit, compassion, and perseverance I encounter during these trips serves as a reminder of why I chose medicine as a career. To any medical professional that may be overworked or feel the brunt of daily clinical medicine, these mission trips can serve as a chance to work with a group of optimistic individuals, eager to redefine and recapture their drive to help those in need.