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Cacha Medical Spanish Institute – Afton Chavez, MD

Written by Afton Chavez, MD, PGY-1 at Kaiser Permanente Oakland Internal Medicine Program while on Global Health rotation at Cacha Medical Spanish Institute in Riobamba, Ecuador in March 2017.

I highly recommend this global health elective.  In just a two-week period (8 days of Spanish classes), my medical Spanish improved significantly.  The teachers at the institute are very professional and are excellent at teaching Spanish.  My professor had a degree in Linguistics and was incredibly

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Reflections on Belize

Written by Luke Rohlwing, MD, PGY4 at Kaiser Permanente Oakland Internal Medicine Program while on Global Health rotation with Hillside Health Care Center in Eldridge, Belize in February-March 2016.

I had never traveled to a developing country prior to my trip to Belize.  Prior to embarking, I naively thought that the combo of my upbringing in a lower-income rural town in the Midwest, and later travel and studying abroad in Europe, were the right combination to prepare me for my trip.  Although my prior time outside the U.S. was mainly in developed nations, I was a seasoned traveler and well-prepared for a good amount that I might encounter, whether it be socially or culturally.  What I hadn’t considered though, is despite having worked with underserved populations and communities back home, this was the first time I had ever traveled outside the U.S. to serve as a physician.

The connecting flight on a twin engine prop plane – the type where a form asks for your weight before getting on so they can pre-assign your seat to distribute weight properly – and the seven-hour school bus ride along the length of the country were both new to me, but were a strangely exciting welcome.  However, I recall being struck by the reality of my location and situation when the bus pulled to the side of the road to let me and a colleague off in what I could best describe as farthest-suburb-of-distant-city meets dense jungle.  My caution was also slightly heightened when the bus driver gave the directions of “walk up that (gravel and dirt) road a little ways and you’ll find the clinic.”  What had I gotten myself into?

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Vivekananda Memorial Hospital – Morgan Gilani, MD

Written by Morgan Gilani, MD PGY2 at San Francisco Internal Medicine on a Global Health rotation in Sargur, India with the Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement.

Gratitude.  My time working with the Swami Vivekananada Youth Movement (SVYM) this spring has been an integral part of my residency training. I joined a group from Kaiser Woodland Hills which included mostly family practice doctors, some in training, a rheumatologist, a pre-PA student, and an attorney. We were greeted at the airport in Bangalore and quickly whisked off to Mysore, currently ranked the cleanest city in India on a very hot and humid Sunday morning at 4 AM. Our visit in Mysore was brief and only a layover on our journey farther south to Sargur.  However, during our brief day and a half, we were very graciously introduced to SVYM, its main campus, and had the honor of meeting with two of the doctors who had founded the NGO about 30 years ago including Dr. Balasurbramaniam, or as he shortens- Dr. Balu. What started as a 9 bed hospital on the forest’s edge outside of Sargur has grown into a 90 bed hospital with subspecialty care. The populations served includes rural and 5 different tribal communities which have been displaced from the forest, now two National Reserves. In their longitudinal involvement and growth over the past 30 years in working with these communities it was interesting to

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July 2015 Kenya Journal – Brian Cogburn, MD

Written by Brian Cogburn, MD PGY3 at the Kaiser Permanente Internal Medicine Residency Program, San Francisco while on Global Health rotation with The Matibabu Foundation in Ugenya, Kenya in July 2015.

13/07/2015: Kaloleni (eastern Kenya, close to the Indian Ocean) tour with Felix
Landscape: picturesque tropical rolling hills with coconut palm trees; agriculture seemed to consist of cassava, palm trees (for oil and to make alcohol) and maze. Villages were very spaced out… only passed by 1 car while being on the road for hours. Most people traveled by motorbike (without helmets), cycle or foot.
Cultural perceptions: very poor, district contained mainly 2 tribes, 60% Christian to 40% Muslim. Primarily women out in the field doing labor, men congregating in town center and seemed to be socializing and drinking alcohol. Felix said there is a high

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