Global Health

Global Health Experiences

As worldwide communities become more interconnected, a growing number of residents have an interest in global health. International rotations provide a unique opportunity for residents to not only provide care in some of the world’s most resource limited areas, but also to develop their own clinical skills and understanding of social determinants of health. Our hospital has been very supportive of global health trips and residents may participate in as many as two month long trips during residency. Residents are encouraged to participate in established rotation sites, to continue working with sites they visited prior to residency, or to explore new locations. Residents have undertaken a variety of international trips to provide medical care and relief around the world.  Some of the most popular established global health experiences include Brazil, Guatemala and Kenya.

Brazil

The annual Brazil medical mission trip is very popular with residents and occurs every fall (October to November) led by former Med-Peds graduate, Dr. Jeremy Byrd (Class of 2009). Dr. Byrd has led several two-week electives to both Brazil and Honduras. A list of Pediatric and Med/Peds residents participating in this trip in the past decade is listed below. Residents are often joined by program alumni within our faculty and surrounding practices. This is a two-week elective that will be completed with most days being spent in Fortaleza, Brazil. Residents will conduct medical physicals and triage visits with the children of Davis Lar Orphanage and in favelas (a Brazilian slum) in Oitao Pretoa with a local organization called Shine that focuses on children that live on the street. Working here will enable residents/students to witness and better understand the environments from which many of the children at the orphanage have come. They will also staff “walk-in” clinics in the Brazil interior and countryside in neighborhoods, churches or hospitals. Click here for the Brazil elective curriculum.

Residents and faculty completing Brazil Experience:

  • Class of 2021 – Aubrey Fleming (Peds)
  • Class of 2020 – Kevin White (Med/Peds)
  • Class of 2019 – Lece Webb (Med/Peds)
  • Class of 2018 – Grace Twitty (Peds), Andy Burgess and Shannon Burgess (Med/Peds)
  • Class of 2016 – Sarah Wells, x 2 trips (Med/Peds)
  • Class of 2015 – Senthuran Ravindran (Med/Peds), Laura Johnson (Med/Peds),
    • Ray Davis (Peds), and Jennifer Harling (Peds)
  • Class of 2014 and prior:
    • DeAnna Ball, Tamara Johnson, Carole Mercer, Amanda O’Kelly, Miranda Worster,Jeremy Byrd, 10 trips and counting!

Guatemala

Residents are also able to volunteer on multiple medical mission trips to Guatemala yearly through True North Missions, a non-profit organization founded in 2000 with the express purpose of providing primary medical and dental care to the underserved children of Central America, led by Dr. Alan Barber (DDS) and an assigned physician leader. As of 2017, there are four medical trips yearly – two in September-October and two in January but most residents have gone on trips in the fall. Residents will travel by boat down the Rio Dulce River flowing from Lake Isabel to the Gulf of Honduras and staff “walk-in” clinics in the very isolated villages off the Rio Dulce River such as El Cedro and Las Laureles that are on the banks, up small tributaries or a short mountain hike away. They will also work at Casa Guatemala Orphanage performing medical physicals and focused triage visits. Further mission trip detail and general information on http://truenorthmissions.com. Click here for True North Missions – Volunteer Info.

Residents and Faculty completing Guatemala Experience

  • Class of 2021 – Becky Roland (Peds)
  • Class of 2015 – Sen Ravindran (Med/Peds) and Elizabeth Shirley, 2 trips (Peds)
  • Class of 2014 – Sarah Hinton (Med/Peds), Jessica Boyd, 2 trips (Peds) and Ryan Bromm, 2 trips (Peds)
  • Class of 2013 – Erin Bhatia (Peds)
  • Class of 2012 – Melissa Garganta, 3 trips (Peds) and Ann Marie Patterson, 5 trips (Peds)
  • Former G.H.S. Pediatric residency program director – Kerry Sease

Kenya

The global health rotation in Kenya was established in 2013 by two pediatric residents, Sarah and Bryan Eriksen, who spend a month long rotation working at Kijabe Hospital in the Pediatric wards and NICU respectively. Another Med/Peds resident, Teresa Williams, completed this trip in 2015. This site remains an option for current residents interested in Global Health.

Other Experiences

Global Health experiences are not limited to these locations.  A resident may arrange for any international medical trips of their choosing as long as they adhere to the guidelines set by the Graduate Medical Education Committee Policy.  

Residents can also pursue electives that address international concerns but are closer to home- such as the elective on Border Medicine and Environmental Health through the South Texas Environmental Education and Research (STEER) program though the University of Texas Health Science Center School of Medicine in San Antonio completed by Dr. Sarah Hinton, a med-peds residency graduate and our adolescent medicine course director.  She spent a month in Laredo, Texas, a city on the Texas-Mexico border. During this elective, Sarah studied many of the health care challenges and public health threats that are commonly encountered on the expansive Texas-Mexico border participating in a disaster preparedness exercise, visiting a border crossing station and community health worker sites, touring some of the most impoverished areas on the border, and performing mosquito control and water quality testing assessments on the Rio Grande.