Royer, Christine

School of Medicine

Guatemala

This medical mission trip to Guatemala will consist of an interdisciplinary team based in San Lucas Toliman. From there we will travel to surrounding rural villages each day providing basic primary care and simple bedside procedures to over 1,000 patients.

Every time I volunteer. whether it be at free clinics in New Jersey or in Washington, DC or whether it be one of many trips abroad, I learn more about myself and the people that will one day be in my care; as a result my commitment to serve those in need is strengthened. This elective will allow me to serve a community I already know and love in a very different way. as a doctor. Guatemala holds a special place in my heart, so I cannot think of a better opportunity and place than this in which to experience my first medical mission trip as an actual doctor.

Now that I am developing my doctoring skills, I will soon be able to not only serve, but teach. which I think is crucial in helping foreign countries that are still developing their medical system. I am excited about the "Health Promoters" program where I will be able to teach local villagers basic health principals and skills to bring back to the communities. Continuing to participate in a medical mission trip as a resident will strengthen my comfort and knowledge of developing nation medicine as well my experience with medical mission trips and making medicine haooen in resource poor.

The University of Toledo College of Medicine | Maumee, OH

The memories of my medical service trip to Guatemala summer 2017 will always be carried with me throughout my career in medicine. Experiencing health care in this underdeveloped world is invaluable. It shows just how critical the health care infrastructure here in the US is, and has reinforced in me a desire to contribute to systems improvement in health care. But even more so it leaves you with a deep gratitude for all that we have and a desire to help improve the living conditions and health care access for the people living in underdeveloped nations. Curable and preventable conditions are often left untreated and allowed to progress to disabling or even lethal extremes in these places.

As a newly minted medical doctor, passionate about medicine and excited when I see rare or advanced medical pathologies, the myriad of diseases I was able to see in Guatemala was both fascinating and sobering at the same time. What I loved most about this medical mission trip is that we were able to work with the health care promoters, layman without formal medical education, who work with the community as primary care providers. We were able to teach them as they worked side by side with us. Importantly, we provided them with a clean water filter, which we taught them to use. This clean water filter, which was so simple and inexpensive, would solve a large majority of health problems for the community. Clean water is something I take for granted even more so than the extensive and high functioning health care infrastructure I work in. It is humbling and inspiring to see first hand, that not only the infrastructure for medicine (such as hospital building, supplies, training of medical professionals etc.), but that also the basic needs for disease free life, such as clean water are missing in many communities. It reminds that socioeconomic changes, such as improving access to clean water, can have a tremendous effect on health. It is easy to see this link with something as straight forward as clean water access and amebiosis, but this link gets less and less clear and easily forgotten when examining more subtle issues such as obesity in developed countries and fast food marketing or restaurant and food services industry. 

    

So many thought provoking moments were had in Guatemala this summer. It is difficult to summarize them in one concise and focused statement. However, I will end by saying that the most special feeling I had was knowing that all my hard work to become a medical doctor was now being put in to practice and that I had achieved my dream of being able to help those suffering from these larger issues, even if I can not solve the issues, at least I can help those suffering right now, I can do something about it and improve their quality of life until the larger issues can be fixed. This humble role is still one that I treasure and am proud to be able to fulfill.

People

Joanne Katz, ScD MS,BSc

Associate Chair, Director of Academic Programs

Caitlin Kennedy, PhD MPH,BA

Co-Director, MPH concentration in Social and Behavioral Sciences in Public Health; Associate Director, Center for Qualitative...

Robert Bollinger Jr., MD MPH

Director, Johns Hopkins Center for Clinical Global Health Education (CCGHE); Associate Director, Johns Hopkins Center for Global...

Noreen Hynes, MD MPH

Director, Geographic Medicine Center of the Division of Infectious Diseases

Stefan Baral, MD MPH,MBA,MSc

Director, Key Populations Program

Yukari C. Manabe, MD

Associate Director of Global Health Research and Innovation
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September 2018

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