Global Health

Global Health

Ventura's Family Medicine residents participate in many global health projects.  Many come from backgrounds in public health and other international work, and take advantage of their 'away elective' time to continue to refine these skills, explore future practice settings, and be of service.  Some have shared their stories below.  Enjoy!

Driving up the bumpy mountain road, I stared out the window and a stream of questions ran through my mind: what is that tree that seems cultivated across so much of this part of Guatemala (coffee), what is the name of that volcano (Acatenango), where do people go for healthcare? The poverty was palpable, both in Guatemala City and in the rural countryside. We arrived at the family compound and site of the clinic in the early afternoon. Family and extended family came to meet us and get us settled into our rooms. We got to work the next morning,…
There is an extraordinary uniqueness to the Land called Africa, its inhabitants, the climate, topography, atmosphere and culture. Liberia is no different. The wave of warmth and heat that greets you once you disembark from the airplane jolts you to attention that you are on a different part of the earth. The ensuing experience is permanently etched in one’s memory – tropical food, warm people, adventure, cultural shock and a sense of wonder. I spent 2 weeks on the ELWA campus, in Paynesville, Liberia and it will be pleasure to return soon. The ELWA campus essentially houses several missionary homes…
The winding road to the clinic and Dr. Self’s home was long and bumpy, three hours from the airport, with over an hour on a winding, stone-laid roads. Many stones had fallen loose, forming potholes and crevices throughout the passage to Santo Tomas la Union, Guatemala, home to Akjun Pa le Qatinimit, or Clinica Medica Cristiana. The clinic serves the local community and surrounding villages; patients often walk, mototaxi, or hop in a friend’s truck to reach the clinic. The clinic is run by Dr. Self, a VCMC graduate, married into the community, who lives just across from the clinic…
Perspective changes with time and experience. My first time in India, I was twenty years old- a second year college student on the pre-med track—visiting Calcutta, working in the hospice that Mother Teresa started, volunteering at orphanages, learning about Hinduism and world religions-- all in hopes of expanding my world views and learning to care for the underserved. It is that international experience that affirmed my decision to enter into medicine and shaped my desire to care for those in need as a physician. Fast forward 8 years later—I am now a second year family medicine resident in India’s dense…
As I made my way through the cobblestone alleyways of Antigua, I knew this was going to be an adventure of a lifetime. This was my first time traveling to a foreign country completely by myself.  I spent my first week intensely studying the native language of Spanish in hopes that I would no longer need to bother anyone to help me communicate with our Spanish speaking patients. There are so many things lost in translation especially good rapport, when two people do not speak the same language. I spent my days working with my Spanish instructor on my medical…
  Although I spent my childhood in West Africa (Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana), this fall I had the opportunity to see this beautiful region in a new light as a medical professional.   Medically there was some aspect of the familiar but also much that was so different, reminding me of the humbling and very steep learning curve of intern year.  Possibly the best example of this dichotomy occurred on my first day. After travelling for over 24hrs, I was offered an afternoon tour of the hospital before starting the next day. While sitting at the nurses’ station in the…
Soddo, Ethiopia Landing in Addis Abba brought back a flood of memories of my former time spent in Uganda and Gabon: the terracotta earth, the roadside food stands, the hot African sun.  It was a strange sense of familiarity as I debarked from my plane in a place half way around the world. After a very long and bumpy car ride to Soddo, located a little more than 300 Km from the capital city, I finally arrived to Soddo Christian Hospital where I spent a month long rotation with former VCMC grads, Drs. Kavi Simpson and Michelle Yates. My time…
This past October, I was able to travel to Quezaltenango (Xela), Guatemala and study Spanish as well as provide medical care at Pop Wuj Spanish School. Pop Wuj is a Spanish school as well as a medical clinic that is working to provide the community with medical and social support that is desperately needed. During my stay in Xela, I worked in the medical clinic providing primary care services as well as the pharmacy. I also spent the afternoons working on my medical Spanish to improve my ability to communicate with my patients here in Ventura as well as globally.…
I slipped on a scrub top and walked down the hill to the hospital. It was one of my call days, and the nurses had given the characteristic message on the Ham radio, “Dra. Maggi, Dra. Maggi, tenemos una emergeeencia.” They always seemed to draw that last word out, making it sound more urgent than it really was. This case was simple however, a kid with a rash, and I didn’t expect it to take long. I had turned to Mackenzie as I left, just after breakfast, “You don’t think I need to change out of my shorts and flip…
The baleada is a fresh tortilla, made with a smear of beans, scrambled eggs and topped with a sour-tasting cheese, named after a bullet, given its aerodynamic shape. This small, but delicious Honduran cultural delight is certainly something I won't forget. As the patients got wind of food in the halls, ever so kindly they notified me they would be in the cafeteria eating lunch while they waited for their visit with me. I would often accompany them at the table, discussing a sick family member while passing the pico salsa to place on top of our baleadas. Whether they…