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The Experience

The Mayo International Health Program experience varies, depending on the needs of patients being served and the existing resources in unique underserved communities throughout the world. Rotations usually last from one to four weeks and include opportunities to experience roles beyond providing care, such as leadership and education.

Past Mayo International Health Program participants share more about their experiences:

Jennifer L. Horsley-Silva, M.D., Gastroenterology

Rotation in Nepal, April 2014

I believe this experience has impacted me both personally and professionally. I think exposure to a different people and way of life has made me a more accepting and appreciative human being. I saw how the practice of medicine can be so similar (as in knowledge) yet different due to lack of resources, cost and advanced training. This has inspired me to do more international volunteerism and be more aware of the need for public health advances in other countries.

Traveling abroad to a poverty-stricken country has provided me with unique insight, training and understanding that I will carry with me for the rest of my career.

Rebekah M. Case, M.D., Family Medicine

Rotation in Ecuador, January 2014

My confidence in my own physical examination skills grew as I was forced to rely less on laboratory and imaging testing to make diagnoses. I learned new ways of being resourceful and creative to solve problems. My Spanish vocabulary and ability to communicate in Spanish expanded exponentially. My awareness and sensitivity to cultural differences was enhanced. I learned how to better cross cultural divides. I also became more appreciative of the wealth of resources we have here in the United States.

My experience in Ecuador was truly invaluable. Working in the hospital in Ibarra and the two clinics in Gualsaqui and Mojanda gave me exposure to illnesses uncommon in the United States and taught me how to be more frugal with resources.

Emily R. Patterson, M.D., Anatomic and Clinical Pathology

Rotation in Cameroon, April 2013

I would describe my experiences working in the pathology department at Mbingo Baptist Hospital as formative and eye-opening. I am appreciative of every day I spent at Mbingo Baptist Hospital because I learned an incredible amount about medicine and the Cameroonian culture from both a personal and professional perspective.

From a personal perspective, this experience has been unbelievably eye-opening. It has taught me to be appreciative of the many small luxuries that we take for granted, including good health, access to excellent health care, and reliable Internet and electricity. From a professional perspective, I saw numerous clinical cases, infections and tumors that are either uncommon or cases I would never see during my training at Mayo Clinic.

My experience working at Mbingo Baptist Hospital was extremely challenging and at times sad, but also eye-opening and rewarding. Every day presented amazing new learning and teaching opportunities.

Tanya H. Tajouri, M.D., Cardiovascular Diseases

Rotation in Kenya, March 2012

Immersing myself in such a medically underserved community for five weeks and meeting and caring for people who have had little or no access to regular medical care made me aware of the psychological and social dimensions of the practice of medicine and the importance of primary prevention and the careful management of finite resources and the need for innovative care.

I learned to rely on the art of the physical examination and listening to my patient's history rather than laboratory and imaging studies. I witnessed the faces of people, sometimes hopeless and sometimes hopeful, though all desperate for medical care. I realized that healing is not a result; it is a process and can take many forms. At times listening and talking with patients was the first step in caring.

Shane M. Gillespie, D.O., Anesthesiology

Rotation in Vietnam, March 2011

I spent a total of five days in an operating-hospital setting in Hanoi, Vietnam. I spent my time working with three compassionate pediatric anesthesiologists. Our first day consisted of pre-screening patients with cleft deformities to deem them safe for anesthesia. I was impacted immediately by the long line of parents and their children lining up and out the hallway as they patiently waited in their best clothes to be seen by the American doctors in hopes of their children receiving the much-needed surgery.

The families were truly inspiring to me, as they had traveled many miles with very little and were still completely thrilled to have us there. What I perceived or what most American patients would perceive as an inconvenience was no inconvenience at all to these people. Americans could learn a lot from these people and their culture.

  • Sep 11, 2014
  • ART198458