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 MIHP participants share more about their experiences:
Matthew Eric Ferguson, M.D., Pediatric Cardiology
MIHP rotation in Nepal, March 2010
"This experience had a profound impact on my career ambitions. Pediatric cardiology in the Third World has potential to be a career focus for me.
"I've discussed several possibilities with my mentors, including a long-term commitment to create a pediatric cardiology training program in Nepal. I could teach a few months at a time at Gangalal and Tansen. Long term, Tansen could serve as a referral center for the western half of Nepal.
"Another option would be to devise a program to teach pediatric cardiology in other Third World countries, based upon my experiences in Nepal. I am thrilled with the potential that exists to achieve real success in this arena."
Physicians and the support staff, as well as the Sisters who took care of me in the guesthouse, was sincerely appreciated."
Tiffany Brazeal, M.D., Dermatology
MIHP rotation in Tanzania, January 2010
"Working at the Regional Dermatology Training Centre in Moshi was an experience of a lifetime. It was exactly what I wanted: to get out of my comfortable world and see what life is like in a completely different place. I met many wonderful people and saw many unique diseases.
"I was able to contribute during clinics. Medical students, fluent in Swahili, translated for me. Dermatologists in Tanzania and other parts of Africa are also trained as venereologists, so they can care for HIV patients and write prescriptions for antiretrovirals.
"Every day brought new lessons in medicine and in life. I'll cherish this opportunity to work in East Africa forever."
Michelle Roeser, M.D., Otorhinolaryngology
MIPH rotation in China, September 2009
"My time in China was a defining experience. Professionally, I learned about the evaluation and management of patients with facial deformities and enhanced my surgical skills. The experience built my confidence and renewed my devotion to helping this patient population.
"Personally, I was challenged to practice medicine outside of my comfort zone. I found I could adapt to my surroundings and deliver quality care without the usual technology and assistance. I could spend additional time with patients and their families and develop relationships. I will pursue humanitarian endeavors in my future practice because of the knowledge I gained and the relationships I made in China."
Jennifer Rabbits, M.D., Ch.B., Pediatric Anesthesiology
MIHP rotation in Peru, August 2009
"From an educational standpoint, this rotation was more than just a unique clinical experience. It was also an opportunity to learn skills beyond those focused on during clinical training. My problem-solving skills were continually challenged by the limited resources available. It was crucial to be creative and flexible. Teamwork was critical to ensure the success of the mission trip.
"In a broader sense, this experience expanded my outlook on medicine and my career goals. It is definitely beneficial to have been able to develop this perspective when it can still impact the course of my career."
Irene Yeh, M.D., Internal Medicine
MIHP rotation in Cambodia, January 2006
"I think that the most important thing I learned is that healing is not just a physical experience. When you strip away your own cultural assumptions, the way you see people changes. Building patient trust is crucial, but you need to find ways to break down your own assumptions to begin building that trust.
"Every day, new discoveries tore down my old beliefs and built new layers that accumulated as fast as my stimulated senses could take in information. The Khmer people taught me that joy and humor can still exist, even in the toughest of circumstances. I have been forever changed by their graciousness and hospitality."
Anna Sobol, M.D., Internal Medicine
MIHP rotation Kenya, October 2005
"Medical practice has an entirely different flavor in Kenya. Working with extremely limited resources means medicine is stripped to its bare essentials. You exhaust your options quickly, often without a definitive diagnosis. You are forced to give up much of the control American physicians are used to having as a result of the many resources available.
"My medical experience in Kenya was unexpectedly and profoundly fulfilling, an unparalleled experience that I am thankful for. The warm, genuine hospitality of the physicians, the support staff, and the Sisters was sincerely appreciated."
Kelli Bernice Ingram, M.D., Dermatology
MIHP rotation Ensenada, Mexico, July 2005
"The patients were wonderful. Most were there before we arrived and waited a long time to be seen. The cases were interesting. We saw dermatologic conditions we were not used to seeing on darker skin. We saw both adult and pediatric cases and everything from sun-induced diseases to infectious to cosmetic complaints.
"The mission was a wonderful introduction to Third World medicine and practicing with limited resources. We saw patients, treated with what you had, and you didn't have to worry about billing and overdocumentation. It reminded me why I wanted to become a doctor in the first place. The patients were interesting and very appreciative."
Alrich Gray, M.D., Internal Medicine
MIHP rotation Jamaica, January 2005
"This rotation was definitely an experience of a lifetime. The open appreciation expressed by the patients I cared for was overwhelmingly gratifying. The technical hands-on experience was beyond compare.
"Through the MIHP elective, I had the opportunity to work with a wonderful group of people, observe how medicine is practiced in a setting where resources are limited, and provide care to an underserved population. I was able to reconnect to my Jamaican heritage and regain a deep appreciation towards being a doctor. The experience was both an honor and a privilege that I'll remember for a lifetime."