Name of Organization: Instituto Boliviano de la Biologia de la Altura
Location (city, country): La Paz, Bolivia
Dates of your attendance: 10/01 - 12/01
Purpose of site institution (3-4 words): Altitude issues in pregnant mothers and neonates
Is there a language requirement? If so, state language: Spanish

Activities available:

patient care
public/community health research
clinical research
Opportunity to round in any part of the hospital

Opportunities appropriate for:

clinical students

  1. Please describe your activities while abroad (eg, seeing patients, clinical research, public health project, etc.):
    We participated in a study following up on babies born two years ago to determine if there was a morbidity and mortality difference between babies (from a previous study) who were low birth weight, premature, and normal; this involved going to community clinics and patient homes. We also helped out with sleep studies (monitoring for hypoxia) in newborns, watched echos (as part of the same study) to diagnose pulmonary hypertension, edited prior papers that were about to be submitted, attended neonatal rescusition classes, helped out the neonatologists on the delivery floor, and rounded in the hospital, particulary on the peds ID floor.

  2. Please describe the range of activities available, in addition to yours:
    Besides the above, we could have participated more in studies of hypoxia in pregnant mothers, and we could have rounded on more units in the pediatric and adult hospitals next door to the institute.

  3. Would you recommend this institution to other Penn medical students? Why?
    Yes, however, best if students have an interest in neonatology, pediatrics, or obstetrics. And be prepared to build your own structure for your time there.

  4. What did you not like?
    As this was Bolivia, rarely did anything run smoothly or on schedule.

  5. Is there an application process for this institution? How does one arrange a visit? Are there important dates to know about?
    Application and info available from Sheila P. Apply in fall of prior year.

  6. What costs were associated with the trip, other than transportation. Please include institutional fees, housing costs, food, etc.:
    Bolivia is dirt cheap, esecially food- we ate 3 course lunches at the institute every day for under $1. Housing is more expensive, but one could stay in a cheap hotel for $5-10 a night or try to find an apt.- the two of us rented a great apartment. right downtown with a view for $260 a month. There are no institutional fees.

  7. Did you receive funding for this trip? If so, from whom and for how much? Please provide important information, such as contacts, application procedure, and due dates:
    No funding. It is very laid back. Contact Dr. Niermeyer as above or Bill Fox, MD, at CHOP (
  8. Would you agree to be contacted by other students interested in this site? If so, please give your name and contact information:
    Benjamin Lederer
    Phone: 215-893-0917

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