Name of Organization: Hospital Baca Ortiz
Location (city, country): Quito, Ecuador
Dates of your attendance: Jan 30 - March 15, 2000
Purpose of site institution (3-4 words):  
Is there a language requirement? If so, state language:

Spanish helps

Activities available:

Patient care
Public community health research
Clinical research

Opportunities appropriate for:

pre-clinical students
clinical students

  1. Please describe your activities while abroad (eg, seeing patients, clinical research, public health project, etc.):
    Dr. Sempertigue arranged for me to work at Hospital Baca Ortiz, a children's hospital in Quito. He is an Infectious Disease specialist and I worked on an inpatient ID ward. I also participated in his Malaria research project in Esmereldas (coast of Ecuador).

  2. Please describe the range of activities available, in addition to yours:
    Dr. Sempertigue could probably arrange a clinical experience for most interests, or you could focus more fully on the malaria research. I went with him and the rest of his research team into a rural village to recruit potential study subjects (children under 5 with fever) and to educate about malaria. There is also laboratory work in Esmereldas. At Baca Ortiz, I also sat in on small group classes in ID with other medical students and residents (conducted in Spanish).

  3. Would you recommend this institution to other Penn medical students? Why?
    Yes, Baca Ortiz is a fantastic place to really see what practicing medicine is like in the 3rd world. They were experiencing chronic shortages of basic supplies and you can really learn how to maximize the use of limited resources.

  4. What did you not like?
    Because they are not formally accustomed to having visiting medical students, it was really necessary to take a lot of initiative to do what I wanted (and not just observe the whole time). I volunteered to take call for example, and asked senior residents if I could start doing H&P's once my Spanish was up to the task. Despite this I ended up with a lot of down time anyway, because it was not a structured program.

  5. Is there an application process for this institution? How does one arrange a visit? Are there important dates to know about?
    Contact Dr. Sempertigue (he may take a while to answer e-mail; you can try calling him as well, and he speaks very good English although the person who answers the phone might not) and let him know that you got his contact information from me.

  6. What costs were associated with the trip, other than transportation. Please include institutional fees, housing costs, food, etc.:
    There were no insitutional fees--the experience itself was free. Ecuador is ridiculously cheap to live in. I found an apartment for $80 US per month that was perfectly nice and safe. You can easily eat for under $5 per day, much less if you buy groceries and cook. Dr. Sempertigue could probably arrange for housing with a family if you want.

  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:

  8. Would you agree to be contacted by other students interested in this site? If so, please give your name and contact information:
    Jessica Bloom

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