INTERNATIONAL EXPERIENCE REPORT

Name of Organization: Wellcome Trust Research Laboratories
Location (city, country): Kilifi, Kenya
Dates of your attendance: 10/01/00-11/29/00
Purpose of site institution (3-4 words): Hospital; Clinical and basic science research facilities
Is there a language requirement? If so, state language: NO (Swahili would be really helpful, but is not at all necessary)

Activities available:

patient care
public/community health research
clinical research
basic science 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.):
    My research developed after I arrived in Kilifi, and consisted of two clinical projects focusing on children with malnutrition. In order to fulfill the Scholarly Pursuit requirements, I worked with a physician in Kenya and was under loose supervision by a physician from CHOP. I collected a lot of data and hopefully will be able to put together a couple of papers for publication. In addition to my research projects, I also participated in daily rounds and clinical work on the pediatrics ward, and attended lectures on a variety of clinical and scientific topics. Outside of the hospital, I was able to accompany fieldworkers on their data-gathering trips to more remote areas of the District ­ as well as explore East Africa on my own.

  2. Please describe the range of activities available, in addition to yours:
    The hospital has a very strong immunology lab, which is conducting a lot of research on malaria - specifically, working on producing a vaccine. There are also microbiology and hematology labs. There is an opportunity to learn Swahili from a one-on-one instructor.

  3. Would you recommend this institution to other Penn medical students? Why?
    Definitely. The Wellcome Trust provides an infrastructure of equipment (computers, labs, medical records, etc.) and people (physicians, researchers, other students) that made living and working there relatively easy. On the other hand, the population and setting are typical for rural, poverty-ridden Africa..

  4. What did you not like?
    Computer shortages - having my own laptop would have been great. Also, because I didn't have a car and was in a rural area, I felt a little restricted. On the other hand, the public matatus go almost everywhere, so if you're willing to be really scrunched and deal with some interesting odors, transportation isn't too much of a problem.

  5. Is there an application process for this institution? How does one arrange a visit? Are there important dates to know about?
    Contact Dr. Mike English. A lot of medical students from the UK rotate through the hospital, so he's a bit overwhelmed with student planning - be persistent, and don't worry if the project doesn't seem entirely clear before you go. There's a lot going on and you will definitely find something to do if you're assertive and moderately independent.

  6. What costs were associated with the trip, other than transportation. Please include institutional fees, housing costs, food, etc.:
    I paid $100 per month to live in a lovely bungalow that a student who was already working in one of the labs was living in. If that house is full, there are some small hotels that would be more expensive and don't have kitchens but do have the bonus of an on-site restaurant. I also had to pay for my own food, which was very cheap! There were 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:
    I received funding from the Africa Health Group. The contact is Dr. Jeff Silverberg in the International Opportunities Office. The application consisted of a write-up of a project (mine ended up being completely unrelated to the project that I actually did - in fact, I was originally planning to go to Zimbabwe). I believe the application was due at the end of January.

  8. Would you agree to be contacted by other students interested in this site? If so, please give your name and contact information:
    Maia Rutman
    E-mail: mrutman3@yahoo.com
    Phone: (267) 879-1371

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