INTERNATIONAL EXPERIENCE REPORT

Name of Organization: Partners in Health (Socios En Salud)
Location (city, country): Lima, Peru
Dates of your attendance: 6/27-8/20
Purpose of site institution (3-4 words): Treat multi-drug resistant tuberculosis
Is there a language requirement? If so, state language: Spanish is very helpful

Activities available:

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.):
    Performed ethnographic interviews of patients and health workers towards the creation of an "Operations Manual" on how to construct an effective MDR-TB treatment program.

  2. Please describe the range of activities available, in addition to yours:
    There is no formal volunteer program. Most of the volunteers this year worked on gathering data towards the Operations Manual or on other issues that interested PIH. These included an assessment of the adequacy of pediatric TB treatment in Peru, the history of a Peruvian TB-patients rights organization, an analysis of the possibilities for cooperation with a local home for AIDS patients. PIH is also involved in projects in Haiti, Russia, Mexico, and several other countries.

  3. Would you recommend this institution to other Penn medical students? Why?
    Yes, the PIH project in Peru has been incredibly effective. PIH provides a much broader approach to health in all of its socioeconomic aspects than many other health-care non-profits. They are having such an enormous impact that it was great just to be in the country and learn from the project.

  4. What did you not like?
    Lima is an ugly gray city, especially in the summer time (winter there). The experience was not a vacation, and people who need a break between first and second year should not go.

  5. Is there an application process for this institution? How does one arrange a visit? Are there important dates to know about?
    PIH has no set volunteer program. They take a few volunteers on a case by case basis (7 or so this year in Peru), and many more people want to work with PIH than they can take. This year the vast majority of volunteers were Harvard Medical Students (the program directors work at HMS). One of the directors was my thesis advisor during college so that's how I found out about PIH. I really don't know how to advise people to get involved with PIH. You could check out their website and just give them a call....

  6. What costs were associated with the trip, other than transportation. Please include institutional fees, housing costs, food, etc.:
    This will vary. PIH encourages people to apply for outside funding.

  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:
    Yes, $500 from Frontline Medicine. Talk to Dr. Steve Larson in the HUP ER. Informal application process. Talk to him as soon as possible, because funding is limited.

  8. Would you agree to be contacted by other students interested in this site? If so, please give your name and contact information:
    Stanley Wei
    Email: stanleyw@mail.med.upenn.edu

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