INTERNATIONAL EXPERIENCE REPORT

Name of Organization: Medical Research Foundation of Trinidad and Tobago
Location (city, country): Port of Spain, Trinidad
Dates of your attendance: June 2000 - August 2000
Purpose of site institution (3-4 words): HIV/AIDS Research
Is there a language requirement? If so, state language: English

Activities available:

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.):
    I conducted a public health survey of breastfeeding behaviors among HIV+ mothers who were treated perinatally to prevent mother to child transmission of HIV. I also volunteered at an orphanage for children with HIV. In addition, I got to travel to Grenada and Tobago to help collect data for field studies and experience the culture.

  2. Please describe the range of activities available, in addition to yours:
    Students have the opportunity to create their own project focusing on HIV related public health topics. As well, if interested, the center is affiliated with the caribbean epidemiology center in Port of Spain, which conducts more laboratory, basic science research.

  3. Would you recommend this institution to other Penn medical students? Why?
    Yes, they give you a lot of autonomy in terms of the project you decide to do and they are a great source of information/resources regarding HIV in the caribbean. Laid back atmosphere where someone who is self-motivated can thrive.

  4. What did you not like?
    Nothing!

  5. Is there an application process for this institution? How does one arrange a visit? Are there important dates to know about?
    I applied through a program offered by the University of MD, but they also had 2 students who were not in that program. I think you would need to contact them several months in advance to express your interest and see what the process is. They do not offer funding directly to students, which is why I applied through the Univ. of MD program because it was fully funded. That program was a MIRT fellowship and Fogarty grant offered to minority medical students.

  6. What costs were associated with the trip, other than transportation. Please include institutional fees, housing costs, food, etc.:
    All of my expenses were covered, but if you apply individually, you will have to find outside funding or pay out of pocket. Expenses include housing, food and transportation. Everything but the plane ride is cheap there and they do have contacts to help arrange housing for you.

  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:
    MIRT/Fogarty Fellowship Program through the Univ. of MD School of Medicine, Office of Student Research, Dr. Jordan Warnick. Applications are due some time in Feb for that upcoming summer. Contact Dr. Warnick at JWarnick@som.umaryland.edu for application. Requires multiple recommendations, including one from the Dean of Student Affairs at Penn.

  8. Would you agree to be contacted by other students interested in this site? If so, please give your name and contact information:
    Mercedes Torres
    Email: mercedet@mail.med.upenn.edu
    Phone: 215-545-3403

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