Medical mission grant awardees present experiences

Author: Cliff Djajapranata


With her ultimate goal of becoming a doctor in mind, Notre Dame junior Candice Park spent this past summer in India for eight weeks, grappling with issues surrounding medicine and public health in New Delhi.

Dooley Society 300x200 Alexandra Fincher

Along with Park, seven other Notre Dame students presented their experiences made possible by medical mission grants from Notre Dame medical alumni  on November 19.

Park worked through the Child Family Health International organization. Among many of her experiences included clinical work in government hospitals, a center for at-risk youth and an organization focused on aiding high-risk pregnant women.

On the other side of the world, however, 30 some Notre Dame students, four of whom were present at the event, performed medical functions in Nicaragua over spring break in 2016. As part of the Notre Dame chapter of the Global Medical Brigades, these students sought to promote the organization’s mission of spreading sustainable health initiatives and providing healthcare where resources are limited. Over the course of just nine days, these aspiring medical professionals saw hundreds of patients, shadowing, scribing and translating for the doctors who accompanied the students on the medical mission.

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They also engaged in charla, Spanish for “chat,” which involved educating the local community on sustainable health practices while giving the students the opportunity to develop personal bonds with the local people.

Close to Nicaragua, junior biochemistry major Maria Penuela had a similar experience in Quito, Ecuador, working with Timmy Global Health. Working directly with patients, Penuela knew what to expect as it was not her first go around. “I enjoyed my first experience so much that I had to go again,” Penuela said.

Geccdooleysociety Gregklazuraphoto courtesy of Greg Klazura

On another continent, third-year medical student Greg Klazura ’11 volunteered with the Global Emergency Care Collective (GECC) in Uganda. In a country where, according to Klazura, there is only one doctor for every 10,000 people, the GECC instituted a two-year Emergency Care Practitioner Training Program, which seeks to train non-physicians to manage the emergency department and provide comprehensive emergency care.