The Forms of Voicelessness

Written by Majid Sadigh, MD, Trefz Family Endowed Chair in Global Health at WCHN, and Director of the Global Health Program at UVM Larner College of Medicine

As a medical resident, I traveled to a site that will be forever living in my mind, in a tiny hospital in the South of Shiraz. This land was home to the Ghasghaei, a multi-ethnic nomadic tribe of roughly 1.5 million who live in Iran and the surrounding countries. Possessing neither archives nor a written history, the Ghasghaei pass their legacy through a rich oral tradition. The scene that first comes to mind is one of family members gathered around a blazing fire. The light danced on faces entranced by the slow cadenced words of a community leader and elder. These evenings were a time for older generations to hand down the traditions and values, beautiful and singular, that have taken shape over thousands of years.

The Success of a Medical Collective

Written by Dr. Long H. Tran, J1 Scholar from Vietnam

I am grateful to have experienced and felt true American life. The organization arranged a very nice house for us close to the hospital with a nice friend from the Dominican Republic with whom we shared and exchanged our cultures. I had a warm dinner with Miss Laurie’s family for Thankgiving, a New Year party at Dr. Winter’s home, and a meeting night with international friends at Dr. Sadigh’s home. Everyone was always beside us to help, to share, and to teach. We traveled to some famous places and saw many things. I not only learned about the English language, but also about culture and communication skills, thereby gaining a greater understanding of Americans and of the United States.

Contributing a Little More Every Day

Written by Carl Nunziato, '17

I would identify most of my third year of medical school as a time when I felt helpless, without any meaningful way to contribute to patient care. While I recognized that I was early in my medical education and needed time to effectively develop my clinical skills, I often felt like a burden even though the residents and attending never treated me as such.

Woody Hard Leg

Written by Katrin Sadigh, MD, WCHN assigned faculty for program development at Zimbabwe University

Color ascends her plump form in layers—from the wide double skirt up to the chemise beneath the long sleeve blouse beneath the heavy rain jacket, up to the hat which she took off before sitting down in the chair. Despite the layers, she cannot hide her legs, the swollen, thickened skin, what we soon learn to be described clinically as “woody hard.” The shape of her sandals is imprinted on the tops of her feet. She tries to tuck her feet under the hem of the billowing skirts, but my eyes have already spotted the growth on her left lower leg. From the boggy epidermis, it rises first as skin-colored specks with sheen, resembling dewdrops.


Written by Dr. Ramapriya Vidhun, Associate Professor at the University of Vermont and Program Director at Danbury Hospital

We began our partnership with the Global Health Department at Danbury Hospital in March 2014. We were thrilled to welcome Phiona Bukirwa from Uganda. She spent most of her nine months in our department learning anatomic pathology, and participating in sign-outs and unknown case conferences and slide reviews that advanced her diagnostic skills immensely.

Cui Bono? Who Will Benefit?

Written by Katherine Wang, '17

It was the combination of Grey’s Anatomy and Mountains Beyond Mountains that convinced me my senior year of high school to consider medicine as a career—the excitement of the operating room and the journey Paul Farmer took through Haiti and beyond. It obviously was an idealized notion of both surgery and global health, but it shaped my undergraduate experience. I chose to major in anthropology, and enrolled in an introductory writing course in the subject after reading about it in Tracy Kidder’s book. I also picked up a global health studies minor because it sounded exciting and tied into my plan to complete the pre-medical coursework.

Culture As Construct: Looking Forward to a Global Health Elective in Vietnam

Written by Elizabeth O'Neill, '20

Our view of culture is essentially a construct that differs both within and among communities, as its manifestation in traditions and customs impacts people in varied ways. I chose to attend the UVM Larner College of Medicine largely because I believe in the institution’s mission and vision to promote high-value, inclusive care to people of all cultures, both locally and globally. Direct experience with clinical practice embedded within different societies is necessary to develop into a socially responsible, culturally competent physician - qualities I strive to embody as a medical student and beyond.

The Art of the Physical Exam is Alive in Zimbabwe

Written by Herman Sequeira, M.D., Pulmonary/Critical Care Medicine Fellow at Norwalk Hospital

I was thrilled to participate in the global health elective in Zimbabwe this past July. Having grown up in Kenya, my prior global health experience had primarily been in that region. In some respects, Zimbabwe is not different from other African countries. Its people have tolerated rigged elections, hyperinflation, corruption, collapse in tourism, exploitation from the West and, as a result, lack resources in their medical system.

Experiencing American Life

Written by Hai Long, Global Health Scholar from Vietnam

I had many hopes for my time in the United States. I wanted to see the way medical teams work, and the roles and responsibilities of everyone in the organization, including management, doctors, nurses, paramedics, and sanitation workers, as health professionals include not only those directly involved in medical care but also those working for infection control of the community. I was also looking forward to learning about medical machines and new clinical techniques. Finally, I was hoping to improve my English language skills. Fortunately, I can say that all these hopes have been met, although English is still a challenge despite the improvements I have made.

Witness, Advocate, Exchange, Improve

Written by Anne Dougherty, MD, Assistant Professor at UVM Robert Larner, MD College of Medicine, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, and founder and director of the UVM Global Women’s Health Education Program

On a whiteboard in my office, I have written the words: witness, advocate, exchange and improve. These are my pillars of global health. Witness, don’t rescue. Advocate, for a diversity of backgrounds. Exchange, sustainably and equitably. Improve, building appropriate technology and capacity. These core concepts may seem obvious, but they require training in global health ethics and the realities of on-the-ground work in low-resource settings.