You Are a Saint

Written by Monica Rodgers, '20


This week started off a bit chaotic, with the uncertainty of “first day on the job” compounded on that of “first day in a new country.” In the year and a half since I last worked abroad, I had forgotten how important it is to master the art of waiting. Though at times awkward and uncertain, waiting is a meaningful way to take in surroundings, get a sense of the flow of things, observe, and ponder. On Thursday, I began my Family Medicine rotation with two residents who go to La Barquita, an underserved neighborhood of the city, to do daily consults in a small clinic. The impoverishment of this area was immediately clear to me.

The Role of Communal Living in Global Health

Written by Mitra Sadigh, Writer/Editor at UVMLCOM/WCHN Global Health Program, and Majid Sadigh, M.D., Trefz Family Endowed Chair in Global Health at WCHN and Director of Global Health at UVMLCOM


From a series of weekly notes to global health participants

“There is a community of the spirit.

Join it, and feel the delight of walking in the noisy street and being the noise…

Open your hands, if you want to be held…

Why do you stay in prison when the door is so wide open?...

Move outside the tangle of fear-thinking...

Flow down and down in always widening rings of being.”

-Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī


When in an unfamiliar environment, small, unexpected events easily become unmanageable obstacles, and simple problems overwhelming. A global health elective brings a wealth of unfamiliarity in the culture, clinical settings, surroundings, and daily lived experience. Students, especially those who are traveling to a place different from their home for the first time, may feel isolated in the plethora of feelings that arise- among them confusion, frustration, helplessness, and loneliness. To help process these feelings, it is crucial that students be embedded in a network of support with fellow medical students, residents, and physicians with whom to share experiences and discuss thoughts.

A Lifetime of Privilege

Written by Michelle Mertz, M.D., Assistant Professor at University of Vermont Larner College of Medicine and member of the Global Health Leadership Team


Having been on your elective for some time now, the initial shock of being in an unfamiliar environment may have subsided, Hopefully you feel more confident and comfortable. Perhaps you are also starting to feel less intrigued, more emotionally fatigued, and frustrated with certain aspects of the culture surrounding you. Initially your efforts may have been focused on finding similarities with the people in your host country, but fatigue sometimes causes a shift toward focusing on differences.

The Uncertainty of Medicine

Written by Melvin Philip, M.D., medical resident at the Greater Danbury Community Health Center Internal Medicine Residency Program


Naggalama has become my “home away from home.” A small community hospital run by Sister Jane, St. Francis Hospital caters to the underprivileged villages of Naggalama and is contained within a small Christian community consisting of a primary and secondary school, a nursery, a church, and housing for hospital staff. The medical director, Dr. Otim, has been our guide and resource in introducing us to the art of medicine in Uganda. The faculty have welcomed us with open arms.

Caring For One Patient, Serving an Entire Community

Written by Rafael Khalitov, M.D., Global Health Scholar from Russia


“Anxious to bring both the year and New Year’s Day into line with the West, Peter decreed that the next new year would begin on January 1 and that the coming year would be numbered 1700… But to blunt the argument of those who said that God could not have made the earth in the depth of winter, Peter invited them “to view the map of the globe and gave them to understand that Russia was not all the world and that what was winter with them was, at the same time, always summer in those places beyond the equator.” -Robert K. Massie, Peter the Great: His Life and World
As a graduate of Kazan State Medical University, I am proud that my Alma Mater was among the first Russian institutions to send graduates and residents to medical facilities in other countries. Global health is one of the most powerful tools with which professional horizons can be widened. It reminds us why we chose medicine in the first place.

The Qualities That Make a Surgeon Great

Written by Bryce Bludevich, M.D. '17


He was a young man with a seemingly bright future ahead of him, a university student with a loving family. He was only twenty years old when he came to Mulago Hospital. He was skin and bones by the time he had arrived, his eyes sunken and blank as if he knew the end was in sight. Under his thin bedcovers lay the source of his malady: an open midline incision. The suture lay exposed, along with his spleen and small bowel. His tattered skin crisscrossed over his open abdomen, the edges of his incision well worn. He had multiple enterocutaneous fistulas.

Combating Medicine’s Hidden Curriculum

Written by Stefan Wheat, '18


"But we had forgotten that alongside Orwell's dark vision, there was another - slightly older, slightly less well known, equally chilling: Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. Orwell warns that we will be overcome by an externally imposed oppression. But in Huxley's vision, no Big Brother is required to deprive people of their autonomy, maturity and history.” -Neil Postman
My family reached the saddle of Thorung La pass on day fifteen of our twenty-one day trek of the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal, the 300 km trail encircling the Annapurna massif. On day sixteen I turned nine years old, and on day seventeen I developed appendicitis. That first night after I began to develop symptoms, I remember clearly when our sirdar, the leader of our expedition, entered the tent where I was screaming bloody murder—writhing in pain, but perfectly lucid. He sang a very tranquil song in Nepali and proceeded to inform my father—within clear earshot of myself—that he did not think I would survive to reach the nearest hospital. This marked my first experience with poor bedside manner.

This Week Brought the Strike

Written by Sarah King, M.D. '17


This week brought the strike of the junior and senior resident medical officers (JRMO and SRMO).  They have gone on strike for a number of reasons, including salary, but also because there is no guaranteed job once they finish the first two years of post-graduate training.  Typically, after these two years doctors will work in a rural area for at least a year, a way of “giving back” to the government.  Unfortunately, although there are not enough open posts for the graduating SRMOs, the government will not issue permits to work in  private practice leave the country. As a result,  after seven years of training, a large proportion of them will not be able to find work.

La Doctora Americana

Written by Jessica Huang, M.D. '17


Among the sea of residents dressed in well-fitted white jackets, pressed white pants, and white shoes, I stood out like a sore thumb in my baggy light blue UVM scrubs, navy blue clogs, neon socks, and dirty white coat overstuffed with my stethoscope, Harriet Lane handbook, notebook, pens, hand sanitizer, and tissue paper. Unlike in the United States, the training level of medical residents in the Dominican Republic are identified by the color of their tops with green signifying first year resident, yellow for second year resident, blue for third year resident, black for first year fellow, etc. There are no specific colors for the interns (equivalent of fourth year medical students) while the pre-interns (equivalent of third year medical students) wear light brown scrubs.