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.