The Sun is Particularly Harsh Today

Written by Christina Dawson '21


The sun is particularly harsh today. The intermittent gush of wind usually provides temporary relief despite the swell of red clay that stains my white coat, but today I feel it making a paste on the back of my neck. The day begins with our routine: waiting for Dr. Cathy to greet us as she promptly does every morning around 9. She is late today. I decide to make a quick dash for the restroom, and head towards the only clean one I know in the maternity ward.

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Growing Into Comfort

Written by Katherine Callahan '21


This is the first week during which I have noticed a significant change in myself: I am comfortable. That is, during Monday morning rounds, I found myself as less of a bystander and more of an active participant. Over the past two weeks, I have become accustomed to the language, lab tests, patient population, and attending style so much so that I automatically begin to create a differential diagnosis and have an idea of where to start on physical exams. This is the first time I have found myself effectively doing this.

Reader Response: Upenyu Hunokosha

Written by Tendai Machingaidze, Associate Site Director for Zimbabwe University


What does it mean to have the ability to save a life and not do so? In Shona, we say “Upenyu hunokosha!” Life is precious! We cannot save the world, but we can certainly save a world – we can save a mother or a father or a child, and in so doing save a family, a world. But who is doing the saving? And how is it perceived?

“There Is a Force Within That Gives You Life” -Rumi

Dr. Majid Sadigh, Director of the UVMLCOM/WCHN Global Health Program, Trefz Family Endowed Chair in Global Health at WCHN and Director of Global Health at UVMLCOM


I was raised in a small mountainous village in southern Iran, a land of poor but kind and generous inhabitants. I was one of very few children who had the privilege of a warm and supportive family. It was in this setting that I became familiar with the lives of underprivileged, gentle souls. Rumi became my idol as I searched for meaning beyond simple “happiness” throughout my youth. Voicing the unvoiced gave meaning to my life. I dreamed of becoming a storyteller who narrates the tales of those who cannot tell their own.

Changing Course: Part II

Written by Dr. Patrick Zimmerman, surgery resident at Danbury Hospital


One of the challenges during my time in the Dominican Republic was realizing that their surgeons are great - really great - and that I likely wouldn’t be contributing much in the way of innovation, knowledge, procedural expertise, or even perspective. The fact is that their surgical residents outclassed me in essentially every way. They were phenomenally smart and talented surgeons with technical skills surpassing the training level of their American counterparts.

Changing Course: Part I

Written by Dr. Patrick Zimmerman, surgery resident at Danbury Hospital


My arrival at a career in surgery was circuitous, to say the least. I studied Spanish and foreign relations in college and had planned a career as a jurist or with the foreign service. As I progressed further down that path, I discovered that I didn’t like the version of myself I saw emerging. I feared the person I might become in twenty years if I continued on the path of law or government. I made the difficult decision to change course, and have always been glad I did.

Boundless Learning

Written by Dr. Tonia Gooden, Ross University School of Medicine Class of 2018


Unlike many of my colleagues, I have no family members in healthcare. However, I grew up surrounded by cancer, specifically Familial Adenomatous Polyposis. My mother, along with many other family members, were faced with the realities of our medical system and quality of medical care, shortcomings and successes alike. With a strong academic interest and curiosity in science, I sought knowledge but also felt an undeniable yearning to help people. The choice for me was distinct: medicine would give me the opportunity to spend my life learning while helping others through the application of my knowledge.

Ethical Dilemmas in Global Health: The Monitoring of Reflections and Social Media Posts

Written by Dr. Stephen Winters, Director of Global Health at Norwalk Hospital, and Dr. Robert Kalyesubula, Founder of the African Community Center for Social Sustainability, Nakaseke, Uganda


From a series of discussions about ethical dilemmas in global health, with responses from one global health leader in the Global South and one in the Global North. Please leave us your feedback in the comments section below, and send us ethical dilemmas you would like to see discussed.

Reader Response: On Saving Life

Written by Dr. Mahsheed Khajavi, Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine at Florida State University


This ethical dilemma and responses moved me to tears. However, I feel that allowing a human being to die a preventable death is not morally consistent with medical mission work. The very fact that we choose certain countries and see a limited number of patients- as many as humanly possible in the allotted time, which still leaves hundreds unattended- implies that we are already making a decision regarding the allocation of resources. To carry the argument of nonfinancial intervention is antithetical to what is already being implemented: choosing a country and a select group of patients who will receive care.

My Journey of Medical Pursuit

Written by Dr. Bulat Ziganshin, Director of the International Affairs Office at the WCHN/UVMLCOM Global Health Program and Director of the Global Health Elective for American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine and Ross University School of Medicine students


Science and medicine have had a significant presence in my life since childhood, as my parents are both physician-scientists. Through the discussion of medical topics at the dinner table and frequent visits to their workplaces, I came to greatly respect these professions. When I was nine, my parents were invited to work as Research Fellows at University College London. During the two years that we lived in the United Kingdom, my parents worked with a number of outstanding scientists and physicians with whom I interacted at an early age. This rich exposure to medicine and science played a major role in shaping my interests which matured through high school and ultimately resulted in medical pursuit.