A Marvelous Three Months

Written by Dr. Nguyễn Thị Kim Thanh, rheumatologist, Global Health Scholar from Vietnam


On a prior trip to the USA for a twelve-day vacation last year, I was impressed with stunning scenery, big roads, extraordinary skyscrapers, and large shopping malls. This time around, I was surprised by the good manners of the American people, which I could not have learned from books or the internet.

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A Beacon of Hope and Light

Written by Nikolas Moring, '20


One week in Naggalama down. I can’t believe it. It seems like we just arrived here  yesterday. My first week in Uganda has been so different from what I had ever expected. I don’t even know where to begin. I spent countless nights trying to imagine what this experience was going to be, but knew from the beginning that was a fruitless exercise. Upon arriving, that was confirmed. It is simply so unique, and so different, that there was no way to even begin to project or predict what it would be like.

Reflections from Zimbabwe: Global Health in Evolution

Written by Dr. Stephen Scholand, Site Director at Cho Ray Hospital, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam Global Health Program


I’ve been interested in global health even before it had the attention and respect this emerging field receives today. My first experiences extend back almost twenty years ago, when as a resident-in-training I happened to find myself in a city hospital in the heart of Manila. San Lazaro Hospital cared for the poor and underprivileged with a paucity of resources and medicine. It was there that I saw many heart-wrenching cases including human rabies, neonatal tetanus, rampant tuberculosis and other savage diseases. I was amazed by the passion and dedication of the doctors who worked under the most difficult conditions yet strived to do their best despite the obstacles. I could see it was truly out of love that they worked so hard. I felt deeply inspired, that this was something I wanted to do… that this was why I became a physician: to change the world, one patient at a time. Even if the odds seemed incredibly difficult, I knew in my heart that something could be done.

Good and Bad Days

Written by Andrew Pham, '20


Week five marks our transition into the regular intensive care unit (ICU) and our last two weeks in Vietnam. It’s hard to imagine that we’re almost done with our introductory foray into the world of global health. It’s even more difficult to absorb that we’ll be starting our second year of medical school in just over two weeks. It seems that I’m just beginning to get used to the way things run around here, from the early morning shifts in the hot and humid hospital departments to crossing the busy street that separate our hotel from the hospital without so much as an ounce of fear.

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.