This Week I Met Anthony

Written by Jose Calderon, UVMLCOM Class of 2022

This week I met Anthony. But I didn’t meet him at the hospital or clinic, but beachside as I was enjoying a cold Corona and a delicious seafood paella. Although it was August, Anthony was selling heart-shaped Valentine’s Day-themed lollipops. I saw him go to each dining table one by one, only to be rejected what seemed to be nine out of ten times.

A Positive Aura

Written by Jose Calderon '22

Even if I had the option of a warm shower, I wouldn’t do it. Cold showers are best given the climate here in the Dominican Republic. It’s a lovely home where we’re staying, and the best part is the host family and how welcome they make us feel. This past Sunday we attended Zoe’s (my host families’ granddaughter) fourth birthday party. It was a Beauty and the Beast theme and it was lovely. It reminded me of all the Spanish birthday parties that I’ve been to and I was glad I got to sing along as they wished her a happy birthday.

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.

Going Through It Alone

Written by Asaad Traina '18

This week I began my rotation at the Hospital Universitario Maternidad Nuestro Senora de la Altagracia, (HUMNSA) a public tertiary care hospital in Santo Domingo specializing in Obstetrics and Gynecology. Treating mainly high-risk patients, HUMNA serves as the referral center for all other public OB/GYN hospitals in the country. This  hospital’s large size and comparative lack of resources makes it a very different setting from that of the Cardiology Hospital where I was prior. Although there were several open beds on the Labor and Delivery inpatient unit, the resident informed me that this was a very low census for them, and that there are up to three women sharing a bed during  the busiest times.

Entrega de Guardia

Written by Traina Assad '18

As I continue my rotation at Nuestra Señora de la Altagracia, the way in which “Entrega de Guardia” is conducted sticks out to me. Entrega happens every weekday morning with all the residents and fellows in the entire hospital (over one-hundred trainees in total) and from my perspective, a combination of sign out (from night team to day team), morning report, and grand rounds. I have attended Entrega every day during my two-week rotation here, and have learned something from it each time.

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.

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.

Al final del día el cuidado del paciente es lo más importante

Written by Jessica Huang, '17

The long line of patients waiting outside the hospital as soldiers guard the entrance, the prayers beginning each morning report, the sharing of patient beds/cribs, and the lack of running water … these are some of the things that stood out to me when I first arrived at Hospital Maternidad Nuestra Señora de la Altagracia (HUMNSA). Everything seemed foreign as I tried to learn the workflow and how to integrate into a medical team in a new country and medical system. However, as my ears acclimated to new medical terms while rounding in a different language, my first impressions developed into a realization of the importance of religion in the Dominican Republic as well as the limited resources and high volume of patients at this public hospital. Inside the walls of this institution, work and teaching truly prioritize patient care.

Messages from the Leadership of UNIBE: Dean Marcos Núñez and Dean Loraine Amell

Written by Marcos Núñez, Dean of Health Sciences, UNIBE, and Loraine Amell, Dean of International Affairs, UNIBE

Through our exchange with Western Connecticut Health Network/University of Vermont Larner College of Medicine, we have learned more about what global health means and how it can be incorporated into a career in medicine. We have been inspired to work toward making global health an integral component of Universidad Iberoamericana (UNIBE).