“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 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.

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.

Creating a Patient Education Program in Tanzania

Written by Dr. Alexandra Miller '18

In large, bold type on page nine of my Swahili Medical Dictionary and Phrasebook (MJF Cooper 2006) is written Bora kinga kuliko tiba, which translates to “prevention is better than cure.” Although this phrase is common in English, we forget that for some diseases there is no cure. Cervical cancer is often diagnosed beyond a curable stage in resource-limited settings, despite being a preventable disease. Cervical cancer disproportionality affects women living in rural Tanzania. In, fact cervical cancer diagnosis is nearly ten times greater in rural Tanzania than in the United States.  


Written by Tendai Machingaidze, medical student studying in Russia who helped support UVMLCOM/WCHN global health participants in Zimbabwe

Having been an international student for the past seventeen years, I think about home a lot. In Shona, the concept of “kumusha” encompasses the ties that bind us to a specific portion of the earth, and the families and communities that formed us. Regardless of our physical location in the world, these roots determine who we are at our core, and who we will become.

Value in Providing for Others

Written by Dr. Bilal Khan, Pulmonary/Critical Care Specialist and Fellow in Sleep Medicine Norwalk Hospital, Connecticut

After completing my undergraduate degree in economics, I worked for J.P. Morgan Chase on the fast-track plan to Wall Street. During that time, I joined the volunteer fire department and became an Emergency Medical Technician, just as a hobby. But after a year, I noticed a striking difference between business and medicine: if you are good at something in business, you do not share that knowledge because it increases your value over your competition. But in healthcare, your value is based on what you are able to teach and provide for others, thereby improving their lives and positively impacting your community.

Grace’s Promise

Written by Grace Herrick, Founder of Grace's Promise Incorporated

My interest in science and sustainability began long before my introduction to global health. In junior high school, a working solar updraft tower I created won awards at Connecticut Science and Engineering Fair, and was subsequently featured on the local news for having captured the attention of a wide audience- most likely for its size and appearance, as it took up a sizable portion of my front yard! I continued working on sustainable energy projects through my high school career, during which I also periodically attended the Global Health Evening events.

Magical Mountain

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

As a physician, I strive to diminish the expanse between myself and those who suffer. It is through enduring pain and suffering helps me better understand and advocate for those in need. The last seven hours of the climb in particular induce all manner of suffering: difficulty breathing, extreme exhaustion, bitter subfreezing temperatures, gusting dusty winds, crushing bone, joint, and chest pain, cramps, severe headache, sore throat, and nausea. These forces battle with you to send you back down to the bottom of the mountain. You fight just to keep your balance.