“I Hope to Someday Be a Good Doctor”

Written by Katherine Callahan ’21

I have repeated the phrase “Yes, Uganda was amazing”  over and over for the past two weeks. It isn’t a lie, but it also isn’t the full truth. My time in Uganda made me reconsider everything, including why I want to be a doctor and whether I will even be a good doctor. I think I have come out on the side of  “I hope to someday be a good doctor,” but this experience marks the first time in my journey in medicine that I have ever doubted my path. I have wanted to be a doctor for as long as I can remember.


Wishing You All Happy Holidays and a Prosperous New Year

Written by Sister Jane Frances, Director of St. Francis Naggalama Hospital

St. Francis Naggalama Hospital is honored to be an esteemed partner of the UVMLCOM/WCHN Global Health Program family. Through this partnership, we have felt a burning flame of hope and love as Climb For a Cause raised funds for the Microbiology Unit at Naggalama Hospital. This fundraising effort has not only elevated our facility from national to international recognition, but has also deeply touched our hearts.

An Amazing First Day in Naggalama

Written by Dr. Kira MacDougall, American University College of Medicine Class of 2018

I have had the most incredible first few days here. I am grateful I decided on this elective and could not be happier with my experience thus far. On Tuesday, Gloria and I joined Shaleen on the palliative outreach trip to small villages around Naggalama. Here, palliative care is not just offered to patients with terminal diseases, but also to those with chronic conditions. We went to see our first patient who had what I believe was Burkitt's lymphoma.

Challenging Moments in Global Health: Invitations

Written by Jamidah Nakato, Assistant Lecturer at Makerere University

Challenging moments are an inherent component of global health electives, and can be ascribed to an array of sources including insufficient orientation, unrealistic expectations, unfamiliarity with the culture and way of life, or mismatch between participant and elective. “Challenging Moments in Global Health” aims to address these issues by featuring real cases that have been written by global health coordinators, directors, and leaders over the years. We hope that readers share their responses, thoughts, and personal experiences so that we as a community can learn from each others’ insights.
A participant invited a group of Ugandan doctors out for dinner, but the night took an unexpected turn when he could not settle the humongous bill.

Just a Medical Rotation? Think again! – Part II

Written by Jamidah Nakato, Assistant Lecturer at Makerere University

The Global Health Office once hosted a participant who had difficulty attending the first few clinical and cultural activities because of a physical disability. In the middle of the first week, the office scheduled a cultural excursion to a local witch doctor. Participants were given a background of witch doctors, including how they are perceived, why their services are sought, and what their contribution is to traditional medicine.

Graduation: Part IV

Written by Dr. Judith Lewis, Director of the Psychiatry Residency Training Program at the University of Vermont Larner College of Medicine

The residents were another bright spot to my visit. I met with a dozen of them, and their chatter reminded me of the camaraderie of our own resident group. We had an hour-long discussion about the similarities and differences between our two healthcare systems, them agape at the autonomy and legal rights of our patients to refuse treatment and me agape at their high patient volumes and moonlighting hours needed to “find money” to support themselves.

Graduation: Part III

Written by Dr. Judith Lewis, Director of the Psychiatry Residency Training Program at the University of Vermont Larner College of Medicine

What was reassuringly anchoring for me in this unfamiliar place were the patients. I was riveted by the experience of sitting in clinic and hearing their stories. Although the explanations for symptoms took a cultural twist, the primary diagnoses were identical to those in the United States. Patients had the same presentations of psychotic, mood, anxiety, addictive, and traumatic illnesses. They also had epilepsy, a stigmatized illness treated mostly by psychiatrists in Uganda.

Ethical Dilemmas in Global Health: Cases That Challenge Ethical Beliefs

Written by Dr. Sahand Arfaie, Critical Care Specialist and Co-Director of the Critical Care Unit at Essential Health-Fargo in North Dakota

Unfortunately, the Intensive Care Unit population here happens to be that of young lives in their twenties going about their day-to-day until they face motor vehicle accidents with little to no personal protection, resulting in severe injuries. Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is the bread and butter here in Mulago Hospital.

Just a Medical Rotation? Think again!: Part I

Written by Jamidah Nakato, Assistant Lecturer at Makerere University

Usually when I go home, tired and worn out after a long day, I sit on the living room sofa and switch on the television. At that moment, I feel entitled to watch a movie because it is guaranteed to take my mind off the usual things and onto something else. This particular night, the movie playing was “Eat, Pray, Love” in which a woman, played by Julia Roberts, leaves her comfortable life in America after a divorce in an effort to rediscover herself. She travels to India, Italy, and Bali, where she tries to get involved in a number of cultural activities. Midway through the movie, I had a feeling of deja vu! Where had I seen something like this? I realized this situation was reminiscent of many student experiences in global health programs. 

Graduation: Part II

Written by Dr. Judith Lewis, Director of the Psychiatry Residency Training Program at the University of Vermont Larner College of Medicine

Visually, to punctuate the red earth, tropical green, and drab concrete of the city, there are the bright colors of traditional Ugandan garb: bright and beautiful heavy cotton fabrics forming head wraps and traditional long dresses called gomezi, which are adorned with high shoulder puffs. Dressed in these bright colors, women walk along the roadside with goods expertly balanced on their heads. When it comes to more modern clothing, the main style is best described as tropical island meets Gucci.