Closed Doors Have Opened Others: Part I

Written by Katrin Sadigh, MD, WCHN assigned faculty for program development at Zimbabwe University

Rain, and plenty of it, has been cast as the main character of our first week in Harare. Not the kind of rain that even the local people expect during the rainy season, its brief, sudden arrival muddying the streets though with hints of blue skies in the distance. Now, the cloud cover does not dissipate, issuing any manner of rain, torrential or mist, overnight and throughout the day. It seems fitting somehow, as I awake each morning twisted in stiff white linens, stenciled with “University of Zimbabwe” in black letters, my dreams heavy with what I fall asleep reading.

Bringing a Unique Perspective to Healthcare

Written by Jamidah Nakato, former coordinator of the Makerere University/Yale University Collaboration, founded by the Director of the UVM Larner College of Medicine Global Health Program

I worked for the Makerere University/Yale University Collaboration as an administrator for almost six years until retiring last September to pursue my PhD. Working for the collaboration gave me the opportunity to meet new people, exchange ideas with brilliant students, staff, and visitors, and provide them with guidance or a listening ear when they needed it. At first, it was difficult to make new friends in such a short time only to say goodbye six weeks later. But with time, I felt increasingly inspired by the experience. Many of these program participants were in Uganda for the first time. Some, not ever having heard of Uganda, had found it on a map just before arriving.

The Forms of Voicelessness

Written by Majid Sadigh, MD, Trefz Family Endowed Chair in Global Health at WCHN, and Director of the Global Health Program at UVM Larner College of Medicine

As a medical resident, I traveled to a site that will be forever living in my mind, in a tiny hospital in the South of Shiraz. This land was home to the Ghasghaei, a multi-ethnic nomadic tribe of roughly 1.5 million who live in Iran and the surrounding countries. Possessing neither archives nor a written history, the Ghasghaei pass their legacy through a rich oral tradition. The scene that first comes to mind is one of family members gathered around a blazing fire. The light danced on faces entranced by the slow cadenced words of a community leader and elder. These evenings were a time for older generations to hand down the traditions and values, beautiful and singular, that have taken shape over thousands of years.

The Success of a Medical Collective

Written by Dr. Long H. Tran, J1 Scholar from Vietnam

I am grateful to have experienced and felt true American life. The organization arranged a very nice house for us close to the hospital with a nice friend from the Dominican Republic with whom we shared and exchanged our cultures. I had a warm dinner with Miss Laurie’s family for Thankgiving, a New Year party at Dr. Winter’s home, and a meeting night with international friends at Dr. Sadigh’s home. Everyone was always beside us to help, to share, and to teach. We traveled to some famous places and saw many things. I not only learned about the English language, but also about culture and communication skills, thereby gaining a greater understanding of Americans and of the United States.

Contributing a Little More Every Day

Written by Carl Nunziato, '17

I would identify most of my third year of medical school as a time when I felt helpless, without any meaningful way to contribute to patient care. While I recognized that I was early in my medical education and needed time to effectively develop my clinical skills, I often felt like a burden even though the residents and attending never treated me as such.

Woody Hard Leg

Written by Katrin Sadigh, MD, WCHN assigned faculty for program development at Zimbabwe University

Color ascends her plump form in layers—from the wide double skirt up to the chemise beneath the long sleeve blouse beneath the heavy rain jacket, up to the hat which she took off before sitting down in the chair. Despite the layers, she cannot hide her legs, the swollen, thickened skin, what we soon learn to be described clinically as “woody hard.” The shape of her sandals is imprinted on the tops of her feet. She tries to tuck her feet under the hem of the billowing skirts, but my eyes have already spotted the growth on her left lower leg. From the boggy epidermis, it rises first as skin-colored specks with sheen, resembling dewdrops.


Written by Dr. Ramapriya Vidhun, Associate Professor at the University of Vermont and Program Director at Danbury Hospital

We began our partnership with the Global Health Department at Danbury Hospital in March 2014. We were thrilled to welcome Phiona Bukirwa from Uganda. She spent most of her nine months in our department learning anatomic pathology, and participating in sign-outs and unknown case conferences and slide reviews that advanced her diagnostic skills immensely.

Cui Bono? Who Will Benefit?

Written by Katherine Wang, '17

It was the combination of Grey’s Anatomy and Mountains Beyond Mountains that convinced me my senior year of high school to consider medicine as a career—the excitement of the operating room and the journey Paul Farmer took through Haiti and beyond. It obviously was an idealized notion of both surgery and global health, but it shaped my undergraduate experience. I chose to major in anthropology, and enrolled in an introductory writing course in the subject after reading about it in Tracy Kidder’s book. I also picked up a global health studies minor because it sounded exciting and tied into my plan to complete the pre-medical coursework.

Culture As Construct: Looking Forward to a Global Health Elective in Vietnam

Written by Elizabeth O'Neill, '20

Our view of culture is essentially a construct that differs both within and among communities, as its manifestation in traditions and customs impacts people in varied ways. I chose to attend the UVM Larner College of Medicine largely because I believe in the institution’s mission and vision to promote high-value, inclusive care to people of all cultures, both locally and globally. Direct experience with clinical practice embedded within different societies is necessary to develop into a socially responsible, culturally competent physician - qualities I strive to embody as a medical student and beyond.