As a volunteer, I will have the opportunity to partner with local orphanages to support the Peruvian children in learning about dental hygiene, simple ways to prevent disease, and picking foods that are the most nutritious. This will be done by assisting with vaccine administration, fluoride dental treatments, and spending time interacting with the children through play and learning. Prevention is extremely important in medicine, and is very effective in fostering healthy habits in children.
About Huancayo, Peru
La Merced is a jungle region close to Lima, the capital of Peru. Medical facilities are both very crowded and understaffed. Many cases seen are those that could have easily been prevented by practicing personal hygiene and healthy living habits. While indicators of the country's health have improved over several decades (life expectancy, maternal death rates, infant death rates, infertility rates), there are still many disparities among poorer regions which are worsened by high poverty rates and a lack of basic health education.
FIMRC: Foundation for the International Medical Relief of Children
FIMRC is a non-profit organization that allows students to improve the health of children internationally in areas in need through volunteer work. The organization establishes needs by meeting with local hospital directors and learning about the region's healthcare system and its critical shortcomings. Modern clinical care and public health campaigns are established and facilitated by health care professionals alongside students and other volunteers.
My Journey into Medicine
I have loved medicine and serving the needs of others for as long as I can remember. When I was 7 years old, I was diagnosed with asthma and treated at the Medical University of South Carolina (I even remember telling the nurses that I was proud to have asthma). While my condition wasn't extremely debilitating, I saw children severely affected by theirs. This kindled my desire to learn about diseases and sick kids at a young age. I had books about the human body which I read for personal interest, and in middle school, I had the opportunity to shadow my pediatrician and this reaffirmed my love for medicine. In high school, I completed a series of biomedical classes and AP science courses. Now, I am a sophomore at the University of South Carolina and was recently accepted into the Upper Division Nursing program. When I am home in Charleston, I volunteer at East Cooper Medical Center as a candy striper where I assist nurses with keeping OB-GYN patients comfortable and giving NICU babies the love and attention they need by rocking, swaddling and feeding them. While in Columbia, I volunteer at Palmetto Health Children's Hospital where I play and craft with children being treated for a wide variety of conditions to lift their spirits and distract them from any pain they may be experiencing. These are experiences which I am honored to be a part of and excite me for my career ahead. This opportunity to serve in Peru is unique because I would be exposed to another country's healthcare system, have an unfiltered view of the critical needs of others, and give me more clinical exposure than is allowed in the United States. I hope to attend graduate school and complete a doctorate program, and I know this would be a trip I would always remember and would motivate me during my toughest moments.
Cost and Logistics
$1234: 3 meals a day, transportation to and from the clinic/ orphanage from the airport and hotel and all site activities (shadowing, community outreach, etc.)$850 (approximately): Flights to and from SC to Peru
$150 (approximately): Exploring Peru's culture beyond the clinic
Final Payment Deadline: April 7, 2018
Trip Dates: May 12-20, 2018