Latin America

NOTE:  Several of these Latin American sites require a certain level of Spanish fluency. If unsure of your Spanish fluency, please seek advice from FM853 course faculty: Dr. Matheny and/or Dr. Castro.

Costa Rica (IHCAI)

Clinical Rotation Description: In the primary health clinics the participant will have to work in the EBAIS (Spanish acronym for Basic Team of Health Care, this is the smallest health care unit in the Costa Rican health service). Students working at clinics will do clinical work with the local physician and the health team. Preventative services are emphasized, including immunizations, maternal child services, prenatal care, growth and development of children, nutrition, community education, community sanitation and environment, as well as continuity of care in cases chronic diseases. An important component of the rotation is the work place, school, or home visits or for immunization, child growth and development, prenatal care, and control of patients with chronic diseases or prevention and education activities. At the hospitals, students have access to the emergency room or other units of the hospitals, according to space availability. The student will participate in the everyday clinical rounds in the Internal Medicine and/or Pediatrics services and/or Women's Hospital. Spanish language skill required: Intermediate-Advanced.

Ecuador (UK-STSG)

Clinical Rotation Description: While providing primary care for this community, Shoulder to Shoulder Global (STSG) is working with the community to improve education, public health, access to safe water, and to improve economic opportunities STSG seeks to provide and promote educational, service and research opportunities for all partners involved. The Chief Medical Officer at the Centro Médico is Dr. Cristián Carrión. He will serve as the preceptor. Dr. Carrión completed his degree in Medicine and Surgery at the College of Medicine, Universidad Central de Quito and has a master’s degree in tropical medicine. Students will be working with Dr. Carrión, the Centro Médico Peace Corps volunteer and the Centro Médico staff to provide general care for an impoverished population. Spanish language skill required: Intermediate-Advanced (prefer strong conversational level of Spanish).

Community Medicine: From Rainforest to Coast-Ecuador (CFHI)

Clinical Rotation Description: Participants will experience first-hand the state of health care in Quito through clinical rotations that range from primary care, specialized clinics and emergency care. Students will also take medical and conversational Spanish classes at the Amazing Andes Language School. Cultural education continues outside of the classroom through the homestay experience and interactions with medical staff during clinical rotations. Most students take advantage of sightseeing opportunities during the evening and weekends as there are a number of museums, historical sites, weekend trips and other attractions in and around Quito. Spanish language skill required: intermediate-advanced 

Mexico: Tropical Medicine and Community-Based Care on the Coast of Mexico (CFHI)

Clinical Rotation Description: During the clinical rotations, students will have the opportunity to see Puerto Escondido’s health care system in a variety of settings. Opportunities range from working in primary care clinics to participating in rural disease control programs. One of the key health problems students will encounter in their clinical rotation is malaria which is common in tropical regions. Students may also witness cases of Chagas, dengue and common parasites. In addition to learning about tropical diseases, students will be assisting doctors in diagnosing and treating diabetes in communities that often lack the necessary resources to handle the disease on their own. Type II diabetes has also become a prevalent health problem in this town and is now one of the leading causes of death in Puerto Escondido. Students may also get a chance to participate in Malaria Brigades, a common health initiative for malaria control. Spanish language skill required: Beginner-Intermediate

Mexico: Realities of Health Access and Inequalities in Oaxaca, Mexico (CFHI)

Join local health care professionals and learn about primary care and preventative medicine, as well as community health education programs. Rotate at community clinics and hospitals serving low-income populations. Describe Mexico's three-tiered insurance system, and understand how quality of care, wait times and access to medications varies between each tier. In 1940, Mexico's life expectancy was 40 years of age. Today, with increased industrialization and longer life spans, Mexico is struggling with first-world diseases. Witness chronic conditions like diabetes and hypertension that are increasingly common as a result of poor nutrition, unhealthy lifestyle and lack of education. This program will provide participants with unique insight and cultural competency when serving the growing Mexican immigrant population in the United States and abroad. Spanish language skill required: Beginner-Advanced.

Argentina: Primary Care and Social Medicine in Latin America (CFHI)

Rotate alongside primary health care providers, the first point of access into the health care system, at clinics, community health centers, and hospitals in the University town of Cordoba, the second largest city in Argentina. Experience a more intimate style of patient-provider rapport found in Latin America, a relationship and communication style central to successful health outcomes. During consultations learn more about low-income and immigrant patient populations who do not have access to private insurance. Take part in patient education, disease prevention, and diagnosis and treatment of acute and chronic illnesses. Assist local physicians by taking vital signs, performing physical exams, and recording patient histories. Spanish language skill required:  Beginner-Advanced

Bolivia: Doing More with Less-Health Care in Remote Southern Bolivia (CFHI)

Join health professionals and become immersed in Tarija's health care system, including community clinics, secondary and tertiary level hospitals, and a leading clinic for the treatment of Chagas Disease. Chagas, the new AIDS of the Americas, currently infects 1.8 million people in Bolivia alone, primarily in rural areas. Take part in patient consultations, laboratory analysis, and prevention efforts in surrounding communities, while learning from local experts about the latest developments in Chagas research. In addition to clinical rotations, participants can choose to volunteer at a local children's shelter providing vocational training and social services for underserved youth.  Become immersed in Bolivian culture and language through conversational and medical Spanish classes while living with a local family in Tarija. CFHI participants may also organize weekend trips to nearby destinations including wineries and waterfalls in Coimata. Spanish language skill required:  Beginner-Advanced

Andean Health: Patient Care from Hospitals to Community Clinics in Ecuador (CFHI)

Experience the rich culture and history of Ecuador's vibrant capital city, Quito, located in the Andes mountain range. One of CFHI's longest-running programs, the Andean Health program offers a comprehensive experience that showcases the continuum of care and health care reforms instituted in the past several years under President Correa. Participants will come away with a holistic view of the health care systems in Quito as well as how Ecuadorians access health care services in this bustling Andean metropolis. Spanish language skill required: Beginner-Advanced.

Amazon Community Medicine:  From Rainforest to Coast (CFHI)

First travel to Ecuador’s capital, Quito, and spend one week attending Spanish language classes while taking part in clinical rotations at a tertiary care hospital based in an urban metropolis. Next, journey to the Amazon basin to learn about health issues facing rural and indigenous communities in the town of Puyo, Ecuador. In Puyo geography, resources and culture affect health care access, as the area is home to seven of Ecuador’s 13 indigenous groups. Join local health care practitioners and take part in clinical interventions, public health outreach and initiatives, and jungle community visits. Spanish language skill required: --skill determination info coming.

Please note: Not all CFHI sites listed on the CFHI website are available sites for this elective, just those listed within this FM853/Latin America site.


NOTE: The following UK AR applies to any student who is approved/selected to participate in this international opportunity/program:  Administrative Regulation 4:9