Global Health Education at Glendale Adventist Family Medicine Residency Program
Family Medicine residency training provides comprehensive clinical knowledge and skills for physicians preparing for a Global Health career. The Glendale Adventist Family Medicine Residency Program is expanding its training focus to include formal Global Health education. The plan builds on 35 years of experience in training outstanding Family Medicine physicians; on the rich diversity of clinical, training and managerial human resources available at the Glendale Adventist Medical Center; on the current involvement of the GAMC faculty in Global Health education and programs; and on the large network of Adventist hospitals and health care organizations worldwide. It aims at providing opportunities to residents to explore their interest in Global Health and at contributing to the global health workforce by providing international consultant services in the development of Family Medicine training programs and services in low and middle-income countries.
About five percent of our graduates historically have practiced part of their career in global health in Nepal, Japan, China, South Korea and Guatemala.
Our faculty have traveled to Armenia, Malawi, Mexico, India and Tanzania for medical projects and are enthusiastic about establishing long-term partnerships in several regions of the world.
Recently, our residents have been to Poland, China, Ecuador, Guam, Malawi, Cambodia, Honduras, Costa Rica, England and Israel on elective rotations.
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Armenia- A Faculty's Perspective
I had no idea what to expect when I got on the plane to Armenia. I had left the country when it was part of the Soviet Union and now more than 19 years after its independence, a deadly earthquake, blockades and financial instability I was going back. I was disappointed at first when I saw crumbling infrastructure and buildings. Some of the hospitals I visited had non-functioning elevators, lack of equipment, very old beds. I also spent a lot of time with a neurosurgeon who was the head of the department and performed very complicated surgeries but had to purchase used surgical equipment from flea markets. I had hope though, when I visited other facilities, which had managed to get support from overseas organizations.
I was extremely pleased with the Woman's Health Center in Yerevan. This is the only facility that focuses on preventive care and offers services such as paps and mammograms to women. They receive funding, equipment, and training from the US and while I was there they were expanding their services to include well childcare and immunizations. I also heard of other hospitals and clinics like the Heart and Vascular Hospital, the Diabetes Clinic and the Armenian eye project that were successful in providing quality care to patients.
I was most impressed by the doctors I met. They did not have much to work with and many got paid very little but their passion for medicine and helping others kept them motivated. I met a village doctor whose patients brought him eggs, honey, fruits and vegetables and whatever else they grew in their gardens. Although he did not mind providing the services for free he never declined what patients gave him. He said that it would be an insult to decline and the patients will not come back for free care or "handout" if they have nothing to offer in return.
I was very hopeful when I left Armenia. I understand that a lot of work still needs to be done and support is needed from individuals as well as organizations to improve the infrastructure and quality of care. I also know that there are many dedicated people who are willing to work hard to make healthcare in Armenia affordable and accessible. -Dr. Sirvard Khanoyan
Tanzania- A Faculty's Perspective
I went to Tanzania in 2007 and worked with the Shirati Health Education and Development (SHED) Foundation. This foundation had a residence where we stayed with other volunteers and were well cared for by a group of locals who worked for the Foundation. Our clinic was just down the road a few miles and afforded a view to Lake Victoria and Uganda and Rwanda on the other side. As our slow moving jeep would drive down the road, local children would run along side screaming, "Hello lady! Hello!"
Our clinic was a cement block building where one front door led to the waiting room and the other front door led to one of the two examining rooms. In these examining rooms, we saw folks with Malaria, Tuberculosis, Burkitt's Lymphoma, Diarrheal illness, Schistosomiasis and other endemic diseases. We attended wounds and gave injections for vaccines and for treatment. In the other part of the building were rooms for very sick and those with Tuberculosis who needed direct observed therapy. One other room was the delivery room with its table with the bucket at the end for capturing the fluids of birth. Most body fluids were buried at the back of the property, next to the deep hole outhouse.
It was an amazing experience and I got to see where the African-American population got so much of its vibrant culture by being there. I also felt that I made a small contribution to helping the patients and the health care workers at least a short period. After my clinic work, I traveled to the other side of Tanzania and spent a week climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro. -Dr. Katrina Miller
Malawi- A Resident's Perspective
My experience in Malawi increased my awareness of the health care need in developing countries and the importance of taking part in the global health mission and community-oriented care. It gave me a better understanding of the health care challenges and interplay of health services and outreach in the community. I felt privileged to meet the individuals who are visionaries and are passionate about caring and serving people in their community. I'm inspired and challenged to serve not only in the community here but in the developing countries in the future. I hope to promote an interest in Global Health for health care providers and foster the vision for others to get involved in international medical work. -Dr. Amy Hung