As applications for Spring Break Out Trips (BOTs) are opening, I want to advertise for my own BOT ー Global Medical Training. I have participated in this trip since my freshman year and am finally able to lead a trip of my own. My freshman year, we went to the Dominican Republic, and this past year, we were in Nicaragua. Global Medical Training, our host organization, has four locations in Central and South America: Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Panama, and Peru.
The goal of the trips is to set up clinics in rural areas of the countries where there is little to no access to basic healthcare. In these clinics, we work in groups of 3 or 4 students, paired with a Spanish translator. We use the skills we learned during our orientation day to come to a preliminary diagnosis and then discuss with one of the available GMT doctors through it until we come to a final diagnosis. From there, we decide what medications are needed in order to treat the patient and bring the patient over to the makeshift pharmacy to obtain their medicine
As mentioned, there is an orientation day at the beginning of the trip to learn basic medical skills (e.g. how to take blood pressure, the symptoms of common illnesses). In addition to this, the GMT team teaches us about their country’s culture, history, and geography. This usually takes the form of a presentation, followed by going out to various prominent locations. Following the orientation day, there are four days of clinic work. Each day, we start at around 7-8am (due to travel time) and end before dinnertime. We also go to different locations each day, and the clinics tend to take place at schools and churches. Over the course of the four days, we are able to see hundreds of patients!
Even though it can be tiring, as it is often very hot and there are only weak fans, it is a very rewarding experience, especially when you see your next patient greet you with a thankful smile. There is also a light at the end of the tunnel because we are given a “free day” after the clinic days, in which we travel to toursity locations and can buy souvenirs, take pictures, and just relax while immersing yourself in the culture of that country.
This year, we decided to go to Peru because we have been to all of the other countries in the past and have gotten various feedback about them. Ultimately, we would like to be able to focus on one country and make a deeper connection with that community. However, in order to do so, we must weigh all of our options and decide which country we feel would benefit the most from our help and with which we felt some connection. I look forward to seeing what the GMT team of Peru has in store for us, and I hope you all consider applying to be a part of this amazing trip!