Tag: medical mission

Alexander Chaitoff Alexander Chaitoff (2 Posts)

Contributing Writer

Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine

Alexander Chaitoff completed his undergraduate work at The Ohio State University and his Master of Public Health at the University of Sheffield. Interested in the nexus of health and society, he has worked in numerous research settings, including for the Ohio State University College of Public Health and Cleveland Clinic, as well as in multiple policy settings, including the United States Department of Health and Human Services and the National Health Service. In 2010, he co-founded the 501(c)3 nonprofit organization the Pure Water Access Project, Inc., a group for which he still serves as a member of the Board of Trustees. Alex is currently a second year medical student at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine.

Do You Really Have Global Health Experience? The Problems with Assigning Social and Professional Capital to Part-Time Global Health Practitioners

There is little doubt that many in the world lack access to adequate public health systems, and we know that good global health work can help these individuals. Fortunately, institutions and individuals are becoming increasingly interested in contributing to the field of global health. In fact, global health has become increasingly integrated into medical schools, so even tertiary care centers with little-to-no public health offerings afford their students opportunities to go abroad.

Medical Tourism and the Definition of Helping

“Puedo tomar su presión? Puedo tomar su pulso?” I butchered in Spanish, over and over again. Sometimes I received a smile and laugh in return, sometimes a look of confusion, sometimes a placid unfolding of the patient’s arm. I pumped the cuff up repeatedly and listened intently over the screams of playing children and the chatting of a long line of patients.


How can doctors-in-training build relationships with patients despite language barriers? Chelsea, a fourth-year medical student who will soon begin family medicine residency training in Boston, recalls the lessons she learned about the power of nonverbal communication from a patient she met while working in Rwanda.

Perspectives from the Bike: A Look at an Ecuadorian Hospital

The gray pickup truck rattled along the rocky path, careening back and forth on a steep incline that reached for the snow-capped peak masked by clouds. While tires slid and kicked up trails of dust that diffused into the mist surrounding us, I was still able to catch a glimpse of Chimborazo, a volcanic pyramid of Ecuador, through pockets of clarity in that atmosphere. Soaring at breathtaking elevations of over 20 thousand feet, Chimborazo is a point near the equator where one can be closest to the sun while standing on Earth.

Rural Appalachia: A Medical Mission in Our Own Backyard

Belize for the summer, Africa for spring break, the Philippines during winter break, and the list of medical mission opportunities goes on and on at most medical schools. Now, don’t get me wrong; I absolutely love mission trips and all of the great work that certain groups like the Christian Medical and Dental Associations and other mission-oriented organizations do for the cause. However, I feel that one vital area that definitely qualifies as a “medical mission” …

Medical Tourism: The Ethics of the Exploitation of a Vulnerable Patient Population for Financial Gain

In times of medical ailment, individuals desperately seek medical attention — in particular, a cure or treatment to alleviate their illness. In these times of need, patients turn towards physicians for a diagnosis and effective treatment plan, relying on the latest technologies and therapeutic modalities to jumpstart a return to a normal lifestyle. However, what happens when there is no treatment, no cure and no therapy? When modern medicine no longer has anything to offer, patients …

The Problem With Playing Doctor: A Critique of Student Medical Outreach from Within

“Is the pain sharp or dull?” I say to the teenaged translator next to me. Rolling her eyes, she quickly mutters something in Spanish to my distressed patient and then relays his response back in English. As she returns to texting on her cell phone, I make the final notes for this patient. Although I have reached the end of an extensive two-page history, I can’t help but feel completely unaccomplished. I’ve been told this …

Half of a Year, Halfway Across the World

Chennai, India. “How are you feeling?” I asked an elderly woman in Tamil, the local language.  She had recently been diagnosed with rheumatic heart disease at the hospital. I struggled to hide my excitement of finally being able to interact with an inpatient after three weeks of waiting for a “TB-free ward.” In the western world, we quarantine patients with tuberculosis; here they are one of the many patients in the general ward who are seen …

Getting it Right

Pharmacology is over. I sit in my house with the post-test buzz still ringing in my ear amid a rhythmic background of raindrops striking windowsills and cars sliding past outside. I doze, and the rain conjures afternoons in Borgne when the clinic visitors had slowed to a drip after the morning hubbub. The end of summer happened fast. At times I have to catch myself to remember that I am back in Rochester since the …

Christopher Hudson Christopher Hudson (4 Posts)

Columnist Emeritus

University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry

Chris graduated from the Johns Hopkins University in 2008 and received his BA in public health studies. He served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in South Africa and worked with ACTED as a development program manager in Uganda and camp manager in Haiti. He is currently in the Class of 2016 at the University of Rochester School of Medicine.

Haiti Teaches

Haiti Teaches is a column that explores the opportunities, nuances and conflicts associated with time spent as a medical student in a foreign country. It follows a second-year medical student before, during and after his two months with a community development organization in Borgne, Haiti.