- Vinroot, Richard Allen; Seoane, Leonardo
- As a product of several work/study abroad programs dating to my undergraduate years and continuing through medical school and residency, I can attest to the importance that these programs have had on my educational and medical experiences, as well as on decisions I have made as a physician. As an undergraduate at the University of North Carolina, I was involved in a work abroad program in West Africa. I lived and worked among Africans as I labored on a farm and in a brick factory and helped construct a school. Some of the more notable experiences during this time led me to commit my life to becoming a physician, a decision confirmed during several subsequent programs in other parts of the world. Later, prior to medical school, the time I spent volunteering in a mission hospital in Central Africa cemented my decision to pursue a master's degree in public health.; After I graduated from medical and public health schools, my early experiences abroad led to my decision to deploy with Doctors Without Borders as a tuberculosis/human immunodeficiency virus field physician in East Africa and to join other physicians in Haiti following the devastating earthquake there. All of these experiences would have been unlikely had I not been encouraged to participate in that first program in Ghana during my college years. I thank my parents for this foresight. My experiences with international healthcare influenced my career choice, reaffirmed my humanism, and improved my cross-cultural understanding. Although most medical students seek international rotations to help and improve the communities they work with, it is my experience that the students receive much more from their experiences than they give.
- The Ochsner Journal Journal
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