Sunday, February 14, 2010

Training Session #1: Community Service Learning

Friday's meeting with Dr. Berggren brought the eight of us together to hear about our goals in Ethiopia from a physician's perspective. She explained the history of the Ethiopia Outreach program--an endeavor begun by medical students. Dr. Berggren had accompanied UTHSCSA's Ethiopia Outreach team in 2008 and was able to provide us with insight from past trips. She emphasized three goals for our team as part of community service learning: preparation, mentorship, and reflection. Before we leave for Ethiopia, it is important for us to be well educated in the diseases afflicting the area as well as prepared to enter into another culture. Mentorship from Dr. Berggren, Dr. Usatine, and each other will allow us to learn from one another's experiences and hopefully improve methods of treatment. She also suggested that we keep track of a journal to record medical cases and personal/social observations which we will eventually present to our peers in order to gain feedback. Reflection is often the most significant part of community service learning since it is what leaves an impact on how we as medical students view global health.

Dr. Berggren also touched upon the interdependence of health with nutrition and clean water. Due to the vastness of that concern and the limited time and resources we have while in Ethiopia, we will be working with Common River, an NGO, to help alleviate this issue. Primarily, we will focus on providing treatments for diseases and educating the communities about preventative measures to ensure good health. Overall, our meeting with Dr. Berggren helped us to grasp just what it is we can hope to accomplish through Ethiopia Outreach and we left excited about what lies ahead. As for me, our meeting was a reality check about the great responsibility it is for us to head to Ethiopia as med students trying to treat patients. At the same time, it was encouraging to hear Dr. Berggren speak about the treatments for common ailments such as dehydration from diarrhea because we actually understood the physiology and biochem behind oral rehydration therapy! It's all making sense...

For more information on community service learning, see

No comments:

Post a Comment