Ecuador: May 2017
My experience in Ecuador was priceless. As a pediatric resident physician, I discovered how important it was to learn from the community their beliefs and practices at home which were impacting their health. I learned to ask deeper questions that reached the root of the parents concerns. Things that one can take for granted in a developed country were few and far between there, and I quickly had to become more creative with developing medical treatment plans with families who had little resources. The level of trust and hope that the families displayed when they spoke with me was so humbling and was one of the most rewarding aspects of working with the Shoulder to Shoulder program.
The learning environment was very valuable with the presence of the various disciplines including dentistry, pharmacy, nursing, physical therapy, adult medicine, and social work. I very much enjoyed working with the Ecuadorian medical students and physical therapy students who were also participating in medical care in Santo Domingo, Ecuador. We were able to teach each other the other’s native language and share knowledge and skills, which were unique to our patient population. I found my interactions with them invaluable; and I plan to go back in the near future to continue working with the Shoulder to Shoulder program and learning from the people of Ecuador.