Elective Rotation Field Stories

Mehta front of Siriraj

“The most memorable experience I had during my rotation was attending an advanced endoscopy conference in Pattaya. I learned about emerging endoscopic techniques from international experts, saw live demonstrations, listened to several engaging review lectures, and heard about new meaningful research in the field. This experience also equipped me with insight into nuanced differences in clinical guidelines and practice between the US, Asia, and Europe. I found this experience extremely gratifying given my interest in gastroenterology.”

Kurren Mehta, Internal Medicine, Siriraj Hospital, Bangkok, Thailand, March-April 2023

Dillon 1

“I joined the Street Medicine team for 4 days of community outreach and medical care. We drove around in a van filled with food, water, sleeping bags, warm clothes, and medical supplies, checking on people living on the street. The team knew many of the people and aimed to build a trusting relationship with each new person we encountered. Many people who are homeless have experienced poor treatment from the healthcare system and are reluctant to seek care, even in an emergency, due to past discrimination.  

As doctors, I think we forget about how hard it can be for patients to come into a hospital or doctor’s office – there’s a sense of loss of control, and for people with prior negative experiences, it may even be traumatic.  Re-establishing trust between a healthcare system and all people in a community is important so that healthcare is equitable and welcoming for all.”

Sarah Dillon, Med-Peds, Northern Navajo Medical Center, Shiprock, New Mexico, March-April 2023


“I realized my “Duke normal” was incredibly different from the Moshi community’s “normal” [in terms of illness and treatment]. I saw how my prior experiences can influence differential diagnosis and management.  I am grateful for the opportunity that I had to learn from local residents and attendings at KCMC about endemic diseases, including presentation and management.”

Cole Shapiro, Pediatrics, Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre, Moshi, Tanzania, January-February 2023




“We witnessed so much death … I saw preventable, unnecessary loss of life from uncontrolled hypertension, untreated tetanus, unknown and disseminated tuberculosis. However, what I will forever take away from this experience is the dogged, unwavering resilience and commitment from the KCMC team. We strove to provide the best care for every patient, every time.

This rotation increased my interest in and commitment to incorporating global health throughout my career. This was my longest global health experience and it really helped me be able to envision a future where I am able to commit to on-the-ground experiences.

Emily Zalimeni, Med-Peds, Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre, Moshi, Tanzania, January-February 2023

Med Team in front of CCU

“The whole experience [at Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital in Eldoret] in Kenya was memorable … from working with my colleagues in the hospital to interacting with non-clinical staff and patients. I was impressed by how much time we spent rounding patients. Because of limited access to diagnostics, my colleagues had exceptionally good history taking skills and physical exam skills.

My experiences made me appreciate the importance of goals in care conversations and how palliative care service can help patients and families deal with difficult situations. The palliative care service in Eldoret is growing and more healthcare providers are being trained to handle these types of conversations with better understanding of the context.

Chris Wanjiku, Internal Medicine, Eldoret, Kenya, January-February 2023

Tessa with members of NNMC peds team

“During my time with IHS, I had the privilege of engaging in street medicine, traveling through Shiprock and Farmington to deliver care needed to the local population experiencing homelessness. I saw a diverse array of complaints in primary care clinic, and learned the flexibility and creativity required to practice in a rural environment. I was humbled by the continued trust placed in health care providers despite the multitude of historical injustices this community has suffered.

This opportunity to work and interact face-to-face is invaluable … and I see this experience as the beginning of a lifelong global health engagement.

Tessa Barclay, Pediatrics, Northern Navajo Medical Center, April 2022


“I worked closely with the pediatrics team to devise strategies to identify adolescents at risk for developing depressive symptoms and how to properly help them find the mental health resources that would benefit them.  It was very rewarding to see the same patients that I initially saw my first few weeks come back weeks later in a much better mental head space.”

– Mike Smith, Pediatrics, July 2019


“During my rotation, I had the rare opportunity to gain first-hand experience in tackling chronic diseases in an Asian patient population – a population that I hope to serve.  I also learned unforgettable lessons on the complexity and diversity of cultural norms, health care policy, and how together they impact health and health care.”

– Nancy Yang, Medicine, July 2019


“On both the psychiatric and medical wards, the Sri Lankan providers emphasized treating the patient as a whole, and incorporating the patient’s family and support system in their treatment, which is something that I will take with me into my day-to-day work as a physician in the US.”

– Liz Gilbert, Med/Psych, March 2018


“Developing countries such as Thailand have a higher prevalence of opportunistic infections within the HIV population. Our time on infectious disease allowed us to see numerous cases of what would be rare infections in the United States. These experiences have expanded our medical knowledge of these topics and reinforced the importance of HIV prevention, early diagnosis, and treatment.”

– Annie Reihman & Luke Cerbin, Medicine, March 2018


“When we had a patient that required central venous access, my Nicaraguan co-resident taught me how to place a central line using the landmark technique. I showed him how to place a central line using ultrasound-guidance, which is now standard of care in many developed countries. This mutual sharing of information made my rotation a really interesting and meaningful experience.”

– Laura Miller, Med-Peds, March 2018


“As the acting attending for the pediatrics service at Tenwek, I developed more independence and autonomy as a physician and learned to better lead and teach the residents with whom I worked.”

– Megan Pike, Pediatrics, January 2018


“Having the opportunity to work with smart, caring people who are willing to do more than what is asked of them to take lifesaving actions for the sake of our patients – this is one of the reasons why I was inspired to go into medicine – and my time in Eldoret allowed me to live that.”

– Vishwan Pamarthi, Radiology, January 2018


“I took care of many patients at KCMC who could not afford their medications and who did not show up to clinic appointments because they could not afford to pay transportation costs. Even though I was halfway across the world, I could not help but be reminded of my patients at the Duke Outpatient Clinic, who often face the same exact problems related to their care. My global health experience has strengthened my resolve to try and figure out how to make care more affordable for patients both in low-income settings like Tanzania, and in low-income neighborhoods right here in the US.” 

– Caroline Sloan, Medicine, July 2017