Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Stacy J. GH '17, Cerebral Palsy Case Studies at Sargur

This summer, I was fortunate enough to work at Vivekananda Memorial Hospital in Sargur, India. Unlike other hospitals I have worked at, VMH had a very active Community Health Department that worked with local people to implement initiatives to improve their health. Among their many projects, I worked with Dr. Manohar to create case studies of children with cerebral palsy who were beneficiaries of the hospital’s Chaitanya Vahini program. Not only was I able to research and learn more about cerebral palsy, but I sat in during physical therapy sessions at the hospital, interviewed patients and parents, and went along for home visits along the rural countryside. I also created questionnaires and research proposals for the maternal and child health initiative and Mobile Health Units.

General ward at Sargur hospital.
Being placed in Sargur was the best of both worlds. We had a small town to go fruit shopping at during our down time, and living inside a hospital allowed us to make friendships with the physicians, medical residents, and staff. The hospitality was amazing. We were invited to dinner at one of the physician's homes where we watched her cook dinner and ate homemade dosas. Since VMH also targets rural, tribal populations, I was also able to visit these communities through the Mobile Health Units that deliver care and medicine daily to these tribal villages. During my free time, I was also able to shadow the delivery room and the operation room. It was incredible to see how much the hospital could do with the resources that they had.

Mobile Health Clinic Van from Sargur Hospital.

Overall, India was an incredible experience. I learned so much about myself these two months. Not only was I able to learn so much about the culture through trips and my new friends, but I also feel like I genuinely contributed to the needs of the hospital. The Global Health program at Cornell has truly allowed me to open my eyes to the needs of global communities and learn how to learn from and work with them in an effective, culturally appropriate way. I can’t wait to visit again!

Stacy dressed in scrubs to observe surgery in Sargur Hospital.

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