The University of Utah's PA program (UPAP) offers an international rotation in Guatemala for their students. This program provides students with the opportunity to gain invaluable clinical experience and cultural exposure while serving underserved populations in Guatemala. During their time in Guatemala, students work with local healthcare providers to deliver medical care to patients in a rural setting. The program also includes Spanish language training, which helps students communicate more effectively with patients and healthcare providers in Guatemala. The Guatemala rotation is a popular choice among UPAP students, as it allows them to broaden their horizons and develop a deeper understanding of global health issues. Through this experience, UPAP students gain a greater appreciation for the importance of providing care to underserved communities both domestically and abroad.
In 2003 UPAP initiated the Thailand International Elective (TIE). TIE is intended to interest PAs in careers in International Health and to broaden their didactic skills and clinical knowledge. TIE accepts the invitation of government agencies, universities, foundations, and NGOs to visit health care programs and receive lectures in topics relevant to International Health from experts in their field. Read more about the U of U International Elective.
In 2008 the TIE program visited the Mae Tao Clinic founded by Dr. Cynthia Maung in Mae Sot, Thailand. Dr. Cynthia’s clinic provides health services to over 100,000 patients of a much larger Burmese refugee population displaced by civil war into camps along the Thailand-Burma border. The clinic provides health worker training and partners with international health organizations to improve refugee health.
This clinical elective rotation provides a journey in the western Annapurna circuit, village health and teaching, rural and urban clinical work, introductory language skills, and exposure to the culture and history of Nepal. Nepal International Elective usually occurs in the Spring semester. The elective location is Pokhara, Nepal with rotations at a local hospital during the day and then later afternoon introductory Nepali language classes for the students and faculty. The second half of the elective is located in the Annapurna Conservation Area (ACA) village of Ghandruk which has a rural health post. The team will perform outreach health camps and screenings in the villages surrounding Ghandruk. Cultural opportunities during free time include a trek to Poon Hill, and cultural sites in Katmandu.
This program requires travelers to participate in strenuous activities. The strenuous activity associated with this program is trekking in the Himalayas. If you are not able to participate in this activity, alternative activities may be available. Accommodations can be requested by contacting the Center for Disability & Access at 801-581-5020, the Learning Abroad Coordinator, or the Faculty Director. Accommodations must be requested in advance. Participants will not be reimbursed for activities in which they do not participate.
The Guatemala rural rotation is open to Physician Assistant students enrolled in their clinical training year, in good academic standing. Students will live in San Lucas and work with the local community health promoters of the San Lucas Mission. The community health promoters are local individuals, chosen by community leaders, who undergo a 3 year basic health training course. Following the course, these individuals volunteer in their communities, providing basic health care knowledge, referrals, and accompaniment of visiting medical groups.
Medical volunteers travel to several of the 33 small communities located outside of San Lucas Toliman to hold clinics, or jornadas, as coordinated by the community health coordinators. Volunteer medical groups rotate through different communities to ensure that efforts are evenly distributed.
Additionally students will have the opportunity to observe other San Lucas projects including efforts in land redistribution, reforestation, the Juan Ana Experimental Farm, the Juan Ana Fair-trade coffee project, and the Small Farmer's Project. Housing/construction programs include potable water and fuel-efficient stove projects, as well as the resettlement of communities adversely affected by deforestation and disaster. Educational programs include an elementary school, youth apprenticeship program and a Women's Center.
University of Utah Physician Assistant Program faculty will be fully participating on site throughout the rotation.
Contributions to these activities are greatly appreciated to help offset supplies, equipment and other student needs utilized during these activities.