Students Going Global: Panama

Who We Are

Students Going Global is comprised of a group of first and second year medical students and faculty from the Health Science Center that travel to rural, medically underserved areas in Panama over Spring Break. Under the phenomenal leadership of Health Science Center faculty and physicians, the group provides a look into medical treatment in Canazas, Panama as well as an opportunity to deliver free medical services to underprivileged populations living far from available health care. Student Going Global partners with the Canazas Hospital and local physicians to fulfill our mission. The program leaves students with the knowledge, compassion, and experience to become patient-oriented physicians with a broad global health prospective.

Our Work

We are continually revamping our trips to optimize student learning and provide maximum medical experience. On our latest trip to Canazas, Panama students/faculty were able to shadow and work alongside physicians in the Canazas hospital. It was a great opportunity to see how the Panama healthcare system functions. Working in the hospital also offered perspective on what kind of aid we could offer the community as a whole in the future. We took two trips to rural areas outside Canazas where individuals did not have transportation to Canazas. In these locations, we ran small student-run clinics under the direction of a faculty physician.

In Canazas and the surrounding areas, there is a large problem with malnutrition among growing infants and children aged 6-9 years. These children are afflicted with learning/development deficits due to nutritional deficiencies. The major reasons for malnutrition include cultural traditions, poverty, and frequent parasitic infections. In the future, we hope to address this issue in a sustainable manner.

Our Commitment

Our commitment is to provide medical students with the opportunity to work with physicians in order to gain a global perspective on healthcare. We hope to increase the magnitude, as well as the efficiency with which we are able to provide free healthcare to individuals who do not have access to treatment.

Students interested in participating in Students Going Global’s annual trip to Panama should first enroll in the Global Health Elective (ELEC 5047) and then complete an application form.

Past & Current Faculty Mentors

Dr. Richard Usatine