Seeking a medical anthropology field school for summer 2015? Check out Himalayan Health Exchange:
“We began organizing “health expeditions” in 1996. Founder Ravi Singh, a native of Himachal Pradesh now living in the U.S., organized two trips that year. With the help of U.S.-based health care professionals, his desire was to bring basic healthcare to those in need within his home state. Himalayan Health Exchange now covers four regions of the Himalayas. On each trip, approximately 1,200 – 2,000 patients receive care..
A team of health care professionals, medical, dental, nursing students and other volunteers sets up “primary and public health camps” in villages, local schools and monasteries. Focus is to improve health and well being of the native population. Public health is integrated into our health camps and awareness campaign includes oral and general hygiene, nutrition, reproductive health and prevention of pterygium, and rheumatic heart disease.
Working side by side with local health care providers, we administer general medical and dental care, and provide free medicines, toothbrushes, toothpaste and reading and sun glasses to patients. Depending on the make-up of the team and the needs of the patients, certain specialties may be utilized. Each time a team is formed we learn of each member’s skills (i.e. their specialties) and discuss with local health officials their needs to determine how to contribute the best possible care to the local patient population. We always maintain a professional respect for the local health care delivery system as well as any religious or cultural customs associated with illness and health.
Our health camps are not all work, however. Ample time is included for exploring the surrounding region. A typical camp-day comprises six hours of clinical work. Depending on the group’s wishes, we may tour or hike for the remainder of the day. We return for a relaxing evening to enjoy a meal and conversation before retiring for the night.”