Rutgers MiniMed International

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Our Mission: Peru

Welcome to MiniMed International, a division of the NJMS MiniMed School. In existence since 2012, the program was founded by former MiniMed School students Ryan Chung, M.D., ’15 and Andrew Nouri, M.D., ‘15 in collaboration with Emeritus Professor Jacob Jay Lindenthal, Ph.D, Dr.P.H, Director of the NJMS MiniMed School. MiniMed International includes the participation of members of the New Jersey Medical and Dental School faculties who provide lectures, rounds and consults with colleagues in Huancayo, Peru during the academic year. The students who will be taking part in the program this coming summer are Aakash Shah, Naomi Atobiloye, Elizabeth Bautista, Priya Nandy, Nadeem Obaydou, Grace Ro, Savannah Roy, and Lena Sheorey.

Increasing immigration from Latin American countries has motivated us to join other medical schools in providing learning and teaching experiences in the Southern hemisphere for our medical students. The program was launched in collaboration with medical colleagues in Huancayo, the capitol of the Junin province with a population of 38,000, and with a well-established civic organization known as Chusi Wanka. The city of Huancayo provides a rich learning opportunity for our medical students because of its extreme poverty and the many health disparities faced by its citizens.

The Program

The program affords Rutgers NJMS students with a 4-week health-related work experience between their first and second year of medical school. This effort provides an outstanding opportunity for medical students to learn the rudiments of health care delivery in an emerging country burdened with many preventable diseases. This is accomplished by having our medical students shadow clinicians and participate in “rounding” at the Daniel Alcides Carrión and EsSalud Hospitals, and by attending lectures at the Escuela de Medicina de la Universidad Nacional del Centro del Peru. Students learn Spanish from their Peruvian medical student peers while reciprocating by teaching them English, as well as providing health-related lectures to the citizens of Huancayo.

The program affords students a clinical introduction to many diseases they learn about during their first year. One student reported that it was extremely interesting hearing about cases of neurocisticosis, pancytopenia, gliosis, and other diseases we learned about in the first year that I never thought I would be able to see in a patient back in the US. I also had the opportunity to observe surgeries like rhinoplasty, tonsillectomy, cleaning of septic arthritis of the knee, debridement of necrotizing fasciitis, and even a live birth, something that I would not have been able to do until at least third year of medical school.”

Student Participation

NJMS students participate in other activities – they teach young children in “HIV orphanages” about the basics of good health and disease prevention, assist in the care of the elderly and of mentally disabled children, learn about the management of elevated blood pressures and higher respiration rates, understandable in view of the 11,000 foot elevation of Huancayo, and address the high incidence of nutritional and vitamin deficiencies and joint diseases. Learning to become better physicians takes place on a continuing basis throughout an often ten-hour day. Students are offered ample opportunity to converse with patients and members of the community at large, during which topics such as alcoholism and the need for good hygiene and nutrition are discussed.

NJMS students are sensitized first-hand to the ravages of poverty, the use of outdated healthcare equipment and little public health awareness. A poignant experience reported by one of our participants could not provide a better illustration:

“The house visits to the elderly and to sick children may have been the most heart breaking of my experience. In one visit we met a sweet constantly smiling elderly woman who had fractured both of her hips. She was in constant excruciating pain and could not afford any pain medication. She could no longer walk, had no wheelchair, and slept on a blanket placed on a few cushions on top of the concrete floor. Myself and the other medical students did what we could do, offered advice to alleviate pain, checked her vitals, conversed with her, played a game of Jenga, and provided her with some fruits, bread, socks, and hygienic products. Although we felt like we did not do much to affect her quality of life and prognosis, she was extremely grateful and she could not stop thanking us and thanking God for what we had done.”

Peruvian medical students are also engaged in teaching their North American peers a variety of clinical skills including different suturing techniques as well as practicing intradermal and subcutaneous injections. The variety of learning experiences was poignantly expressed by one of our returning students in the following words: “I met a 10-year-old girl … who suffers from Type 2 osteogenesis imperfecta. She has suffered dozens of fractures in her arms and legs, and her ribcage is so deformed that it is slowly compressing her heart and lungs, which is making it difficult for her to breathe. The surgery she desperately needs is in Lima, which her parents cannot afford. It was heartbreaking to see how brilliant and smart she was, with her talented drawing and English skills, and knowing I could not do anything more for her than cheer her day for an hour by doing coloring activities.”

Another returning student summed up his experience by writing that “I was able to learn about the economic and geographic healthcare challenges of a developing South American nation and began to understand how similar our healthcare challenges are back home in Newark and across the country. Regardless if you live in Huancayo or Newark, Peru or the United States, as we strive to become more advanced societies we cannot forget the need to take care of those most vulnerable, because we can only be as strong as our weakest,” while another wrote, “I am looking forward to the next time I would be able to visit Huancayo and make a bigger impact when I do become a doctor.”

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You will work with the local population providing them medical care

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Our students will get exposer to the history and culture of the people of Cusco

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Our students will work at the local Medical Clinic alongside with the medical Physicians of Cusco

Not All Work and No Play!

Student's will be able to enjoy their downtime. There are numerous of ancient and historical places in which to visit so that you'll get the full exposure the Peruvian culture.