One year ago, I was given a life changing opportunity to intern at San Ignacio Community Hospital in San Ignacio, Belize. Each day brought something new: a man limping towards the emergency room with a deep shin laceration after a machete fight, mothers and their children waiting to be evaluated by a pediatrician for the first time, and numerous teen women who would soon be in delivery with no previous prenatal care. Patients traveled miles by foot, bike, or taxi to be seen at the hospital every day and we worked until all were cared for. Consequently, I witnessed how a public health system functions in a rural, considerably underserved community.
Throughout my time in San Ignacio, I worked with a variety of health care professionals from different backgrounds while researching the country’s greatest health challenges. At a population of slightly over 300,000, and almost half living in poverty, Belize does not yet have the economics to provide the level of health care that is accessible just a three and a half hour plane ride north. However, while working with patients affected by Belize’s most common diseases, I learned that many of the conditions could be avoided with preventive measures such as annual screenings, vaccinations, health education, and access to primary care. While my team and I regularly brainstormed constructive ideas, we were with limited resources and time. Therefore, my desire to study the country’s public health system grew, and the want to return and improve the patients’ quality of life was instilled in me.
Although my interest in public health significantly increased during my time abroad, it began long before interning in San Ignacio and has continued to grow since my return. As an undergraduate ear...
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...ation curriculums will train me to evaluate underserved populations along with complex global health issues and provide solutions to such issues through program design, policy development, and interventions to progress health care. Additionally, the concentration’s international practice experience will prepare me to work proficiently in invigorating circumstances and apply what I learn directly to the field. As a St. Louis native, I would thoroughly enjoy furthering my education in my hometown. It would be an honor to do so at such a renowned institution well known for its research, affiliation with distinguished health organizations, and contribution to global health. Receiving my master of public health at St. Louis University will undoubtedly lead me to a rewarding and purposeful career that will not only improve my own life, but more importantly, someone else’s.
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