We are the Global Health Dream Team about to embark on a dream trip to Ecuador! This amazing journey all started with an email advertising the AMA Timmy Global Health Challenge and 5 friends who shared a passion for community service and global medicine. Here’s a little bit about us and what we are looking forward to in the trip.

We are currently third-year medical students at California Northstate University, College of Medicine in a small city called Elk Grove, California. As a new school, we started the Global Health and Medicine student group and as an added bonus, quickly became good friends. We found that we shared the same interest in global medicine through the stories we exchanged over many coffees. Some of us traveled abroad while others worked with diverse patient populations in the community.

Shebani explained how communities in Ghana were culturally-tied with nature and how the differences in access to water, food and sanitation compared to home illustrated a global healthcare disparity. Kyumin revealed her perseverance in learning Spanish when working with patients in her local community and how the experience gave her perspective on the impact of language on healthcare access. Purnima shared her experience in Honduras where she learned how international community clinics can help bridge gaps in healthcare disparities abroad. Cindy shared a touching empathetic moment with a patient with a similar cultural background as herself and taught us how an understanding of others’ cultures can be a source of support and comfort in medicine. Finally, Aaron taught us to celebrate with patients on their victories when they succeed in reaching their diet or weight goals, however big or small the progress and from whatever walk of life they come from.

Through our discussions, we found that even though all of us grew up in California, we all had different ideas of what global medicine means to us and what we can do to explore it, experience it and bridge the gaps within it. We teach each other by sharing experiences and we hope to learn from our patients’ stories when we hear from them abroad!

We are excited to share this journey with the world and will be updating our experiences through these blog posts so stay tuned!