Tufts is a place where I feel constantly encouraged to look beyond my immediate perspectives and seek out opportunities to participate in active change. This past month, I traveled to Ayaviri, Peru, a rural mountainous town at 1500ft. Here, I participated in a medical mission working alongside a well established organization called Misiones Medicas. For a few days we hiked through rural Peru stopping at various towns and villages along the way providing medical attention to many individuals that had never been to a doctor before. After we spent about a week setting up a stationary clinic that welcomed about 3,000 visitors each day that traveled from all over Peru to be seen by our doctors and volunteers. At the clinic we set up a triage to direct patients to various departments in the clinic such as Pediatrics, Internal Medicine, OBGYN, physical therapy, and dentistry. We had each of these units run smoothly in addition to a laboratory to test for various conditions or to confirm diagnoses, and a pharmacy that distributed medications. I worked in the Pediatrics department shadowing 3 infectious disease pediatricians where we saw countless cases of parasitic infections, malnutrition, and poor vision. It was an incredible experience to be able to witness a relatively small group of doctors and volunteers create such an immense impact.
I had traveled to Peru for the same medical missions pre-pandemic, but this was the first time the mission had visited this area in about 3 and a half years. Being pre-medicine, I was elated to hear the mission was returning and left college to participate in this meaningful mission. I received overwhelming support from all my Tufts professors who were incredibly understanding of my missing school. To have the chance to be a medical assistant and practice my Spanish for an extended period of time and learn first hand how to treat and care for patients was an experience like no other.
Returning to Tufts after being away, although I had a lot of school work to catch up on, I will have this fascinating experience with me forever. As I study community health and Tufts and pursue a career in medicine I am so grateful to be attending a school like Tufts where my academic endeavors are supported. As I continue for the next 2 years at Tufts I know I’ll be applying this experience to my studies and internships.