Upstream Executive Director, Dr. Ryan Meili, is in Mozambique this summer as part of a program that gives medical students an opportunity to work with underserved populations and get a better understanding of the social determinants of health! Back in 2010, when Ryan was on a similar trip coordinating the program, he took some time to blog about his experience.
We’re going to share a few of those experiences with you here, some four years later.
Wishing all the best to Ryan, Mahli, Abraham, and the students!
Making The Links is a program of the College of Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan. Each year 6 medical students are selected to spend 6 weeks in Northern Saskatchewan (Ile a-la-Crosse or Buffalo River Dene Nation), work at SWITCH, Saskatoon's interdisciplinary student-run clinic, and spend 6 weeks in Massinga, rural Mozambique. This is the 7th year of the program, and this blog will chronicle some of the experiences of this year's participants with a particular focus on Massinga.
Students who participate in the program have a practical experience of working in low-resource settings, they also develop a meaningful understanding of what really makes a difference in people's lives: the determinants of health.
We first started this program with the intention of allowing students to have an experience of working with underserved communities in multiple contexts. Northern Saskatchewan, inner-city Saskatoon and rural Africa are very different places. However, they share a lot of common features. Students who participate in the program have a practical experience of working in low-resource settings, they also develop a meaningful understanding of what really makes a difference in people's lives: the determinants of health.
Determinants of Health
1. Income status
3. Social support networks
4. Employment and working conditions
5. Early childhood development
6. Physical environment
7. Personal health practices and coping skills
8. Biological and genetic factors
9. Health services
12. Mass media technology (i.e., television viewing and physical inactivity)
This year Mahli* and I will be in Massinga for one month working in the Hospital Rural de Massinga. We will then be joined by 6 medical students from the U of S. Our time here will be a mix of clinical work, community development and cultural experience. I'll use this blog to share stories of our experience here, to share the voices and stories of the students, health workers and the people of Mozambique, all with a special focus on the determinants of health.
*Ryan’s wife, Mahli has again joined Ryan and the students in Mozambique, as well as their two year old son, Abraham. What an adventure!