Thank you so much for taking time to look at our blog! We are a group of edical students who are passionate about training and in underserved areas. This January and February, we are in Peru, the Dominican Republic and Costa Rica internationally as well as locally in Flint and Lansing completing volunteer service, rotating in hospitals and clinics, and learning about international medicine and local underserved health care. We appreciate any time you take to read our reflections and any donations you might offer.

Please click the “Donate” link on the side for more details on how to give directly to these communities.

Friday, February 17

Private Practice in Flint

As Ji-sun mentioned below we both have been working at a private clinic in Flint that provides care specialized in internal medicine and pediatrics. The clinic functions as a safety net health center serving some of the most vulnerable individuals of the Flint community. Most patients fortunately have been able to obtain health insurance following the Affordable Care Act, however the clinic still offers care to those uninsured/ underinsured struggling to find care. Being able to work alongside a variety of providers in both the primary care and urgent care setting has allowed for immense learning opportunities. I have become more familiar with the management of chronic conditions such as hypertension and diabetes as well as learned how to manage acute presentations ranging from upper respiratory infections to ankle sprains.

In addition to our clinical responsibilities Ji-sun and I chose to focus our community project on health education. In many outpatient clinics, like this one, providers have large patient loads leaving very limited time for educating patients about their health. Understanding the impact that education can have in helping patients manage their health we chose to provide diabetes health education at the clinic. With the high patient loads of the clinic many patients find themselves waiting 1-2 hours to be seen, which for us was a perfect time to focus on providing health education. This thought to serve 2 things: opportunities to provide health education and patients would not be so focused on their waiting time. The waiting room provided a perfect avenue to implement education on a diversity of health related topics. We provided patients with simple yet important handouts covering topics such as what diabetes is, common symptoms, medication use, nutrition and physical activity information. We also spent time working individually with patients that desired more information about managing their chronic condition. Patients shared how being better informed about their diabetes made them feel more confident in being able to work with their provider to better manage their health. 

Empowering patients to take on a more active role in their health is essential and the health outcomes are by far better, thus we hope that our efforts in promoting health education are continued!

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