October 2016 | Deireadh Fómhair 2016

Student Report on U21 Health Sciences Summer School

Fri, 7 October 16 20:42

During Summer 2016, UCD sponsored three students to attend a Universitas 21 Health Sciences Summer School in Santiago. One of the students, Lok Yi Tan (UCD Medicine Stage 4) reports on the experience.

On July 11th 2016, Health Sciences students from across the globe made their way to Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile in Santiago for a two–week course entitled ‘Universitas 21 Health Sciences Summer School’. UCD, as a research-intensive university, is part of the Universitas 21 Health Sciences Group. This relationship has provided three of us (Lisa, Connor and I) from UCD with the privilege of participating in this summer school.

This year’s topic was on “Early Critical Windows of Preventive Interventions”. We were also joined by 7 Chilean students from Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile, each of different disciplines. There were thirty-two of us all together, comprising the specialities of medicine, nursing, public health, physiotherapy, pharmacy, kinesiology, traditional Chinese medicine etc.

The summer school catered for different styles of teaching, such as lectures, group discussions, presentations and clinical visits. The lectures and clinical visits were divided into several areas of health sciences, all of which has given us a better in depth knowledge about the Chilean health care system and also topics around pregnancy, neonatal, infant and early-childhood care in genetics, pharmacology, dentistry, nutrition, breast-feeding, child psychomotor development and psychosocial stimulation. It was an enriching experience where we were invited to share our own countries’ experience and health care systems during lectures and group discussions. We had presentations at the end of the 2 weeks to translate what we had learnt into identifying a problem and providing a solution for it. For example, my group discussed post-partum depression and its preventive interventions.

We enjoyed the clinical visits the most, as we experienced firsthand the Chilean healthcare system, which is one of the best in South America. This clinical or practical visit covered infant massage, preparation of nutritious meals for pregnant women in terms of combating gestational obesity, observing early postpartum attachment and breastfeeding, and visit to a child rehabilitation centre.

There was also time for touring the city. Our Chilean classmates were very welcoming; they helped us a lot in discovering the wonderful city of Santiago, and also gave us a better understanding about their healthcare system. The organiser brought us to a port city called Valparaiso which is one and a half hours away from Santiago. It is also one of the UNESCO World heritage sites, decorated with colourful murals and graffiti. We created a whatsapp group shortly after the first day so that we could stay connected and keep in touch in the future.

The summer school has given us the chance to know how important early life intervention and management are. One of the most significant aspects for me was knowing that prevention is better than a cure, and how this ties in to my studies in the future. This is truly a great and memorable summer school course. I would like to thank UCD School of Medicine for the funding and U21 Health Sciences committee for such amazing opportunity.


We are delighted to receive student reflections on their experience in UCD. Please send suggestions to comms.medicine@ucd.ie