November 2014

Partners in Health – Addressing Social Injustices that Give Rise to Poor Health

Mon, 24 November 14 13:40

This summer, 2 UCD Medicine students – Maeve Montague and Hannah Hughes – got the chance to collaborate with UCD graduate Dr. Louise Ivers on projects at PiH’s Boston office related to cholera, gender-based violence, and HIV in Haiti. Previous PIH interns have gone on to become medical doctors, economists, researchers, and non-profit program managers.

Maeve Montague who completed the internship programme in 2014 said:

Working with Dr. Louise Ivers in Boston provided me with many opportunities: witnessing and contributing to the academic side of global health; experiencing another health perspective; and becoming immersed within a group of people passionate about advancing the right to health.

Working in an office amongst Harvard academic staff, I had the chance to avail of Harvard lectures, discussions, and seminars organised through both the schools of Public Health and Medicine. I attended talks ranging from a clinician’s response to humanitarian disasters, to the social determinants of an epidemic - and had the chance to brush up on my PubMed and EndNote skills through classes held in the Countway Library.

Working with Dr. Ivers and Jessica Teng, her assistant, also allowed for hearing first hand accounts of what it is to work in areas lacking effective health systems. Though this was not a clinical internship, attending a weekly infectious diseases clinical conference in the Brigham and Women’s Hospital provided a great opportunity to gain some insight into presenting clinical cases and understanding the mechanisms at play in diagnosis.

As a member of the Partners In Health (PIH) intern group, I also had the privilege of working alongside some of the most avid and inspirational people who have, are, and will, contribute to the global health arena. Through weekly seminars - which subject varied from personal stories of activism, health care systems, to social theory – we were encouraged to enhance our own judgment and perceptions of global health, and were equipped with a foundation and the tools to take our lessons and apply them as we continue in our careers.

Hannah Hughes who also availed of the internship in 2014 said:

As rewarding as studying medicine in your country of origin is, in applying for the internship I was eager to expand my reach and knowledge in the many different areas of global health. I was fortunate to share this opportunity with 21 other like-minded, wonderful interns from across Ireland and the US The internship as a whole was at truly enlightening experience; form learning about the process of book editing and publication, to infectious disease hospital meetings, educational seminars and informal discussions about current, pressing issues facing global health.

During my time in Boston, I was working under the direction and guidance of Dr. Louise Ivers, an inspirational mentor, whose dedication to her work and tireless efforts to improve the standard of healthcare in Haiti, alongside her colleague Jessica Teng, is something that I will forever remember. Dr Ivers and Jessica truly made the experience what it was for me and I feel lucky to have been able to contribute to their crucial work in global health over the summer.

UCD School of Medicine and Medical Sciences would like to thank Dr Louise Ivers, Ms Jessica Teng, and all staff and students at Partners in Health for facilitating Hannah and Maeve’s projects this summer.

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Caption: Hannah Hughes, Jessica Teng (Haiti Research Project Manager at Partners In Health / Brigham and Women's Hospital) and Maeve Montague