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Global Health in Costa Rica

An EPIC Advantage Program

Overview   |   About the Team   |   In Their Words ...   |   Photo Gallery

Earlham College has once again funded international travel experiences for students pursuing careers in public health as part of a continuing partnership in Latin America.

Earlier this summer, nine Earlhamites, a majority of whom have never traveled outside of the United States, worked alongside medical professionals from the Foundation for the International Medical Relief for Children (FIMRC) across Costa Rica. FIMRC and faculty mentors from Earlham prepared the team of students to participate in public health campaigns, working at mobile clinics and after-school centers to support families from underrepresented populations, including Nicaraguan refugees.

About the Team

Led by José-Ignacio Pareja, Ph.D. (director of the Science and Technology Commons) and Lori Watson, Ph.D. (professor of Chemistry), the group of nine students was comprised of aspiring dentists, pediatricians, physical and occupational therapists and alternative medicine practitioners.

Jose -ignacio -pareja

José-Ignacio Pareja, Ph.D.

Lori -watson

Lori Watson, Ph.D.

Kevin -schmidt -tanager

Kevin Schmidt Tanager, M.D.

The team took a step toward those goals by learning how to take vital signs, glucose readings, working in a pharmacy, and designing health education programming for children. The students were also supported by doctors and psychologists from the Foundation for the International Medical Relief of Children and received additional mentorship from Kevin Schmidt Tanager, M.D., a member of Earlham's Class of 2012 who is currently conducting his residency in pathology at the University of Chicago. Tanager was a Chemistry and Biology double-major at Earlham.

In Their Words ...

“I gained a lot of mental toughness and learned to be quick, flexible and confident while making decisions. We were tasked with assisting on a variety of different procedures while working with children to educate them about a number of topics related to health.”

— Vanessa Duran ’20, a Neuroscience major
from San Diego, California

“The FIMRC doctors and I taught the Earlham students basic physical examination skills, which many patients graciously permitted them to practice in the clinic, and despite the language barrier, these encounters gave the students a unique first taste of the therapeutic relationship."

— Kevin Schmidt Tanager, M.D.,
alumni mentor

“It has been very rewarding to offer students a transformational, fully funded experience in an area of study that is in high demand,” he says. “Because of support from Earlham faculty, the EPIC initiative, and our vast alumni network, we now have two programs in two very different countries that we know work well. I’m excited that this provides an additional way faculty can engage with students in the years to come.”

— José-Ignaco Pareja,
co-faculty leader

Photo Gallery