MSU medical students to research at Kenyan hospital
MSU medical students and faculty will be able to study and complete research at Chogoria Hospital in Kenya as part of a new agreement through the MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine and Institute of International Health, or IIH.
The partnership was announced Monday and sets up a program for fourth-year medical students in the College of Osteopathic Medicine to study in Chogoria, Kenya for six weeks as part of an international elective program, said Reza Nassiri, director of the IIH and assistant dean in the College of Osteopathic Medicine.
“(It) will allow our students to develop cultural and linguistic competency and develop a broader sense and knowledge of a health system in an African country,” he said.
The program is expected to begin by 2012 and will expose students to unfamiliar diseases and experiences, Nassiri said.
“The agreement challenges them to extend their horizons in the context of the most important global health issues,” he said.
People in Kenya and underdeveloped nations face many obstacles when trying to access health care, said Ned Walker, a professor in the MSU departments of Entomology and Microbiology and Molecular Genetics who has studied health issues in Kenya.
“You might find yourself (in the hospital), but without very good care because they don’t have equipment to complete tests,” Walker said. “Specialists, like cardiologists, are needed and are difficult to come across.”
Equipment, expertise and supplies always are in demand, particularly in poorly-managed public hospitals, Walker said.
Compared to the U.S., many aspects of medical care are lacking in Africa, said Terrie Taylor, a university distinguished professor in MSU’s Department of Internal Medicine. Students participating in the Kenyan program will benefit by improving their diagnostic skills while assisting patients.
“They are able to see patients recover amazingly with very simple treatments,” Taylor said. “A strength of this particular partnership is that an MSU faculty member will be accompanying each group of students so their efforts as a team will greatly benefit the hospital.”
The IIH currently organizes similar programs in other countries, such as the Dominican Republic and South Africa, and is looking to start another partnership in Mexico, Nassiri said.
“We believe such partnerships are a part of our strategic initiative for MSU global health programs to address the health issues of the world through the exchange of faculty and medical students,” he said.