Intern Experience with Health Frontiers in Tijuana (HFiT) student-run free clinic
Megan Ludington is a third year transfer student who is majoring in Public Health and minoring in Global Health. In addition to balancing her studies, she actively engages with Global Health issues as a regular intern with the Health Frontiers in Tijuana (HFiT) student-run free clinic. HFiT is a binational joint venture between UCSD and the Universidad Autonoma de Baja California which provides free medical services to underserved populations of Tijuana, including testing for STI’s, wound cleaning, and mental health consultations, among other services. Congratulations Megan, and thanks for your commitment to Global Health!
Why did you choose to pursue Global Health as a major/minor?
I grew up overseas, spending most of the time in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. My parents do humanitarian aid work, and it was an incredible experience growing up and seeing them make such a difference in peoples lives. I always knew that I wanted to return overseas, but I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I took a medical anthropology class at my community college and absolutely loved it, and when I transferred to UCSD and saw there was the global health minor, I immediately declared it. I am fascinated by cultures around the world, and love learning about how culture and health shape each other.
What Global Health related activities/projects do you have going on right now?
I intern with HFiT (Health Frontiers in Tijuana) and I love it. We go to Mexico every other weekend and work at a free clinic down there, and it has been an incredible experience. I also was accepted to study abroad this summer in Jordan, through the Global Seminars program. We’ll be studying public health and epidemiology in a refugee camp in Amman. The trip will be led by Dr. Wael Al-Delaimy who is the Chief of Global Health at the UCSD Med School, and I’m really excited to learn from him and get a lot of first-hand experience!
Do you have a favorite professor in the department?
I have several! [Janis] Jenkins is incredible, her experience in the field is fascinating to hear about and I was awestruck pretty much her entire class. Jessica Novak is a new anthropology professor and I have really enjoyed her class. Her enthusiasm is contagious and I’ve really enjoyed her class discussions.
What are your future plans/goals? Academically/Professionally?
I am getting my BS in Public Health, with the Global Health minor, and want to go on to get my masters in Global Public Health after I graduate in 2016. I love the cultures of Central Asia, especially after spending the majority of my childhood there, and would love to return to do research on how the the Soviet influence collided with the Muslim culture there and how it has shaped that part of the world.
What is the most interesting book/article/blog you’ve read lately?
There was an article in National Geographic recently about Ebola in Sierra Leone, and how the cultural mourning practices were actually spreading the disease. It looked at how the local officials were trying to change the burial practices and the challenges they faced. It was an interesting look into the culture and how it affected the spread of the epidemic and the outside forces trying to stop it.
What advice do you have for young Global Health students or students considering Global Health?
There is a lot you can do here and now, wherever you are. Start reading, looking into articles and researchers that people are doing around the world, and become knowledgeable about what is happening. Volunteer with immigrant or refugee organizations, offer to teach English. You don’t have to travel all over the world to begin studying Global Health, there is so much that you can do now, start taking advantage of all the opportunities wherever you are.
Tell us one: favorite movie, favorite song, or favorite part of campus.
I love Wes Anderson movies, my favorite is Darjeeling Limited. It’s a beautiful look at India and the vibrant culture there. Check it out!