Gabriela Stone is an incoming senior majoring in Global Health. She is pre-med and currently works as a tech in a local emergency room, and has been a CNA for about 5 years. Gabriela is a non-traditional student, single mother of 2, who transferred from a community college. She enjoys powerlifting, and loves being involved with the community in health and well-being capacities.
Gabriela spent 2 weeks volunteering in Cordoba, Argentina with Child Family Health International. Child Family Health International. Child Family Health International (CFHI) provides community-based Global Health Education Programs for students and institutions. Their unique model fosters reciprocal partnerships and empowerment in local communities, transforming perspectives about self, healing and global citizenship. This program immerses undergrad, grad, and post-bacc students around the world as related to global and public health as well as medicine and healthcare.
Gabriela volunteered in the OR (Operating Rom) for surgeries in the pediatric hospital of Cordoba.
“I worked within the hospital every week day observing surgeries and assisting in whatever I was qualified to do. I assisted with anesthesia, preparing children for surgeries, as well as when they would wake up from anesthesia. I was trained to use a bovie, scrub in to procedures, hold retractors, and was taught throughout the surgeries what was occurring, how to do them, and what to look out for.”
Since Gabriela is fluent in Spanish, instead of learning Spanish while there, she attended meetings and with the other bilingual students and local doctors about differences in healthcare systems, culture in regards to medicine in Argentina, disparities, common healthcare problems in Argentina, and more.
Gabriela notes that the most difficult aspect of her field experience was the time constraint.
“I was so excited to be there, and wanted to see everything. Most opted for longer stays, while I could only do the intensive 2 week program because of my children. I was able to place into what interested me most (pediatric surgery), and I was also allowed to stay in the OR as long as I wanted each weekday because they saw my passion and excitement.”
Despite only having been in Argentina for two weeks,
“I learned so much about disparities, and it really fueled my passion for pursuing global health. I am now considering MD/MPH programs or MTSP. I fell in love with pediatric surgery, and I know I want to pursue closing the gap in healthcare outcomes throughout my career."
Gabriela’s time with Child Family Health International also gave her many lasting friendships and allowed her to grow as a person.
“I am still in touch with those I made friendships with while there, and I want to go back to do another program, or visit outside of the program. I gained confidence within myself and my ability to reach my goal to be a doctor, as I many times would worry that I was not good enough. I gained a strong basis in cultural differences, and my love for medicine and learning about other cultures grew. I will never forget my time there.”
In her free time, Gabriela learned salsa and other local dances.
“I also travelled to other areas in Argentina with locals, my host family, and others in the program. We went to fairs, hiking mountains, parks, and even a huge local festival of music. I was equally in love with my free time and my primary work.”
Gabriela notes that in addition to the memories and friendships,
“Everything I learned during my cultural sessions as well as being out immersed with the Argentinean population directly correlates to my courses. I can understand when they speak of cultural differences, disparities in healthcare outcomes, and more.”