Preston Public Interest Career Fund Recipient
For Brandon, health care accessibility is deeply personal. “At eleven years old, I lost my father to a sudden heart attack induced by stress, depression, and high cholesterol. For a while, I blamed myself for my father’s reluctance to seek medical attention….Today, the realization that it was not I who failed my father, but a health care system based on economic privilege, motivates me to fight for the basic right to quality care.” So it was only natural for Brandon to intern with Sustainable Bolivia and Mano a Mano Bolivia, organizations that bring sustainable health care, education, and infrastructure to Bolivian communities.
In collaboration with Mano a Mano, Brandon designed health education courses for law enforcement personnel, schoolteachers, and community members. He also traveled to rural health clinics to lead instructional programs, teaching emergency first aid to community leaders. Beyond education, he also accompanied physicians and dentists to isolated rural communities to provide medical care. During these clinical visits, “I assisted with finding appropriate medication, recording patient information, and assessing vital signs. During other trips, I participated in site evaluations for future construction of health centers.”
The location and responsibilities of the internship forced Brandon out of his comfort zone: “Arriving to a Hispanic country with a strong indigenous presence and minimal foreign investment, I faced language and culture barriers. Nevertheless, by fully immersing myself in the Spanish language and local Bolivian customs, I quickly developed confidence in both daily and professional capacities.” Not only did Brandon strengthen his Spanish skills, he also gained insight into “the potential roles for non-profits in expanding access to quality care in Bolivia.” He hopes to build on this internship by volunteering in South America with the Peace Corps after graduation, then pursuing a Masters of Public Health.
- Date July 19, 2016
- Tags 2016, First Year, Healthcare, Preston, Social Service, South America