Stewart Dandorf - Ecuador
Internship location: Manglaralto, Ecuador
Career goal: To combine the complementary disciplines of clinical medicine and public health research in an effort to provide evidence-based health interventions at the individual and population levels
The goal of my internship was to better understand barriers to HIV testing in rural Ecuador. Accordingly, a culturally appropriate questionnaire was utilized to gather information related to patient demographics, HIV knowledge and past testing practices. Furthermore, the questionnaire was administered following an HIV public service announcement to measure the influence of an educational intervention on the decision to voluntarily test for HIV. Ultimately, information gathered from this study will be used to improve HIV testing strategies in a hospital setting.
Value of experience:
Completing my internship in rural Ecuador was extremely valuable to preparing for a career in public health because it provided numerous opportunities to apply the concepts I am currently learning at YSPH. Specifically, as I aspire to continue the implementation of preventative measures for HIV transmission, my internship allowed me to develop essential skills that can only be learned through hands-on experience. Lastly, while working closely with a local non-governmental organization, I was able to develop and implement socio-culturally appropriate strategies that are critical to providing an effective intervention within a foreign environment.
The best experiences from my internship came when community members would mobilize and urge their friends and family to voluntarily test for HIV or complete our questionnaire based on recognizing the importance of our intervention.
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Manglaralto Hospital serves a vast coastal area of Ecuador and patients are known to travel up to three hours in order to receive medical services.
Members of the Yale-Ecuador HIV Clinic Initiative provide a health education presentation each morning prior to offering free HIV testing at Manglaralto Hospital (Shown are Sam Vesuna, Hilary Rogers and Sophie Nethercut).
The afternoons were spent on data entry following the administration of a questionnaire in the morning.
Outside Manglaralto Hospital an overflow of patients who could not be accommodated in the waiting room gathers as they await medical attention.
The entrance to Manglaralto Hospital, the main site of our survey administration and HIV testing.
A routine public service announcement about rabies is given in the waiting area of Manglaralto Hospital.
Inexpensive HIV rapid tests were utilized to provide results to patients within 15 minutes.
Working closely with hospital staff was essential to the success of our work in Ecuador. (From left to right: Stewart Dandorf, Hilary Rogers and Inspector Milton).
Posing for a picture at the headquarters of our NGO partner, Fundación VIHDA, in Guayaquil, Ecuador. (From left to right: Stewart Dandorf, Gabriela Reed, Sophie Nethercut, Farrah Khan, Hilary Rogers and Sam Vesuna).
Riding the “Teleferico,” a tram system in Quito to a height of 15,400 feet atop the Pichincha volcano. (From left to right: Farrah Khan, Stewart Dandorf and Gabriela Reed).
A view of “El Panecillo” from the old town in Quito. The statue atop the hill is believed to be the only winged form of the Madonna in the world.
A breathtaking view of low-forming clouds in the quaint volcanic town of Baños.
There’s a first time for everything; riding a horse through a dense tropical forest in Dos Mangas.
Celebrating 26 great years with a surprise birthday cake in the laid-back surf town of Montañita.
Visiting the equator or “Mitad del Mundo” (middle of the world) just north of Quito.
Tasting the local delicacy cuy (roasted guinea pig) was an experience I will never forget.
Watching the sun plunge into the Pacific Ocean was a nightly ritual in Manglaralto.