2014-12-01 MDB Profile - Rachel Rizal
We spotlight the work of one of our 2014 Mary Duke Biddle scholars through a Q&A.
Q: Tell us a little bit about how you chose this site for your MDB rotation.
The Mary Duke Biddle rotation allowed me to continue the projects I have been involved with in the Philippines. I have been researching in the Philippines, particularly studying vaccination policy, since my junior year of college. Since then, I have been involved with numerous clinical & public health programs, including launching the national HIV awareness campaign. Since I am now a medical student, I was able to join a clinical team and broaden my skills.
I was able to join a clinical team and broaden my skills.
Additionally, I worked on rotavirus vaccine policy during my Fellowship.
Q: What were some of the personal challenges or dilemmas you faced during your rotation?
One difficult aspect was the travel time to conduct interviews. It’s a lot easier to have a private driver or cab to bring you around Manila if you have interviews at several locations. But, if you primarily stay within the Manila hospital area, it’s easy to get there using public transportation.
Q: Given your previous work at the site, were there any ‘new’ insights or experiences this time that you can share with us?
I learned a ton about pediatrics infectious disease, the department where I worked. Since we received a lot of consultation requests from different departments, I got to learn about a wide array of diseases. For example, I saw different complications of hematological cancers. I also saw the effects of various end-stage tuberculosis.
I worked at the Philippines General Hospital, which is one of the government’s main tertiary public hospital in the Philippines. Most patients were “charity” cases, as they had traveled hundreds of miles from all corners of the Philippines to receive care.
In terms of rotavirus vaccination policy, I learned more about the challenges of keeping a public health program sustainable, despite changes in government leadership.
I learned more about the challenges of keeping a public health program sustainable, despite changes in government leadership.
Q: Do you have plans to go back? If so, how and in what capacity?
Definitely. Learning, Teaching, Mentoring, Advising. I want to continue helping the public health programs and developing a more robust healthcare system. Additionally, I want to continue learning from my clinical experiences in the Philippines.
Q: What is one thing you’d like people to know about the country you worked in or about your work there? How can people learn more?
Filipinos are super welcoming and friendly! I have met several rotating students/fellows/pre-meds in Manila, and they were easily integrated with the healthcare system. It’s a great place to learn more about healthcare in a developing country; most people speak and understand English. The physicians are always eager to collaborate with others. Additionally, if you visit, you must see all the beautiful beaches and islands!
Rachel Rizal is a student at Stanford School of Medicine and traveled to the Philippines as a Mary Duke Biddle Scholar. Find out more about the Mary Duke Biddle program.