Child Health International Program (CHIP)

CHIPAt the University of New Mexico Children’s Hospital we recognize the global nature of child health, and our Child Health International Program (CHIP) is doing something about it.

We believe that working with children in the developing world can be a profound experience - one which often generates a gratifying sense of achievement as well as lifelong implications on the practice of medicine. Therefore, the goal of CHIP is to provide our pediatric residents with the tools, the time, and the training necessary to provide specific and ongoing service in the international arena.

CHIP provides funding for international rotations through a $100,000 endowment from the Tom Dooley Heritage as well as funds raised and donated by our local New Mexico Pediatrics Society. We endeavor to support each resident with funds of $1,000 - $2,000 based on the service and research components of the projects.

Our pediatrics program already has a strong record of providing international service. In recent years residents have provided services in Uganda, Botswana, Thailand, Russia and Zimbabwe. The service in Zimbabwe, which began as a one month resident driven PARC project, has evolved into a highly successful and nationally recognized non-profit organization which provides ongoing HIV education to African children (please see www.grassrootsoccer.org).

Bolstered with strong support from our Chairperson and Program Director, pediatric residents at UNM have the opportunity to arrange international rotations in both second and third years of residency. In coordination with our PARC program, interns have the opportunity and dedicated time to initiate plans for an international advocacy project which they may pursue on site in the following years.

CHIP is directed by a small group of faculty and residents dedicated to international child health. Please contact Dr. Aaron Jacobs (Director of CHIP, ajacobs@salud.unm.edu) to obtain any further information. Should you choose to pursue your pediatric residency with us at UNM, we would look forward to providing the training and support necessary for success in international child health.

Perspective

Ross Newman

Ross Newman, MD

During the summer of my third year of residency I was able to extend my cultural and medical training by spending a month practicing pediatrics in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. Through the CHIP program I was able to work in a small public hospital in Tizimin, Yucatan, Mexico. There I worked alongside excellent pediatricians who treated their patients without many of the modern comforts we deem necessary in medicine in the United States. It taught me reliance on clinical reasoning and physical exam instead of relying on the lab and imaging to diagnose and treat. I additionally learned many of the cultural aspects to treating and working with the Hispanic population which was invaluable to me as I hope to continue to work with these populations throughout my career.

Perspective

Christal Chow

Christal Chow, MD

Through CHIP, I was able to volunteer with a non-profit organization based outside of Managua, Nicaragua. I worked on various projects dedicated to providing both healthcare to its nearby residents and health education to its established community health worker program. In the mornings, I saw patients in the local clinic. Working with a local provider, we treated mild dehydration from presumed dengue or chikungunya infections, diagnosed asthma, and referred patients with severe developmental delay. I learned about the available treatment options and also how to treat patients when resources became limited. In the afternoons, I worked with the health promoters. Based on their needs, I lectured about pediatric respiratory illnesses, anemia, and a lot about simple nutrition. Soda is very common in Nicaragua, but after I counted out the amount of sugar in a single bottle, the health promoters refused soda for the rest of my visit.

I also had the opportunity to stay in a few very rural communities. The organization had implemented a pilot nutrition project the year before, and I was part of a team that gathered follow up data. It gave me the chance to experience rural Nicaraguan life. Lights out at sunset. Beans and rice for every meal. Buckets of water carried from the well. Chatting with the neighbors. And hours away from the nearest town and doctor.

This experience solidified my interest in global health and working with underserved populations.