CARE Residents Speak Out
I learned about epidemiology, political and child advocacy, the role of community engagement in the provision of care, social determinants of health, and a preventive approach to disease management.
~ Olga Varechtchouk, M.D.
Olga Varechtchouk, M.D.
Pediatrics Resident Graduate from URMC in 2019
When I chose a field in medicine, I was like most aspiring doctors wanting to diagnose and cure patients to better their lives. I surrounded myself with science, focusing on learning the intricate workings of the human body. The world, to me, was narrow and sensible.
When it came time to decide on a residency, I picked pediatrics, preferring to work with what is arguably the most vulnerable population. While I was honored to finally have the ability to care for my own patients, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of helplessness, as I found that so many of the diseases I saw were preventable. From child abuse and neglect to unintended teen pregnancy, I felt like I was ten steps behind the problem.
I then took CARE block, a rotation with the Hoekelman Center focused on introducing residents to public health. Through this, I learned about epidemiology, political and child advocacy, the role of community engagement in the provision of care, social determinants of health, and a preventive approach to disease management. Specifically, I was able to develop a project with an aim to improve literacy among refugees and narrow the disparity gap for this population. Building and implementing this project taught me both the excitement that comes with using creative thinking to improve society as well as the challenges of working in a dynamic community that is not as predictable and standardized as the world of diagnostic medicine.
My experience at the Hoekelman Center shifted my mentality about the role I want to have within the medical field. This helped fuel my decision to apply to a second residency in preventive medicine. Through this, I will obtain an MPH and ultimately use the knowledge I gain to implement public health strategies to societies and populations around the world. I am so grateful to the Hoekelman Center for leading me towards these dreams and for helping me realize my purpose!
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Elizabeth Haworth-Hoeppner, M.D.
Pediatrics Resident Graduate from URMC in 2018
The city of Rochester has a strong history of social activism; some of the country’s greatest stalwarts like Susan B. Anthony and Fredrick Douglass spent many years there working for equal rights. Given my strong interest in medicine and advocacy, when I learned that the University of Rochester, in addition to having an excellent reputation in pediatric training, had created a Community Health and Advocacy Resident Education (CARE) Track, I knew Rochester was where I wanted to be for my Pediatric Residency.
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Oliver J. Salmon, D.O.
Pediatrics Resident Graduated from URMC in 2017
I would recommend anyone considering international medicine to find one of the international sites with a connection with URMC and to use this track as a platform to get there and help improve their world.
~ Oliver J. Salmon, D.O.
I very much enjoyed my experience with the CARE track through the Hoekelman Center. I knew for a long time that I had wanted an international medical experience that was actually helpful to the local community I visited. In the CARE block weeks with Dr. Andy Aligne I narrowed down my options to decide on training Helping Babies Breathe to help create a system that could perpetuate itself upon my departure. With much help from Dr. Nirupama Laroia and Dr. Aligne, I educated myself on international medicine, read about the local Ladakh, India region, became a trainer in Helping Babies Breathe as well as the Neonatal Resuscitation Program, arranged traveling, plus we arranged meeting with and working with local personnel, traveled to Ladakh, India, trained 117 personnel in 3 locations including 2 locations never previously trained, reinforced a relationship with 1 local champion Pediatrician, and established a relationship with a new local champion Pediatrician. After the trip, I was able to present some of the data we collected from surveys at one regional and one national conference. I feel like the long list of things I was able to get through with this experience through my busy residency was only possible due to the scheduled time I had in my CARE track, the support I had from the physicians and staff from the Hoekelman Center, and the support of the local Pediatricians in India who previously had a relationship with the University of Rochester. I would recommend anyone considering international medicine to find one of the international sites with a connection with URMC and to use this track as a platform to get there and help improve their world.