Student Spotlight: Kaiqi Chen

Programs for this blog post

Leadership & Service in Public Health

Authored By:

Megan Hoeffler

This blog post was written by one of our CIEE participants, Kaiqi Chen. 

This Tuesday, after several informative public health seminars with Dr. Michelle Jimenez, we were ready to put on our binoculars and observe first-hand the facilities of a primary care center. As soon as we walked in, eyes were immediately drawn to powerful posters advocating for breast cancer awareness and another visual that raised attention towards the sugar content in beverages. These are one of many ways that the clinic is involved in health promotion as they often host talks and communicate with the people through clubs. This is crucial especially now as they enter their busy season and the climate in Santiago fluctuates from heavy rain to burning hot. 

-The Tour-

Shortly after, we met with Dr. Yokasta Germosén who introduced how a typical day looks like as a family doctor and the cases they receive.  As we passed each section and saw the ER room, the dental room, medicine room, and more, we reflected on how free public clinics like these offering a wide range of diagnostic care and promotion activities play such a vital role to the livelihood and wellbeing of the community.

-The Foundation Changing Lives-

Ciudad Santa Maria is the NGO which the clinic is involved in, and in that complex houses a primary and high school, in addition to a technical school where students have the option to delve into medicine, accounting, music and law careers simultaneously during their last two years of education. Even after graduating from the center, they are still well-supported as top-performing students are offered a full scholarship to the University of PUCMM and many are able to come out with a tech degree and work in the education center right away. This was the story for Dr. Francis, a public health promoter who was a part of this community, did studies here, and now gives back by providing help and treatment to the community, people, and schools. 

We learned from him that the foundation Ciudad de Santa Maria is the sole complex in Santiago and their building has upwards of 14 years of history where they have provided an environment of growth and hope for young children. Visiting the foundation and participating in the NGO activities at Red Misericordia has allowed us to assess the social determinants of health in the community and gain a deeper recognition for public health’s role in improving the quality of life not only for an individual, or a community, but for the entire population and country.