For Decorah physicians Dr. Kristy Schilling and Dr. Phillip Yee, traveling to Tanzania as part of Gundersen Lutheran's "Global Partners" program reminded them of the reasons they became doctors in the first place.
The two worked at a clinic that serves a rural area around Nyakato, Tanzania. Both worked side-by-side with Tanzanian doctors. Dr. Schilling says she was impressed with the amount of time doctors there spent with their patients, talking with them and fielding their questions. "They're so grateful to receive any medical care," she says of the rural Tanzanians. She spent much of her time dispensing out information about common health problems in Tanzania, such as diabetes and hypertension.
Dr. Yee also says the trip made a big impact on him. He also worked side-by-side with local physicians, but gave some lectures on medical topics as well as doing surgeries while there. The clinic had four or five exam rooms, a lab, a pharmacy and other facilities aimed at serving a rural area that was "in dire need" of such facilities.
He says the trip to Tanzania brought medicine back to its nuts and bolts. Now, when he's working in Decorah, he's more likely to work harder to determine the cause of a health problem, instead of automatically prescribing tests, which is something that is done often in American health care.