Professor Barry discussed four different case studies with us. The first dealt with a female volunteer being asked to conform to cultural norms about the proper role of women in the host community. The second focused on a medical student who discovers he is expected to work alone in an underserved community without supervision or full training. The third dealt with a student who was unable to complete her research in a foreign community and felt badly about having accepted her host’s hospitality for several weeks. The fourth focused on what a student abroad should do when he realizes that workers in the area are not properly adhering to the requirement to obtain informed consent from the patient.
What did you think of these case studies? Professor Barry mentioned that Africa has 4% of medical workers but 25% of the need – how are we to balance concerns surrounding student volunteerism abroad with the great need they are trying to meet?