Global Internship Program (GIP): Guatemala Health Initiative
This internship will allow Spanish-speaking students interested in community/public health or social work to work at the Guatemala Health Initiative on projects concerning diabetes, charity care, and community health.
Number of Spots Available:
May 26, 2018
Since 2005, the Guatemala Health Initiative (GHI)
has coordinated interdisciplinary research, education, and service programming involving students from all schools at Penn. GHI partners primarily with the Hospitalito Atitlán (HA) in Santiago Atitlán, Guatemala to develop and organize community-initiated programs in improving the health of the Atitlán community. (Santiago) Atitlán is located in the Western Highlands of Guatemala on Lake Atitlán. The population is predominantly Tz'utujil Maya. The economy is primarily a subsistence economy influenced by tourism and remittances from abroad.
The internships will take place in Santiago Atitlán, in San Juan Sacatepequez, and in Coatepeque, approximately three to five hours from the capital.
an indigenous Maya community on the shores of Lake Atitlán in the Western Highlands of Guatemala. It is located approximately four hours from the city. Students are based at the Hospitalito Atitlán.
San Juan Sacatepequez
: a rural community in the highlands approximately three hours from the city. It is situated in rolling farmlands and is part of the growing ex-urban areas around Guatemala City. Students are based at the Clinica Barbara.
the closest city to the Center for Human Development in the Southwest of Guatemala. This is a lowlands area and has malaria, dengue, and zika. Students partner with the Fundsalud program and live in the organizational compound of the program. Due to safety risks, movements are restricted to program activities.
Some health and safety risks to be aware of include:
- Trauma: Lack of road safety due to poorly-designed roads, lack of sidewalks, and poor driving (public collective transportation is not recommended)
- Violence: Guatemala has a high risk of interpersonal violence, so travel outside the program is not recommended
- Vector-borne illnesses: Biting insects may spread certain infectious diseases. The highlands area currently does not have any, but this can change. Biting insects, however, do exist.
- Chronic disease management (including both physical and mental illness): There is not a pharmacy system or mental health system that can support chronic disease management. Students should consider with their provider their ability to self-manage any chronic illnesses while abroad for extended periods
- Emergency care: The emergency room at Hospitalito Atitlán is staffed with non-English speakers.