This spring, a new class of young Mexican doctors begins working in Chiapas, Mexico. Compañeros En Salud, PIH’s sister organization in Mexico, recruits newly graduated doctors to spend their year of required social service in remote community clinics of Chiapas. PIH/CES supports the young physicians with supplies, training, and tools to provide better medical care to some of Mexico’s poorest people.
Dr. Azucena Espinosa: An actress and a doctor
Dr. Azucena Espinosa is from Durango, in north-central Mexico. She studied medicine at the Durango State University in Juarez, and in addition to medicine, she loves theater and works as an actress in a local company.
For Espinosa, working in health is a way to serve the community. She hopes to practice pediatric oncology, and wants to work in Durango because she’s conscious of her roots and the needs of her hometown. She had many options for her social service, but CES appealed to her because of its emphasis on social medicine. She ultimately decided on it because she wanted an opportunity to serve the poorest communities of Mexico.
Entering her year of service, Espinosa feels confident knowing CES provides constant support, supplies, and tools to do her work. During this time, she hopes to reflect on her passion for serving poor communities and find out if social medicine is the path she wants to follow. Espinosa worries about not being adequate to the work of CES, but that feeling urges her to work harder rather than stopping her.
Dr. Kurt Figueroa: Inspired from a young age
Dr. Kurt Figueroa was born in Mexico City and studied medicine at the National Polytechnic Institute. His story is marked by an early relationship with the world of health. His mother is a nurse and took him to small hospitals where she worked. These visits inspired him, and he came to admire the doctors he saw working.
Figueroa plans to specialize in pediatrics and work internationally. His dream is to establish himself in an African country, where the need for good health is critical. He’s taking his first step in global health by practicing rural medicine in Chiapas with PIH/CES.
Figueroa is concerned about the lack of students willing to do their social service in a region such as the Chiapas mountains, where poverty and ill health make conditions more difficult than in large cities. That’s why he wants to devote his time and effort to serving these communities. He hopes not only to hone his clinical skills, but also to grow personally. “This is a time of self-discovery,” he says, smiling.
Dr. Aurea Rodriguez: A better bedside manner
Dr. Aurea Rodriguez is a native of Puebla, not far from Mexico City. She studied medicine there, at the Autonomous University of Puebla. She has wanted to be a doctor since she was little, and considers it to be her calling.
Rodriguez’s dream is to become a pediatrician who alternates between specialist consultations and social projects. She jumped at the opportunity to join CES, especially because of the special training and support it offers. She hopes her time in Chiapas will allow her to improve her bedside manner, through providing quality care and showing warmth in her interactions with the community.
Dr. Eduardo Peters: A step toward greater challenges
Dr. Eduardo Peters is originally from Mexico City but studied at the Monterrey Institute of Technology. His decision to study medicine was the result of a combination of factors: an aptitude for and a love of the sciences, the idea of being able to help people, and, he admits, the social position of being a doctor. His future is still uncertain, though he expects to work internationally and pursue a master’s in health management, administration, and policy in Toronto.
Peters chose to work with CES for his social service year because he believes the project provides everything he needs to be successful: a focus on the most vulnerable communities, coordinated work with an international team, and a bit of adventure that will lead him to take on large challenges. He doesn’t want to start with any expectations, but just see what happens and allow himself to be tested in the toughest situations.