I mean, really, look how much better med school looks with sun and palm trees. Today was my first day of school! Well, not so much school as meeting with the University of Puerto Rico contacts and talking about what I will be doing for the summer. I don't think I mentioned that I am no longer doing the research project that I had originally intended. Now I am doing a sort of cultural/medical immersion to learn more about Puerto Ricans so that hopefully I can 1) be a better physician for Puerto Ricans (and other latinos) back in the states, 2) help teach other students and doctors about Puerto Rican patients, and 3) improve my Spanish. America Facundo, one of my advisors, who may just be the nicest woman I have ever met in my life, summarizes it best by saying that I am "learning to become an advocate for Puerto Rican patients in the US," and I really like the ring of that.
So basically this morning I met with the 3 women that I will be working with the most. They all seem incredibly nice and excited to work with me. America is currently working on an "Humanities in Medicine" project, trying to integrate as much humanities curriculum as possible into the incoming medical students. She is really intelligent, and we talked a lot about the heterogeneity and diversity among Puerto Ricans, as well as the social classes and issues regarding immigration. She thinks I may be able to take a class on Women's Reproductive Health in July. Another woman, Delia, is in charge of preceptor assignments, so she's going to hook me up with preceptors in different parts of San Juan so I can see how health care is distributed in urban and rural areas. Dra. Jimenez is going to me my main doctor preceptor, and she is a geriatrician. I also met another woman who is running a program called The Hispanic Health Professional Training in Cancer Prevention and Control in Puerto Rico, and this program just started so she said I can feel free to come to any of the seminars or workshops, which are mostly on public health issues relating to cancer. Tomorrow I am going to a seminar called "Cancer Information Service as a Public Health Tool," and then in the afternoon I am going to shadow Dra. Jimenez.
Also today, the incoming 1st year students were having their orientation, and luckily enough, I got to take a tour of the facilities. El centro medico is absolutely overwhelmingly gigantic, and I have no idea how I will find my way around. Not to mention that San Juan public transportation is not so user-friendly, and takes me about an hour to get to the hospital. But, asi es la vida. Another good thing is that today I made a new friend who is a first year medical student, so hopefully I will have someone else to hang out with. Now I have to go shower because I smell like bus. By the way, I have been so confused by this because in Mexico, bus was camión, but here in Puerto Rico, they are called guaguas. Guagua is my new favorite Puerto Rican word, it's muy chévere.