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Part 4: Hello from Costa Rica!

This spring, Professor Dorothy Anthony and Shirley Michaels from Keystone College have taken 12 students to San José, Costa Rica, as part of a faculty-led study abroad program customized in partnership with CEA. This program is focused on Global Health and includes site visits to four local healthcare facilities representing different clinic models, high profile guest speakers with the Costa Rican government and healthcare field, and volunteer opportunities at a low-income, rural clinic. The group is also looking forward to excursions to Manuel Antonio National Park, Arenal Volcano and Puerto Viejo.

Here’s what Dorothy and Shirley have to say about their experiences so far:


We started our lectures the next day with a medical doctor from Costa Rica. She was awesome. She gave us a general overview of the system. The students were interested in her immediately because she is only 28 years old and studying for a specialty degree test in two weeks.

Our next speaker was from the University of Costa Rica and she was an expert in Women’s health. I designed this program and then CEA found our speakers and made our arrangements. Our site visits included visits to various types of health care sites in Costa Rica. We visited an EBAIS and picked up a consultant that helped to interpret what we were seeing in addition to helping with the language barrier.

That afternoon we went to see the Children’s hospital, which was very interesting in a totally different way. Our speaker had been a pediatric surgeon there for 32 years. He was very inspirational and told us a story about Patch Adams visiting there and putting three of the staff in giant underwear. Perhaps you had to be there, but my students will never forget these personal stories.

Our last stop on Friday was on our way to Puerto Viejo. We went to see a clinic, which is the second level of care here. Interesting too was the way they handled end-of-life care, which takes most of the resources for patients in the U.S. This was a great visit. They showed us a film on a rescue from a mountain village that placed a critically ill baby on a helicopter in a bag. It was absolutely amazing what the doctor’s had to go through in order to see the baby. It included crossing a ravine (think an Indiana Jones ravine) on three logs tied together. It was amazing – the dedication these doctors, nurses and health care providers have.

We spoke with several doctors who explained the differences in tropical medicine. We saw the poisonous snakes they have to contend with and also the antidote that is made here in Costa Rica. (22 in total are poisonous) Then we arrived at a little beach community, Puerto Viejo. The students thought it was the Costa Rica they thought they would see. Our accommodations are very convenient and right next to the internet café where we are coming to you from today. The students as well as ourselves have learned to use Skype to phone home. Fortunately, we did not need a speak and spell like ET.

Off to put some pictures on Flickr.

Check back for more on the Keystone Costa Rica faculty-led custom program.
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