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During an abroad rotation in medical school, a doctor said to me: "You can practice global health anywhere, including in the United States." She explained that global health isn't defined purely as practicing in another country. It means having a desire to learn about other cultures and incorporating these learnings into your care of patients wherever you are. I've found that through exposure to other places, travels and immersion in different cultures deepen your work regardless of what you do or where you choose to do it. It also takes me away from the immediate and brings shape to the framework of my own life. So when I think about how best to help others and myself live on a day to day basis, I often look away from here.

In the hospital we find ourselves thinking in terms of boxed spaces and tubes connected to machines. I remember stepping into the intensive care unit as an intern and making it my mission to understand every number on every machine.

On scarce days off during my medical residency, I would enter the open space of the outdoors and at first feel lost. Where are the numbers, the controls, the switches?  I didn't need them as much as I thought. What I did and do need are the details of what naturally exists. I found that being outside in different environments--desert, ocean, forest--stretches senses that have been buried. Buried by the stale air of fatigue, by the way stress and grief causes the space between people to become too dense and compact to process.

See posts about travels and other places here.



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