Global health has been a driving force in what inspires me in medicine. My first global health experience was in Guatemala; I lived there for six months prior to starting medical school, learning Spanish and doing public health volunteer work. I knew no Spanish prior to moving, and immersion proved the fastest way for me to learn and taught me even more about the power of communication. This experience was exciting, challenging, fulfilling, and transformative, and it motivated me to further delve into global health in medical school. I continued to work in this same theme as a medical student and volunteered with a human rights organization in Bolivia, specifically on a project in researching HIV mortality while continuing to work on language acquisition, advocacy and community education, and learning about data collection in resource limited settings.

Through these experiences, and within the framework of the Global Health Pathway in residency, they have collectively helped me to grow my understanding of what Global health means and provides: it is simultaneous grounding and expansion in work and thought in medicine. It is an opportunity for service and advocacy, aspects of daily medical work which are most meaningful, and it requires an expansion of my own point of view, to question what I know about how to provide care to patients, and what I think I understand are the barriers to that. It requires me to question my own bias and culture of origin, and to learn and be pushed to think about and how to do something differently. At its core it is a mix of true science and culture. While COVID during residency has continued to put planning for future projects and travel on hold for the time being, I am excited to see how I will weave global health into future medical practice as a full spectrum Family Medicine doctor.

Published: November 2021

Laura Shingleton, DO
Laura Shingleton, DO

Want to know more?

For more information about Global Health contact:

Ann Evensen, MD, FAAFP
DFMCH Director of Global Health
ann.evensen@fammed.wisc.edu