College of Medicine & Veterinary Medicine

Grant scheme takes medical students to Honduras

The Global Brigades: Edinburgh University Chapter was just one of many projects funded by an Innovation Initiative grant.

Edinburgh Medical School students take part in the Global Brigades trip to Honduras.

The latest round of the University’s Innovation Initiative grants has recently been announced. As ever, successful applications from the Edinburgh Medical School and the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies feature prominently on the list.

Projects this year include a feasibility study into the use of 360-degree videos to enhance learning for online medical students, and further funding for the Easter Bush Science Outreach Centre, a purpose-built teaching laboratory for public and community engagement.

The Innovation Initiative grant scheme has been around since 2011, helping to kick-start inspiring ideas. The grants are 100% funded by alumni and friends of the University through their donations to the Edinburgh Fund.

Global Brigades

One of the most acclaimed projects from last year was the Global Brigades: Edinburgh University Chapter. This enabled a group of Edinburgh medical students to travel to Honduras, helping medical staff in under-resourced communities. The students shadowed doctors and taught locals about preventing common illnesses.

It was a really eye-opening experience, learning about the unmet healthcare care needs of those in poorer countries. It was also incredibly rewarding to see so many people attend consultations and receive medication they desperately needed, including simple things like aspirin, paracetamol and vitamins.

Michelle D’SouzaMBChB student involved in the project

Working in the community of Los Terrones, the volunteers saw over 700 patients over the course of nine days. Many of the patients had not seen a doctor in years.

Teaching and training

The students were able to observe consultations, where translators were present for the international English-speaking doctors. They also got involved with teaching the locals about prevention of the most common illnesses in their community. The work is continued year-round by the training of local community health workers  provided by Global Brigades.

Another Medical School trip to Honduras is already in the works. Michelle would strongly recommend the experience to other students.

It was also the ultimate test of communication skills, as we had to interact with people in another language. But the people of Honduras were incredibly welcoming and the gratitude and the respect they have for professionals was really inspirational.

Michelle D’Souza

Global Brigades is the world’s largest student-led health and sustainable development organisation. You can find out more about the work they do in Honduras and other parts of Central America at the link below.

Related links

Global Brigades

Innovation Initiative Grants

Medical Aid International Society