Suhana Sarkar - Santa Elena, Ecuador

Santa Elena, Ecuador

Career goal: To plan and implement health programs targeting preventive health and chronic disease in resource poor communities. 

Internship outline: Suhana  conducted a research project with a team of Yale students to assess the barriers and facilitators of Type 2 Diabetes management in the resource-limited coastal towns of Ecuador. She carried out HbA1c blood tests, surveyed and interviewed the Futuro Valdivia clinic’s diabetes patients. This project’s goal is to better understand which health, social and economic factors are associated with management of diabetes in this region and to provide insight to the clinic on how to improve management for their diabetic patients.

Value of experience: Because I was involved in both the creation and completion of the research project, I was able to put into practice what I had previously learned in my classes about survey design, research methods and data analysis. Carrying out the research was an eye-opening experience of the challenges and complications that arise when doing field work in an unfamiliar and resource poor setting. I also learned how a small rural clinic operates and how patients manage their health within their limited means.

Best moment/experience: Every single time I knocked on someone’s door, I was blown away by their friendliness and hospitality. I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to visit patients in their homes and to talk with them and their families. It gave me a better and fuller understanding of Ecuadorian culture and how it affects the health of the people.

Funding source: Global Health Initiative Field Experience Award, Latin American and Iberian Studies Travel Award

Suhana Sarkar