About 77% of Guatemalans live in poverty — and among the indigenous populations in the Guatemalan Highlands, that number rises to 91%. That’s why the work of Falcon Reviews Instructor Meg Sullivan, MD, who serves as Medical Program Director for the Pop Wuj Clinic in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala, is so important.
The Pop Wuj Healthcare Project is a collaborative effort to bring quality, sustainable healthcare to the most vulnerable residents of Quetzaltenango and surrounding villages in the rural highlands. Through healthcare, education and cultural exchange, participants in the program work to bring lasting economic and social change to the region. The Pop Wuj Clinic provides free and low-cost primary health care, as well as follow-up medical care, to approximately 70 patients per month.
Through a partnership with the Timmy Foundation, an Indianapolis-based non-profit organization that helps underserved communities around the world, the Pop Wuj Clinic also offers a weekly mobile clinic. Dr. Sullivan coordinates these medical brigades to provide follow-up and specialty care, treat ongoing conditions, and serve rural communities, including the villages of Pacaxoj, Xelabaj — which is being rebuilt after Hurricane Stan — and La Guarderia, a shelter and daycare center for mothers and their children.
In her role as Medical Program Director at the Pop Wuj Clinic, Dr. Sullivan supervises, lectures, and mentors first-year and fourth-year U.S. medical students enrolled in the Medical Spanish program offered by Pop Wuj. The majority of the patient population is indigenous to the region, and many speak the native dialects of K’iche or Mam. During her work in Guatemala, Dr Sullivan has been struck by the challenges of integrating local cultural traditions with current medical practices.
“While knowledge of the latest standards of care is integral, being able to adapt such standards to be effective locally has been an extremely educational and rewarding experience,” says Dr. Sullivan.
A graduate of Yale University, Dr. Sullivan completed medical school at the University of California, San Diego. Dr. Sullivan conducted her pediatric residency at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York City, where she was selected to participate in the Community Pediatrics Track — which focused on community medical care in Washington Heights, a primarily Latino neighborhood. Now a Board Certified Pediatrician, Dr. Sullivan serves as a Falcon Reviews Pediatrics Instructor. Click here for more information on our Pediatrics Courses.
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