Going Beyond the Scope of Modern Medicine

by Kimberly Perez
Faculty advisor: Dr. Bethany Larson

As a J. Leslie Rollins Fellow, I went to Guatemala as a medical missionary volunteer to study non-traditional medical practices for the purpose of learning if these practices could deliver successful results. This presentation will describe how my placement in a rural setting allowed me to observe the practice of non-traditional medicine while also immersing myself in the culture, conversing completely in Spanish, and learning indigenous languages. I will explain how I attempted to look at the medical practices through the eyes of a Guatemalan and in the process discovered the hardships and difficulties many Guatemalans in the region of Chimaltenango face. Despite my intentions, my research went in a different direction than I had planned, and I will discuss specific lessons I learned and areas of research that need further attention, including a plan I am working on to address issues with the water system used in rural Guatemalan areas. This presentation will show how I was able to see a bigger picture, inspiring me to use my skills and knowledge to continue expanding my understanding of medicine and how it works, and hopefully to return to Guatemala to finish my studies on non-traditional medical practices.