Sarah Olson, MD
Sarah Olson, MD
Pediatrics · Charleston, SC

Primary Care Pediatrics Hospitalito Atitlán

February 17th
Santiago Atitlán, Guatemala

Project Description

I will be participating in a global health mission trip as part of the Global Health Track within the Pediatric Residency Program at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC). I will be traveling to Santiago Atitlán, Guatemala with one of my co-residents from February 17, 2024 to March 5, 2024. We will be partnering with the Hospitalito Atitlán to provide supervised primary care M-F to the pediatric population of this rural community near Lake Atitlán. We will provide preventative care, screening services, and see sick patients each day. We will have the opportunity to communicate in Spanish directly as well as work with interpreters who speak the native Mayan languages of this community.

Population Served

I trust that the pediatric population in Santiago Atitlán, Guatemala will benefit from our presence and ability to provide medical care. There are not many providers, particularly pediatric providers, in the area to see these children. We will be reaching a community in need of pediatricians and providing much deserved attention and care. We will also be assisting the current providers of the Hospitalito Atitlán by helping to see these patients. I am passionate about serving medically underserved populations and feel this is a place where my medical knowledge and Spanish language skills are needed and can make a big difference in the health and well-being of children.

Expected Impact

I believe this mission will have a very positive impact on the local pediatric population that will extend beyond this trip alone. I am very excited to establish a relationship with the Hospitalito Atitlán during this trip and moving forward. I hope to create a foundation that allows me to continue visiting this community after completing residency, but to also provide a connection for future MUSC residents who hope to participate in mission trips within an underserved community.

Trip Photos & Recap

We saw over 100 pediatric patients from the community of Santiago Atitlán, Guatemala on Lake Atitlán over the span of 2.5 weeks. We partnered with Hospitalito Atitlán to conduct day clinics, providing both well checks/preventative care and sick/same day visits. A majority of our patients came from the Maternal-Infant Program that Hospitalito Atitlán has established for a rural community which lives nearby and speaks a Mayan language, Tz'utujil. These families primarily continue to practice natural medicine and generally have limited access to health care. We gave a talk on Newborn Care to the families in the Maternal-Infant Program which was interpreted from Spanish to Tz'utijil. It was an honor to work along side the Hospitalito Atitlán and meet so many of the local families and care for their children. I look forward to returning in the future and bringing both more volunteers and resources for these families!