Alaina Martinez, MD
Alaina Martinez, MD
Family Medicine · San Diego, CA

Mae Wang District, Thailand

January 3rd
Mae Wang, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Project Description

We plan to serve the Mae Wang district, which is about 1.5 hours outside of Chiang Mai, Thailand. Our team will include family medicine physicians, nurses, and physical therapists. We will be partnering with a local translator team and community leaders to assist with initial evaluations, medical care for acute and chronic conditions, and continuity of care. We plan to serve the local temples, schools, and 5 nearby villages. We aim to see over 500 patients in need during this time, including children, adults, elders, monks, and homebound patients. We will also have the privilege of touring the Mae Wang Hospital to learn more about the population and community we will be supporting. We plan to bring duffel bags of supplies, including topical medications, oral medications for acute/ common conditions (such as Tylenol, ibuprofen, anti-hypertensives, antibiotics, cough drops, etc), wound care supplies, and even joint injection supplies, to offer treatments for common conditions. We hope to provide an array of services, including treatments for acute ailments, chronic disease counseling, and healthy lifestyle modifications for prevention. Since we will be partnering with nurses, physical therapists, local translators, and local community leaders, we hope to integrate care from each different prescriptive, to further enrich the tools we can offer the Mae Wang district community.

Population Served

We hope to serve a variety of people within the Mae Wang district, including the local temples, schools, and 5 nearby villages. While we recognize healthcare resources are limited, we also recognize the Mae Wang Hopsital is an established service for the community. This is why we will start our trip with a tour of the facility – to broaden our perspective and understanding of the population we will be serving. I think it is an important aspect that we start from a place of learning about our community, rather than jumping right in and taking action. By laying a foundation of curiosity and learning about the community, we build a framework of respect as guests for the community we serve. Since transportation can often be a significant barrier, we will travel to the nearby villages, temples, and schools; in doing so, we hope to increase access to care – including triaging acute conditions, preventative well child checks, women’s health, diabetic lifestyle counseling, acute symptomatic care, chronic conditions care, psychiatric care, and even palliative care when appropriate. Since we will bring duffel bags of supplies, we will be able to further address the needs of our patients, including common uri ailments, musculoskeletal conditions, gastrointestinal issues, and dermatologic concerns. By serving people directly in their own village homes, schools, and temples, we hope to foster a safe space for people to seek and maintain healing and wellness.

Expected Impact

Compassion bridges us to one another. While this would be my first opportunity to attend a medical outreach trip, I imagine we will have a positive impact within the Mae Wang district community, and I firmly believe this trip would make a lasting impact on my identity as a physician. The humility to listen and connect with someone’s values and humanity is at the core of my identity as a physician. By serving the Mae Wang district, I will be reminded of this humility and solidify my values to provide culturally-informed, patient-centered care. I am eager to explore opportunities in advocacy and teaching within global medicine, and I would be delighted to learn from the Mae Wang district how I may carry forward these goals. We hope to see over 500 patients, ranging from acute medical needs to screening/ counseling/ and providing medications for chronic conditions. We also intend to partner with local communities to facilitate resources for continuity of care. Upon return from the trip, we will also share our experiences with our own organizations and the Doximity Foundation to encourage providers to follow up with future trips.

Trip Photos & Recap

Our team of family medicine physicians, nurses, and physical therapists served over 350 people in the Mae Wang district area, which is approximately 1.5 hours outside of Chiang Mai, Thailand. We thank the team of translators and community leaders who helped identify the 6 nearby villages we served; and we thank the people who welcomed us into their villages. Without their help, we would not have been able to reach as many people or assist with continuity of care and appropriate local follow up.
The team of community leaders and translators also spread the word and made announcements prior to each clinic day, so that each morning we had a line of people already waiting! Each clinic day we set up stations for the waiting area, triage, clinical assessment, pharmacy/ check out, and physical therapy. We were able to serve all ages, infants to elders, and addressed acute concerns, chronic disease counseling/ management, and preventative services. The concerns varied, including musculoskeletal conditions, gastrointestinal issues, common uri ailments, and dermatologic concerns. One of my most memorable assessments was with one of the 102 year old villagers and her family. After completing her assessment, she picked up her cane and started dancing with us to some nearby music; moments like this really reminded me how special it is when people welcome us into their lives and trust us to care for them. In addition to the medical assessments, we created packs of basic essentials for each patient, which included hygiene products/ shampoo/ conditioner/ soaps/ toothpaste/ floss/ sunglasses/ tiger balm/ multivitamins/ etc.
Prior to our first clinic day, we received basic cultural education from our local team, and we had the honor of touring the Mae Wang Hospital. We were able to learn more about the community we were serving, including belief systems, cultural norms, health care system structure, and most common health conditions treated. We also had the opportunity to serve the monks of each village we served. Prior to each clinic day, the monk would welcome us into the village temple, where we would gift an offering on behalf of the group as well as receive a blessing from the monk.
We also had the incredible privilege to visit an elephant sanctuary. It was truly awe-inspiring to be so close to such gentle giants. We tried as many fun snacks as we could find in each village, too, so we truly got a taste of Thailand!
*Khob khun ka ~ Thank you*, Dox Foundation for making this trip of a lifetime a reality!