Miami student observes healthcare system in India

Mitchell Singstock stands in front of an Indian landmark

By Rachel Berry

Senior Mitchell Singstock spent a month in India last August through the Mallory-Wilson Center for Healthcare Education’s preceptorship program. He studied at St. John’s Medical College, which is one of Miami’s global partners.

For this experience, he spent time shadowing doctors as they went to rural villages. These villagers received aid once a month, and every month it was different—sometimes an optometrist, sometimes someone specializing in geriatric health, sometimes someone else.

These people don’t live near a hospital and therefore don’t have access to the medical care they desperately need. St. John’s made an effort to rotate through people of various specialties, so the villagers could get care that was as comprehensive as possible.

A group of people crowds around a medical professional as they explain a concept“I think it conveyed to me that medicine is something that I do want to pursue,” Singstock said. “I think it solidified that because I realized how much of a need there is especially in areas where it’s more rural.”

While at St. John’s, Singstock also worked on a research project surrounding breast cancer. The project focused on self-examination and women's awareness of their risk for breast cancer based on variables such as literacy or employment status.

Singstock had done professional observations before, but he said his time in India was a completely different experience.

At one point, Singstock was on a bus filled with other passengers when they saw a woman who had been in an accident on a moped. She wasn’t wearing a helmet and was covered in blood, with welts on her head.

People on the bus began turning to Singstock saying, “He’s a doctor. He’ll know what to do.”

As a senior in undergrad, Singstock doesn’t have any medical training yet, but the group still pushed him toward this woman. He looked at her and said to put her on the bus and take her to the hospital.

Singstock said if he goes back, he hopes to be able to make a difference.

“If I do want to go back and integrate myself into a community somewhere else in the world, I would like to have some sort of medical training because then I can actually—rather than observing and making friends there—I can actually give something back,” he said.

The Mallory-Wilson Center for Healthcare Education helps connect students with shadowing and preceptorship (internship) opportunities both in the United States and abroad. The program at St. John’s began during winter term of 2019 and sends a small group of students during winter and summer breaks.

“It gives them a great opportunity to see a completely different healthcare system, see things that they wouldn’t see here in the states,” said Joseph Carlin, director of the Mallory-Wilson Center. “It’s been, in many cases, a life changing opportunity.”

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