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Help us raise $10,000 to travel to Panama and serve in rural communities and provide much-needed medical education and support!
We are a group of six first-year medical students at UC Irvine. This summer, our team will be traveling to Bocas del Toro, Panama to serve in rural communities alongside the Floating Doctors organization. Floating Doctors provides free quality health care to these communities by setting up mobile clinics throughout the region. We are excited by the opportunity to work with this unique organization and we look forward to learning more about global health work. Our goal is to assist Floating Doctors with providing medical care and to leave a long-term positive impact by conducting meaningful research on health issues prevalent in the area. We will place an emphasis on the use of ultrasound due to its portability, inexpensiveness, and effectiveness at detecting disease.
We will perform the Rural Obstetrical Ultrasound Triage Exam (ROUTE) on pregnant patients to identify high-risk pregnancy conditions. Our team will help Floating Doctors determine what level of maternal care is needed and refer pregnant women with high-risk conditions to a hospital on the mainland in order to receive a higher level of care. Through early detection and intervention, we hope to reduce the number of preventable maternal deaths in the area.
Carotid Ultrasound/Cardiovascular Risk
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in Panama. Previous research has demonstrated that the thickness of an individual's carotid artery is associated with his/her risk for cardiovascular disease. Carotid thickness is easily measured with ultrasound, and this project is designed to determine the relationship between carotid thickness and known risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as smoking or high blood pressure. The primary objective of this study is to determine the normal carotid artery thickness in the area, which may be used in future clinical care as a stand-in for a patient's chance of developing cardiovascular disease. The secondary objective is to determine the correlation between carotid artery thickness and the number of cardiovascular disease risk factors that are present in a patient.
Knowledge, Attitudes, and Practices Regarding Tuberculosis
Tuberculosis is the sixth most common cause of death in Panama, and Panama has one of the highest rates of tuberculosis infection in Central America. Our objective with this study is to determine what people in the Bocas del Toro region know about tuberculosis and what they do to prevent its spread. In addition, we would like to find out whether there are stigmas attached to a tuberculosis diagnosis. All of these factors can cause people infected with TB to delay seeking medical care or become noncompliant with their treatment, which significantly increases the chance of developing drug resistance. We hope that the findings of our research can be used to design educational programs and community initiatives that will reduce the prevalence of tuberculosis.
Smartphone Lens Attachments for Eye Imaging
In many areas around the globe, including Bocas del Toro, quality eye care is difficult to come by as it generally requires the presence of a specialist and expensive equipment. We are conducting a validation study to determine whether inexpensive lenses attached to a smartphone camera can be used to replace standard ophthalmological equipment in underserved settings. This study also includes a telemedicine aspect as we will be storing eye images and bringing them back to UCI for analysis and diagnosis. If these lenses are shown to be effective, they could be used to greatly improve eye health throughout the world.
By donating to our project, you will be playing a role in providing much-needed medical services to the Bocas del Toro region. The preventive care that we will be providing is crucial in averting avoidable death and disability, thus allowing our patients to live longer and healthier lives. Our research projects were developed with the needs of the community as our primary focus, and our results will have the potential of being acted on by Floating Doctors and future UCI teams to further improve health in the area.
Your charitable donation will be used for travel to Panama and living expenses in Bocas del Toro. We will be providing regular updates during our trip so you can see the impact that your donation is having in the communities we serve. Your contribution may be tax-deductible to the full extent permitted by law. Please consult your tax advisor.
To learn more about Floating Doctors and all they do to serve the Bocas del Toro area, check out their website: http://floatingdoctors.com/
To see the work of Floating Doctors on a day-to-day basis, visit their YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2YGG4m0muTM0C8wQkem2qg
To see the work of past UCI teams that have been to Bocas del Toro, take a look at the UCI Panama Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ucisompanama/