Africa, African health, Chicago, Fellow for Life, Gabon, health disparities, Lambaréné, Pediatrics, Schweitzer Hospital, Sophia Hermann, University of Illinois College of Medicine, West Central Africa
Since 1979, the Lambaréné Schweitzer Fellows Program has selected third-year U.S. medical students to serve three-month clinical rotations as junior physicians in pediatrics or medicine at the iconic Schweitzer Hospital in Lambaréné, Gabon, Africa—the region’s primary source of health care since Dr. Albert Schweitzer founded it in 1913.
One of this year’s Lambaréné Fellows, Sophia Hermann, recently returned from Gabon, and shared the below pictures of her time abroad. (This was Hermann’s second immersive Schweitzer Fellowship experience: the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Chicago student also served as a Chicago Schweitzer Fellow from 2008-09.)
To read about Hermann’s time at the Schweitzer Hospital in Gabon, check out her blog — appropriately titled Lambarene Fellow. Here is a brief, representative excerpt, about Hermann’s time working in the hospital’s pediatrics ward:
My heartfelt impression of pediatrics, when the place floats into my head, is that I love it there. I adored most of my patients and parents, as well as valued the experience of doing so many history and physicals, exam maneuvers, and clinical decision making … Overall I had moments, even whole afternoons when I experienced what Mihal Csikszentmihalyi’s concept of “Flow” as part of good work, the notion that you are so present in what you are doing you don’t even notice the passage of time. I also felt impossibly lucky at times when I realized that this is going to be my life– I really get to take care of babies, kids, families for the rest of my life. How could I have possibly gotten so fortunate as to stumble into this job?