GHI Belize Partnership Directors: Jim Shropshire, MD, Family Medicine, HHCI Board of Directors; Mara Kieser, PharmD, UW School of Pharmacy.
The Hillside Clinic in the Toledo District of Southern Belize serves as an international clinical elective site for University of Wisconsin health professional students. Operated by Hillside Health Care International (HHCI), a non-governmental organization based in Milwaukee, Hillside has been providing on-site medical care, mobile clinics, home visits, rehabilitation services, and educational programs through its clinic located in Eldridge since 1990. Besides a dedicated Belizean staff and long-term volunteers, HHCI hosts medical, nursing, physician assistant, pharmacy, public health, and Physical therapy students and residents from UW and other institutions on 4 week elective rotations year round. HHCI aims to promote healthy global attitudes through the provision of a culturally rich educational program and supervised clinical experiences for learners so that they can better understand their role in the global health arena.
The Hillside Clinic has experienced significant growth under the leadership of Dan and Maria Thiabault, both Licensed Family Nurse Practitioners who have served as Clinic Directors the last 2 years. Sue Leib, MD, a retired pediatrician from Connecticut, a former Hillside Medical Director, now serves as the Stateside Director of Operations. There will be 2 Family Physicians on site supervising care as medical directors for 2012-2014, Drs. Angela Thomas and Bill Brown.
Abby’s House, the new dormitory facility named for a past University of Indiana medical student volunteer, Abigail Brinkman, MD, has been occupied to capacity as the number of students accepted monthly has increased to 11. This includes 3 pharmacy students per month in addition to the 8 Medical and PA student spots. The UW School of Pharmacy partners with several other Midwestern Pharmacy Schools to provide student rotations, on site pharmacist supervision, and a year round presence. The clinical schedule has been expanded to include two teams providing care independently each day. One team sees patients at Hillside Clinic, and the other team goes out on mobile clinics to rural villages in the area. The educational curriculum is continually being improved, and includes video captured talks, readings, and a lecture series. All learners are also asked to prepare a talk on an assigned topic prior to their arrival. The public health activities include educational talks in the communities, performing physical exams on school children in the District, and applying dental sealants to children in the schools. There are also rotations being developed for Physical Therapy students this year. Through the assistance of the UW Department of Pathology, the clinic has a new laboratory that is under development, providing some of the only on site services in the district.
The academic partnership between Hillside and the University of Wisconsin provides a guarantee of 4 spots for PA students every March and Medical Students every April. The rotations otherwise fill over a year in advance. Hillside and the UW GHI continue to explore ways to strengthen our academic partnership while improving health care and services in Belize.