This past summer, Monisa Saravanan interned with Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement, where she was stationed at an ayurvedic hospital in Kenchanahalli, a rural village in Karnataka, India.
What did you do at SVYM?
My project was to create educational materials about rheumatoid arthritis in the form of a booklet and a flip chart to be used by the physicians during their appointments and for patients to take home after meeting with their doctors. The booklet and flip chart included aspects of allopathic and ayurvedic when discussing causes, symptoms, risk factors, and treatment options for the disease. I also had to keep in mind that many of the patients could not read well so I had to use pictographs to convey the right information.
How did you find out about this internship?
I found out about my internship through a Global Health professor. The Global Health program even gave me a stipend to be a part of this internship which was very nice.
What did a typical day look like?
My normal work day tended to change quite a bit, but more the most part, I spent time in the office researching about the disease and the allopathic and ayurvedic approaches to dealing with it. Aside from working on the project, I was able to get a little field experience by having the opportunity to shadow physicians at the ayurvedic hospital itself as well as a nearby allopathic hospital. I also got to go out with the mobile health unit where I was able to interact with even more rural populations.
What was the most impactful thing you learned?
I am a Human Physiology pre-med student so this internship was really valuable in that it gave me a new perspective on medicine especially pertaining to the rural and developing populations of the world. I am planning to pursue a MD and an MPH and this internship has definitely confirmed for me that medicine is what I want to do with my life and allowed me to be more confident about my goal to serve the underserved population whether that is on a local or global level.
What was your favorite memory from your internship?
The hospital was fairly small and did not have a large staff. I was able to get really close with all of the staff members. A lot of the staff also lived right on the hospital campus so it was really nice getting to know their families and playing with their kids while I was there. I think that the connections I was able to make with the staff, other physicians, and even the patients themselves really made it quite the unforgettable experience.