Ecuador - PVM/Santo Domingo

Population facets: 


Partner Organization:  Andean Health & Development

Location:  Pedro vicente Maldonado &  Santo Domingo, Ecuador

Number of Students:  2 students

Dates:  Expect US departure as soon as possible after exams.

Participation Requirements:

  • Language & Proficiency Requirement:  Strong proficiency in Spanish required.
  • Gender Requirement:  None
  • Required Experience:  Interest in medicine and public health necessary.  Experience in basic medical skills (i.e. EMT certified, blood pressures, vital signs, etc.) is helpful but not necessary.  General experience in healthcare settings encouraged.  Interest in training children and teenagers in health related issues.
  • Major Requirement:  Open to ALPP or SCPP pre-med, science majors, or healthcare related majors
  • Student Minimum Age:  None
  • Special Requirements:  None
  • Other:  None

Special Training Required Prior to Summer Deployment:  (The following sessions and workshops will be organized and provided by the ISSLP during the spring semester. Additional training sessions may be added as needed.)

  • Red Cross Certification
  • Teaching English as a Foreign Language (EFL) Training
  • Classroom Management Training
  • Laboratory Risk Management & Safety Training
  • Self Defense

Site Description:  

See the official Andean Health & Development website:

Andean Health & Development (AHD) is working to establish models of self-sustainable, comprehensive health care in poor, rural areas of Ecuador where there are high-risk populations of women and children.  AHD is changing the face of rural health care in Ecuador by providing sustainable, quality medical care today and by training the rural health care leaders of tomorrow.  They are committed to an expanded vision of primary care based on small rural hospitals that are the focal point for comprehensive community health, championing prevention while saving the lives of children and adults every day.

AHD, a U.S. based 501(c)3 corporation, was founded in 1995 by Dr. David Gaus and Rev. Theodore Hesburgh, CSC, President Emeritus, University of Notre Dame.  Saludesa is the foundation established in Ecuador by AHD in 1997 to carry out the work of AHD in Ecuador.

Scope of Work & Responsibilities:

Notice: Scope of work may have some changes based on the needs of the partner organizations at the time of student arrival.

ISSLP students have primarily worked in Pedro Vicente Maldonado (PVM), a rural community of about 10,000 (50,000 in the surrounding areas), located in the Pichincha Province in northwest Ecuador, or in other outreach locations.  There are opportunities at Hospital PVM to shadow and assist physicians, observe medical procedures, learn about tropical diseases, assist with hospital research and administrative projects (research on health demographics, patient surveys, organizing patient files, etc), and help with other tasks as needed. Concurrently, students have been able to assist in local free health clinics (Subcentro de Salud in PVM) with different tasks.

In addition to the health-related activities at the Hospital and the Subcentro, in 2012 the ISSLP students started supporting science and health classes in local schools, which is part of the AHD related community outreach projects in Pedro Vicente Maldonado and the surrounding areas.  During summer 2013, the ISSLP students devoted their time supporting research activities at the Hospital in PVM, assisting in different tasks at the Subcentro de Salud, and teaching English in a local School. 

In 2014 Andean Health and Development officially open their second hospital, Hesburgh Hospital in Santo Domingo, Ecuador. This new 65-bed hospital is located in Santo Domingo, a community of 600,000 where there are only 151 public hospital beds and 50% of residents live in severe poverty. The hospital campus includes a residency program that will be able to train nearly 100 doctors a year, a simulation lab contextualized for rural Ecuador, two operating rooms, a full ER, pharmacy, isolation wards, and in and outpatient wings. The hospital will serve all patients who come through the door and will be financially self-sustainable within two years.

In 2014 the ISSLP students had the opportunity to assist in various activities related to the opening of the new hospital. At the same time, the students were able to participate in the daily meetings and classes with the family medicine residents at PVM, assist in the bacterial resistance research being done at the hospital, working at the Subcentro de Salud and teaching English at a local school.

In 2015, students were based in the Hesburgh Hospital in Santo Domingo participating in a research study, gathering information from patient records, and doing a literature review for an article on Chikungunya.  They also shadowed and assisted physicians, accompanied on some home visits in Santo Domingo with medical residents, and supported different activities at the hospital.

During summer 2016, students supported some of the projects that AHD had in Santo Domingo within the refugee camps for the victims of the earthquake that affected Ecuador on April 2016. They spent the rest of the time in Pedro Vicente Maldonado assisting some of the work at the hospital, health center and school. In summer 2016, ISSLP students supported research work of the doctors and medical residents both in Santo Domingo and PVM.

For 2017, students are expected to spend some weeks in Pedro Vicente Maldonado assisting some of the work at the hospital, health center and school, as well as participating in the daily academic work that the medical residents. They will also spend some weeks at the Hospital in Santo Domingo and will continue supporting research work. 

This program depends very much on the volunteer and how much they would like to be involved in the hospital and in other activities in the community.  Dr. Gaus is open to student’s involvement in other areas of Santo Domingo and Pedro Vicente Maldonado.

Students should expect to have a lot of freedom in their decisions to work at the hospitals and/or in other projects and are entrusted with a lot of personal responsibility for the amount of time and effort dedicated to the hospital and its goals.

Housing & Lodging Information:

During their time in Pedro Vicente Maldonado, students will stay a few weeks with host families and the rest of the time at the hospital dormitory. While in Santo Domingo, they will be living at the hospital dormitory.  Shelter and meals will be arranged with the families and the hospitals.  

For More Information:

Visit the official Andean Health & Development website:

Former ISSLP Participants:

Bonnie Du’17 (ISSLP 2016),
Taylor Sears’17 (ISSLP 2016),

Notice: Certain sites may be canceled and other sites added at any point during the selection and orientation process.