By Maria Cook
Grace Rushton, a Zionsville native and first-year medical student at the IU School of Medicine, recently spent eight weeks studying maternal, newborn and child health in Eldoret, Kenya. She was selected as one of four Slemenda Scholars at the IU School of Medicine, all of whom traveled to Kenya as part of the international AMPATH program. AMPATH is a medical partnership between North American Health centers, led by the IU School of Medicine, and the Moi University School of Medicine in Eldoret.
In Kenya, Rushton attended lectures and discussions on global health systems and worked with an AMPATH team focusing on maternal-child peer support.
“My project allowed me to use skills I may not as often use in my medical training and really pushed me outside of my comfort zone,” Rushton said. “Ultimately, the primary goal of the Slemenda Scholar program is to learn and experience as much as possible. and I can undoubtedly say I learned and experienced more than I ever thought was possible in a short two months this summer.”
Rushton’s team used a model called Chamas for Change to provide health and financial support to Kenyan women and empower them to help one another. Rushton said her hands-on experiences in Kenya will remain with her for years to come.
“Even after being back in the states for a few weeks now, it is still difficult for me to put words to the deep impact this experience has left on me,” Rushton said. “My time in Kenya left me filled with more motivation, inspiration, passion and purpose than I ever expected it could. I know I will carry the life lessons, friendships, knowledge and insight I gained this summer with me through the rest of my medical education and, more importantly, for the rest of my life.”