By Maria Cook
Sean Buehler, a Carmel native and first-year medical student at the IU School of Medicine, recently spent eight weeks helping with public health projects in Kenya.
Buehler 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, Kenya.
In Kenya, Buehler worked with an AMPATH team focused on reproductive health care. Buehler developed training materials for an Adolescent Health Empathy Training, which helps health care providers cater their services to the needs of adolescents.
“We also participated in numerous discussions, fireside chats and lectures surrounding various public and global health topics, including HIV, abortion rights, maternal health and chronic disease management, among others,” Buehler said.
When he graduates, Buehler wants to pursue a residency in emergency medicine and develop public health projects that help underserved populations, among other goals. He believes that his time in Kenya moved him closer to that goal, describing the trip as one of the most important experiences of his life.
“The two months I spent in Kenya were by far the most influential experience of my time thus far in medical school and some of the most enriching months of my life overall,” he said. “Every day was filled with both implicit and explicit learning about medicine, public health, solidarity and personal growth. I was challenged in ways I could have never expected and constantly interacted with some of the brightest and most inspiring people I’ve ever met.
“My Kenyan and North American counterparts served as tangible examples of what can be achieved when you work as a team to put your passions into action.”