Learning about different health systems in Chile, with the help of DRCLAS

By Helen Jack, Harvard Medical School Clinical Rotations in Chile (HMS '18)

Pilo Mella and the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies (DRCLAS) Regional Office in Chile were invaluable as I was setting up two months of clinical rotations at Universidad de Chile. As part of my final year at Harvard Medical School, I hoped to do two months of clinical rotations in Chile to learn about another health system, improve my clinical skills, and become more comfortable with medical Spanish. About four months prior to when I wanted to start the rotations, Harvard Medical School put me in touch with Pilo Mella, who helped me locate the application materials for Universidad de Chile and provided advice on the application and timeline for applying. Once I completed my application, she submitted it to the correct people at Universidad de Chile and put me in touch with them when I was accepted. She also helped me navigate a few bumps that I encountered prior to getting to Chile, including having to push back my start date because of a dental emergency and having to switch which clinical electives I was doing because the elective I had initially wanted (rural medicine) was not offered in the months that I was available. Pilo also provided a number of resources and advice for finding an apartment rental, which I used to easily find a lovely apartment, and invited me to a Harvard alumni event that happened my first week in Santiago, a great way to meet people soon after arriving. Before and during my time in Chile, I felt as if Pilo was very accessible and I could contact her with any questions and receive a speedy response. Overall, Pilo and CASA helped make the logistics of my rotations and life in Chile extremely smooth and easy--this experience would not have been possible without them!