Doctoring in the Developing World: An American Medical Student’s View From Cambodia

Welcome guys! My name is Eric Lee, and I am a first year medical student at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. Originally from Brooklyn, NY, I also did my undergrad at Brown, and I graduated in 2010 with a degree in Public Policy. While I was at Brown, I developed a strong interest in global health work, and I spent most of 2009 abroad living out of my suitcase, trekking across four continents over 8 months. Bucket showers, barefoot hikes through the jungle, swimming in questionable rivers, and sleeping on the cool earth looking up at the stars of whatever hemisphere I happened to be in. Yeah, that was the life. Eventually though, I had to settle down and actually make something of myself (I forget my parents’ exact words…). Soon, I found myself in medical school and gaining the medical knowledge and skills to actually help the people I meet. Finally, after a year of medical school, I am…actually still a long way away from being able to treat and care for the sick and needy. It seems medical training is truly a marathon, and I’m still breaking in my running shoes. However, I have earned enough credibility so far to join doctors on rounds (standing quietly in the back totally counts) and even conduct some of my own clinical research in hospitals.

That brings me to my plans this upcoming summer and this blog. We only get one summer off in medical school, and I will be spending it in sunny Siem Reap, Cambodia (actually, it’s monsoon season). It’s a nice little town that’s started to attract the attention of the Western world in the last few decades (have you ever heard of a little something called Angkor Wat?). I’ll be working this summer at Angkor Hospital for Children (AHC), an internationally renowned pediatric hospital in Siem Reap. As a medical student, I probably won’t save more than a few dozen lives this summer (No, I am not exaggerating.), but I will try to give readers an inside look into medicine in a developing country, Cambodia, and global health.

So please feel free to follow my journey this summer on this blog. I will post about my work and experiences at AHC and Cambodia, medical training, the sweet life of a medical student (I’ve only eaten pizza and Ramen this week so far…), global health, and any other adventures or misadventures I may fall into. Hope you enjoy it!

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  • Eric Lee | July 31st, 2011
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  • Eric Lee | July 31st, 2011
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  • Eric Lee | July 4th, 2011
    So actual research has shown that some people are more susceptible to mosquito bites than others for some unknown reason. I was always among the lucky half that never had issues with mosquitoes. However, in Cambodia, it seems to be a different...
  • Eric Lee | June 30th, 2011
    So I’ve moved into a new guesthouse right by the Old Market in Siem Reap. It’s actually a very nice place in an alley. I like it because local families live right next door in the alley, and most of the Cambodians I’ve met so far have been very...
  • Eric Lee | June 30th, 2011
    As my China Southern flight began its descent into Siem Reap, I looked out the window at an early evening landscape that was truly unfamiliar to me. Cambodia’s rice fields were on full display in the setting sunlight. Large expanses of green divided...
  • Eric Lee | June 30th, 2011
    Hi again guys! Apologies for the long delay in updates. Since the last post a month ago, I successfully finished the first year of medical school, and I hopped on a plane the very next day after the final exam. I spent the three weeks prior to...
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    Eric Lee | May 21st, 2011
    I just realized that I could probably give you some info about the clinical research that I will be conducting while I am there. After being in medical school for a year, I have lost some of my ability to communicate and socialize with normal...
  • Eric Lee | May 16th, 2011
    For those of you who are unfamiliar with Cambodia (as I was perhaps just a year or two ago), I’m going to give you a very brief intro to it. This won’t nearly do justice to this great country, so please read up on Cambodia some more if you’re...