In the fall of 2004 an article appeared in this publication highlighting the developing relationship between the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Nicaragua (UNAN) in León, Nicaragua and the UC Davis School of Medicine. This relationship, formally housed underneath the MEDICOS program, provides a unique educational forum for the exchange of ideas, culture, and academia between both medical schools. Faculty and first-year medical students have thus far made two summer trips to León to work in rural, community-based clinics. Additionally, in 2005, two faculty members from UNAN ventured to Sacramento to participate in problem-based learning sessions and morning work rounds with the Department of Internal Medicine.
The success of these exchanges has allowed MEDICOS to expand upon the educational opportunities offered to faculty and students. While first-year medical students are currently recruiting faculty to participate in a third summer trip to León, fourth-year medical students, for the first time, will receive academic credit for traveling to Nicaragua. This spring, senior medical students will work alongside both UNAN and UC Davis faculty in UNAN's academic hospital providing patient care. Hilary Brodie, M.D., Ph.D., Chair of the Department of Otolaryngology, will accompany students on this spring trip in the hopes of establishing a joint UC Davis-UNAN training program in head and neck surgery for junior surgeons. Efforts are also under way for organizing a trip for UNAN medical students to travel to Davis within the next year.
None of these efforts could be possible without assistance from the UC Davis community. Mentoring and academic enrichment stand as cornerstones to the successes of MEDICOS. There remains a constant need for attending physicians to serve as preceptors to students and share expertise with colleagues on trips to León More-over, the financial realities of international travel have required UCDSOM students to personally invest $1000 to cover travel expenses. Funds to assist Nicaraguan students and educators with their travels to Davis are also raised by students and remain a majority of expenses in the group's projected budget.
If you are interested in learning more about the MEDICOS program, UC Davis School of Medicine's relationship with UNAN, or how you can contribute/participate, please visit the MEDICOS website (http:// cim.ucdavis.edu/mdphd/medicosframeset. htm) or contact Andrew Mihalek at firstname.lastname@example.org.