The Sweetest Fruit

A nightly occurrence at the residence of the local community leader who hosted visiting students and researchers in the San Vito, Costa Rica rainforest was gathering around the stately kitchen table to chat with bright minds from around the world, watching the mist as it descended down the boughs of sleeping trees. After an evening…

Palm Oil Paradise

The road from Costa Rica’s foremost airport in the city of San José to my new home base in the mountaintop community of San Vito was long and winding. To reach the misty, green town from the capital city, I spent seven hours on a charter bus that wobbled serenely up and over the stunning…

Strawberry Fields Forever

Hi there! My name is Jeannette Ban and I am a recent graduate from the Master of Public Health (MPH) program through the Keck School of Medicine. With the generous support of the Anderson Family Fellowship and the USC Institute on Inequalities in Global Health, I traveled to San Vito, Costa Rica in March 2020…

The Dangers of Perception, Privilege, and Lack of Accountability

The field of public health has undergone a huge transition since its inception. It is now widely acknowledged that global health is not simply high-income countries (HICs) supporting low-middle-income countries (LMICs). There is a plethora of information and lessons that high-income countries can learn from low-middle income countries like Costa Rica and their universal healthcare…

Television-The New Public Health Necessity?

Prior to leaving Costa Rica early due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I was able to visit La Casona. La Casona is an indigenous territory where many Ngöbe-Buglé people live.  I visited La Casona during my first trip to Costa Rica and met with Doña Dominga, a retired birth attendant. She lived in a modest wooden home on top of a…

La Casa del Dr. Ortiz: La Joya de San Vito

The last time I was in Costa Rica I heard about Dr. Ortiz. He is a significant leader in San Vito and in all of Costa Rica. His organization Hands for Health works to increase the quality of life of indigenous peoples living within the Brunca region. I was told that his house is always…

¡Nos Vemos Pronto!

My name is Briana Richardson and I am currently enrolled in my final semester of USC’s MPH program. I grew up hearing a lot about Costa Rica as one of my family’s closest friends is Costa Rican. Last year I was fortunate enough to attend the PM 590 course on Planetary Health: Sustainability and Human…

Leadership

The last day of my stay in Costa Rica came too quickly. Soon I was back in Los Angeles, California, away from the lush green forests of southern Costa Rica and away from the wonderful people I had met during my stay. From signing in health fair attendees to visiting local coffee farms, this experience…

Coffee Harvesting and Fútbol

Cultural competence is a topic that has come up often in my work with Hands for Health. When planning these reproductive education sessions it is important to be mindful of the population that I will be serving. I am currently working in San Vito, a small city near the southern border of Costa Rica. The…

A town hidden in clouds

Ding came from the front of the plane signaling that the door was open and my time in Costa Rica had begun. I quickly made my way through the airport and outside into the city of Alujaela where the San Jose International Airport is situated, close to San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica. I…

Happiest Place on Earth

¡Hola! My name is Agnes Premkumar and I am a rising second year medical student at the Keck School of Medicine at USC. I have always had a passion for global health; I am especially interested in understanding the intersection of public health and health care in areas far away from academic centers and hospitals,…

The Going Gets Rough

Buhoma is a smally, lively town with a bustling thoroughfare that leads straight into Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. A constant whir of people, animals, and motorbikes crisscross the winding road, making this tiny locale feel more like a humming engine than a pastoral agricultural backwater. Gorilla Conservation Camp, my temporary home, sits on a hill…