Justin Chu: Reflections from Costa Rica

Justin Chu is a third year medical student at Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine. He was born and raised in Dayton, Ohio where he met and married his high school girlfriend. He enjoys outdoor activities as well as playing and watching sports.

My ISL experience in Costa Rica was valuable to me for many reasons. I got to put into practice the clinical skills I learned in my first year of medical school, such as obtaining a patient history and performing a general physical exam. This was particularly rewarding and exciting because it was my first interaction with patients as a medical student. More importantly, many of the patients we saw were in such need, and I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to utilize my training for people who otherwise did not have the means to see a medical professional.

Our team set up clinics in local churches and provided free medical service to the people in nearby towns. The day before we opened the clinics, we performed house visits through the neighborhoods. The house visits were especially unforgettable and truly eye-opening because we were able to observe their living conditions first hand. Many of the families we visited were extremely poor, and most of the homes were made of sheet metal and without any flooring. However, the most humbling and inspiring thing about the people we encountered was that they maintained a positive attitude and a spirit of joy, regardless of their situation. They expressed gratitude to us for assisting them in any way we could, whether that was providing medical care or even helping them clean up their beaches from pollution. Although my time spent in Costa Rica was short, I hope that our impact made a difference in the lives of those we worked with, and I know that the perspective I gained will last with me forever.

Thanks to my ISL experience, I am considering pursuing my Masters in Public Health following my residency training so I can be a more influential voice in the global health system. My wife and I plan on continuing our global health efforts and are motivated to pursue additional medical mission trips in the future.