Joenard's Duke-EWH Summer Institute

Central America Summer Institute 2012 – Group Picture

The EWH Summer Institute is an opportunity for engineering students to gain hands-on repair and design experience while providing support to hospitals serving residents of poor communities in a developing country. Open to students of engineering, physics and chemistry, the EWH Summer Institute begins with a one-month stay in Costa Rica where students live with a host family. Mornings are spent studying Spanish, while in the afternoons participants receive three hours of technical training in the operation and repair of medical equipment.  Day trips to the country’s breathtaking natural features punctuate the experience and give volunteers a time to bond.

After the one-month training, each student travels to his or her host hospital in Nicaragua. During the second month, students work in pairs to repair and install badly needed medical equipment. Whether they’re working on an infusion pump that helps treat a tiny infant, or an ECG that will aid in diagnosing someone’s grandfather, each student-engineer pair makes a critical difference in patients’ lives.

This intensive real world experience can be life changing for the participants. EWH Summer Institute provides a behind-the-scenes look at a hospital in the developing world and depends on participants to troubleshoot and conduct repairs, interview hospital personnel, train users on equipment, and inventory hospital equipment. In addition, participants engage in reflective activities led by an EWH staff member. The participants are not paid for their service. The program in Nicaragua, which I will be attending, begins on May 29, 2012 and finishes on July 29, 2012.

Summer Institute 2012 – Rudy fixing surgical lights in Costa Rica.



Program Costs: $6,700

The program fee includes:

  • Pre-departure preparation and information
  • Transportation from airport to host family and back
  • Medical Emergency Evacuation Insurance
  • Medical Kit
  • Team Cell Phone
  • Housing
  • 3 meals per day for the first month only
  • 1 month of intensive second language training (Spanish)
  • 1 month of intensive medical instrumentation training
  • Textbooks and lab supplies
  • Field support from EWH while in Nicaragua
  • Ongoing support from EWH US office

Not Included in Program fee:

  • International airfare (approximately $720)
  • Meals during the second month ($5.00 USD daily)
  • Transportation to/from training, work and accommodation ($1.00 USD daily)
  • Transportation from hospital to training center for the end of program meeting
  • Entry and exit fees for Nicaragua

Total Costs: $8,300


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