Introducing Indonesian medical students to rainforest conservation and community health in the field: A practicum experience in East Kalimantan
Type of Publication:
Reviewed Journal Article
EcoHealth, 2006, V3, pp. 195–203.
This article describes a practicum experience developed between a conservation organization (The Nature Conservancy) and a medical school (The Faculty of Medicine at Mulawarman University in East Kalimantan). Through this practicum, groups of medical students from Mulawarman have assisted with baseline and follow-up community evaluations in remote villages along the Kelay River, Berau District. These evaluations were done in conjunction with the Kelay Conservation Health Program, a program designed to improve health and healthcare for local people, mostly former hunter-gatherers, in an area of rainforest that the conservation organization seeks to protect. Besides gaining experience in community health assessment, through this practicum medical students also gained field experience and knowledge in rural and remote area health and healthcare in Indonesia and had an opportunity to explore linkages between conservation and health. At the conclusion of their time with the program, participating students also presented individual problem-based reports on relevant topics to students and faculty at the Medical School and to the District Health Department. This partnership between a conservation agency and a medical school in a developing country has been very well received by all stakeholders involved. Because of this, Mulawarman is now planning to make Kelay into a formal training site for its students. This experience may serve as a model for other groups interested in promoting ecosystem health education to future health professionals in the developing world.
conservation medicine, conservation health, indigenous health, ecosystem health education