A week in the Dominican Republic with Timmy Global Health taught Anna Brenneman a lot about potential careers in health care, whetting her appetite for a return trip to the Caribbean country with the organization during spring break 2014.
The School of Science senior had her eyes opened wide last spring break during her first international trip with Timmy Global Health, serving several banana farm communities near the town of Montecristi. “I hate to be a cliché, but it opened me up in a totally different way,” said Brenneman. Seven days of working in clinical settings in the Dominican Republic “instilled a passion in me to work with people less fortunate than I,” she added.
“Shadowing these physicians, nurses, pharmacists and community health leaders imparted a sense of thankfulness I had never before felt,” Brenneman said of her Dominican Republic trip. “What I did not expect was my growing aspiration to study how to provide care on a national and global scale. Public and global health were not disciplines I foresaw myself being interested in, until I saw the inequities in a single community in single country abroad.” That has put a master’s degree in public health firmly on the radar screen of the IUPUI student, who was an IUPUI Top 100 student in both 2013 and 2014.
The experience with Timmy Global Health allowed Brenneman to work in various tasks from pharmaceutical dispersal to translation skills to observing professionals at work. “I enjoyed observing medical professionals in action,” she said. “It was a nice introduction to family care and made me realize how challenging that career could be.”
The trip may turn out to be a pivotal moment in her life. “As each day passed, I could see my career path taking shape,” Brenneman said. “I knew I wanted to learn more about how to make community health better, not just there, but in our country too.” As big a role as the Timmy Global Health experience played in her life, Brenneman has found other sources of encouragement.