NHS Summer Profile Series: Kopp Conducts Research in Argentina

Posted in GUMC Stories

For six weeks, human science major Antonia Kopp (NHS’14) interned in Buenos Aires, Argentina at the INFANT Foundation as part of the Translational Health Science Internship.

The annual program – directed by Pablo Irusta, Ph.D., associate professor of human science – began in 2007.

Each day, Kopp shadowed physicians at one of three hospitals, listened to lectures that covered a variety of research topics, and conducted research in the laboratory.
“Everything I was looking for”

As an aspiring pediatric primary care physician, Kopp was pleased with the opportunities the internship provided.

“I was drawn to this program because of the perfect balance between practical experience and knowledge I would gain for a future in pediatrics,” said Kopp. “Not only did it offer an attractive course in science, it gave me the opportunity to have clinical experience and real interaction with the community. This program was everything I was looking for and more.”
Lessons Learned

When NHS students return from study abroad programs, they often have a new perspective on international health care systems.

While shadowing physicians at hospitals in Argentina, Kopp noticed the cultural and structural differences in their approach to providing care to patients.

“Most of the hospitals are large public hospitals, and since much of primary care is universal, they are often crowded,” said Kopp. “However, appointments are comfortable and unintimidating. The physicians treat the children and parents like their own family.”

Another lesson Kopp learned during her internship include the value of integrating various avenues of health care.

“The work done at INFANT foundation showed me the importance of the correlation between basic science research, clinical research, and medicine,” she said. “It opened my eyes to the possibility of doing overlapping work in these areas when I am a physician.”
Important Work

Kopp is pleased with the experiences she had during her internship and praises the foundation for its work towards improving the health of infants.

“Working with INFANT has been exciting because it is an institute filled with so many intelligent and motivated minds,” she said. “The research done is extremely important to Argentina, as well as the rest of the world. The work done with respiratory viruses is especially crucial, as this is one of the primary causes of hospitalization for infants and children across the globe. If ground can be broken, thousands of babies and children can remain healthier, and millions of health care dollars can be saved.”

By Alicia Lee, NHS Communications

(Published August 22, 2012)