By Kate Hunger
When a group of UT Health San Antonio students traveled to India in March, they engaged in academic and clinical experiences during their time at the Manipal College of Health Professions—but the learning didn’t stop there.
The nine students from the departments of Speech-Language Pathology and Physician Assistant Studies and the School of Nursing also had the opportunity to engage in cultural experiences: They visited temples, learned about Ayurveda and yoga, bathed and fed elephants at a rescue sanctuary and even attended a wedding.
Sandeep Subramanian, Ph.D., BPTh, Physical Therapy Assistant Professor led the trip, which ran from March 7-18. While on campus, he gave several lectures, participated in a workshop, and consulted on research.
First-year PA Studies student Madison Nieberlein has traveled around the world but never had visited India. She joined the trip to gain insights that she hoped she would be able to carry with her for the rest of her life.
She said PA Studies students had the opportunity to round with physicians and physical therapists in different settings. She noted similarities in the quality of healthcare but differences in resources. Another observation she made speaks to her own goals when she is in practice.
“In India, the patients really listen to the doctors,” she said. “The doctors are really respected there. I hope to have patients be more aware that we are a team. We should be like a provider in India, where there is mutual respect and we are working to better your life as a team.”
Speech-language pathology student Prithvi Patel said she was pleasantly surprised by how much she was able to learn on a fairly tight schedule during the time spent with Ph.D. students and speech-language pathology faculty.
“It was really cool to see how much we were able to learn,” she said. “We were able to go and see some of their patients and see their protocols and see how they are different from ours here.”
Patel, whose parents are from India, said she was able to gain even more insights because she speaks Hindi and Gujarati. She hopes to return after graduation.
“I feel like that would help me as a clinician,” she said.
Subramanian said the students were excellent ambassadors for UT Health San Antonio.
“The way they conducted themselves and the way they behaved, I was so proud of them,” Subramanian said.