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Washington U. medical scholars make international impact

Post-Dispatch, September 22, 2011

Hannah Otepka remembers when people in a rural village in the state of Tamil Nadu, India, would line up outside the mobile health clinic. It was 2006, and Otepka, a third-year medical student at Creighton University, and her colleagues did the only thing they could — they handed four ibuprofen pills to each patient and sent them on their way. "I knew we'd relieve their pain for the day but that was it," Otepka said. "There was no work-up or treatment to fix what was really happening. I remember thinking we weren't really making a huge impact on healthcare, that there had to be a better way." Fast-forward five years to a recent afternoon. Otepka, now a resident in internal medicine at Washington University, stands beside an ambulance outside a warehouse in Fenton. One day soon, maybe in December, she says, she or other members of the university's Global Health Scholars in Internal Medicine will head to Guatemala — with the ambulance — to treat patients.