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Greetings from Denmark!
Monday, Sep. 28, 2009
My name is Yvonne Monteverde. I’m actually a senior studying abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark. I’m a Philosophy major, and Japanese Studies minor and taking Pre-med requisites “on the side” as I like to call it. I am part of an organization called Health Occupations for Multicultural students, which was changed from CHE the Chicano/Latinos in Health Education to include a more diverse student population who are interested in health care careers, EMT on campus, and traveled to Honduras last spring break with Global Medical Brigades to translate and deliver medical supplies.
My choice to come to Denmark was not because of the location. I would have actually preferred to go to Africa or another place not Europe, because everyone goes to Europe, but the program Medical Practice and Policy, part of the Danish Institute for Study Abroad was what attracted my attention. I later learned that the location was perfect for learning about public health because of Denmark’s welfare system. Healthcare and education are free! I concluded that Denmark was definitely the perfect place to see the differences, and pros and cons of socialized healthcare.
The whole ideal behind the welfare system in Denmark, as I learned in my culture class, is because Denmark is a small country; they feel a “tribal” sense of community. Everyone is connected to everyone else in some way. The only downside to this system is the high taxes involved. 50% of all Danes’ income goes to taxes as well as when you buy groceries, that 9.25% sales tax that we complain about in California, is 25% here! Danes have mixed feelings about this, some are content with the system and find a great sense of security. The more rich of the bunch, are turning towards privatized healthcare. But in general, most Danes I’ve met are pretty happy with their system. Healthcare here is mostly public, and unlike the states, the best doctors in Denmark, are in the public system as opposed to the private system. Few people have private health insurance because everyone is covered, from cradle to grave, with health insurance.
As part of the DIS MPP program, you are taught by doctors in Denmark pretty much beginner medical school topics. The most interesting part of the program is actually seeing what you learn about hospitals and healthcare in Denmark-in action! Two weeks ago, we had what they call a “study tour” in which we traveled to Western Denmark and visited a children’s hospital and how they are sustaining neonatal children using a technique called CPAP. We also visited other hospitals seeing MRI machines, their research centers.
All that was fascinating because I haven’t actually had the chance to shadow any doctors, but my favorite part of the trip, was definitely the General Practitioner’s office we visited. General practitioners act as a “gate-keepers” here to the hospital. They do everything! Go to one GP for all your needs, whether it’s a cold, a gynecological visit, or pediatrics, you do not go to different doctors for all these services, a one stop. And if you or your GP feels you need specialized hospital care, they refer you to a specialist. Both communicate and your GP knows all about you.. This particular GP office had their own emergency room and laboratory for blood samples. It’s pretty efficient and convenient, in my opinion.
All in all, I will let all of you know more details as I learn about universal healthcare in Denmark.
The Fountain at Gammel Torv on the famous (and longest) shopping street in Europe,
Strøget. I am living in a Folk high school with 15 other Americans, 20 Danes, and 20 Europeans. Folk high schools are native to Denmark for "enlightenment of the people," and young Danes go take classes for no grades. Simply to learn.
MRI machine at another hospital at the University of Århus. They were doing research on a dog who had possible alzheimers and looking at differences in brain activity.
Rigshospitalet-->The national Danish hospital in Copenhagen. It is the biggest and most well known hospital in Denmark. It is also where my main core course is held, Human Health and Disease. We have patient contact, all the time! It also boasts a Helipad.
The neonatal intensive healthcare unit at the Hans Christian Andersen Children's Hospital in Odense, Denmark. Premature babies are born with underdeveloped lungs, and are placed here for treatment with CPAP, continuous positive airway pressure, for ease of breathing while their lungs develop.
Posted by Yvonne Monteverde