Young Scholar travels the world to serve others in need

Theodosia Yamano in scrubs with stethoscope

Young Scholar travels the world to serve others in need

By Aaron Marshall

While many Buckeye students will undoubtedly head home this summer for an internship or a part-time job, Young Scholar Theodosia Yamano will pack her bags for extended trips to Peru and Ghana as part of a mission to provide health care to the needy.

The third-year health sciences major will be part of a medical team from Volunteers Around the World (VAW) dedicated to providing care to folks who go without regular checkups because of financial or geographical reasons.

The new horizons next summer will build on Yamano's first VAW experience in Panama when she shadowed doctors and helped triage patients in rural settings, including remote islands reachable only by water taxi.

"We were taking vitals and checking blood pressure and asking people for their height and weight," said Yamano, who is studying to become a Physician Assistant at The Ohio State University. "My passion is for helping others, especially global health. Going to a different country and building a relationship with the doctors there was so rewarding; it made my heart warm."

Yamano said the patients were grateful for the medical care and treated her like she was already a medical professional. "They accepted all my help and even helped me with a Spanish word or phrase if I didn't say it right," she said. "It was nice to be accepted in such a positive way; it was a privilege to be held in such a high regard."

Growing up in Ghana before immigrating to the United States, Yamano saw first-hand how many in developing countries lack access to health care. "Just seeing the lower class in Ghana and how they lived, it made me want to do better for anyone in that situation," Yamano said.

While the Panama trip meant working alongside doctors in open-air settings in rural communities, Yamano will be working in a more traditional hospital setting this summer in her native Ghana. "I'll be shadowing doctors and working in different departments in the hospital," she said.

While Yamano had given some thought to pursuing a medical degree, the physician assistant role allows "more flexibility" and a chance to care for patients in a more encompassing way. "I just like the wholistic aspect of health care and helping in that way," she said.

Yamano said she encourages fellow students who may be interested in experiencing new cultures while serving others to consider a VAW excursion. "It's just fun being in a different country and doing something good as well as having a great time," she said.