2022: Delivering Care Directly to Communities: An Interview with Amanda Farrell

August 26, 2022

Amanda Farrell, M.D is an OBGYN Resident at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

What do you do?
I am a second year OB GYN resident in Boston. I spend most of my days on the labor floor or in the operating room doing gynecologic procedures, teaching medical students, and learning a lot myself. 

What led you to where you are today?
I have been participating in global health experiences for many years. GHDI was a really unique opportunity to follow my passion while I am a resident. During medical school, I learned how to deliver healthcare to local communities and meet their needs. It shaped the way I approach my job. The current system of medicine depends on patients coming to us. I think it’s powerful to reimagine a system where we work with community leaders to deliver care directly to patients.

What is something you wish to accomplish in your career?
I am from St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and the majority of my family still lives there. Eventually, I want to go back and apply everything I’ve learned as a physician to that context. I want to understand why the average woman is not getting access to preventative gynecologic care and improve access to family planning, ideally in partnership with the Health Ministry.

What impact do you think GHDI will have on your career?
One of our lecturers emphasized that community-based work requires us to “move at the speed of trust” and that was a very impactful phrase for me. When engaging in global health work, it is important to understand and collaborate with the community’s stakeholders. This might sound simple, but it’s a helpful framework to analyze programs that have done this work successfully.

What work have you been most proud of?
In Vietnam during my third year of medical school, I learned a lot about being outside of my comfort zone. I was really proud of my ability to soak up information and learn from people who are more experienced than I am.

What would you say to someone just starting out in healthcare in your country?
It is important to recognize the complexity of the American healthcare system, both for providers and patients. There are many social determinants of health that must be tackled to improve care delivery in the United States. It is a daunting task that requires flexibility and humility. 

Why did you apply to the GHDI program? What did you hope to get out of it?
When I was thinking about residency, I wanted to focus on sustainability and delivery of care. I hoped this program would provide me with those frameworks and allow me to meet people who are working in the global health sphere. I definitely found that.

What do you think someone should know before applying to GHDI?
When I applied, I wrote down my motivations. I then used those reflections as a framework to ensure I was being authentic in my application and, ultimately, as a participant. GHDI is great if you are seeking to build a foundation to approach the complexities of global health work.