2022: Imagining More Dignified Care: An Interview with Fernando Chavarria

August 26, 2022

Fernando Chavarria, M.D. is a Research Assistant for the Institute for Healthcare Improvement.

What do you do?
I am a Research Assistant at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement. I work on implementation and quality improvement projects in Mexico and other countries in Latin America, especially Peru, Panama, Argentina, and Brazil. 

What led you to where you are today?
I am very passionate about how we deliver care to patients. As a medical intern, I rotated through many hospitals in my region, so I have had clinical rotations in both the public and private sectors. What struck me the most was the difference in the quality of the services we were providing. It shocked me how healthcare workers treated patients differently. I have always believed that the way we deliver services to people has an immeasurable impact on people's future decisions. How we treat our patients whenever they go to a hospital, health center, or rural clinic impacts their future choices. We all have the same right to receive a dignified, resilient, and empathetic approach.

What is something you wish to accomplish in your career?
My goal is to provide quality service to all people. To achieve that, we need to have providers who are happy and excited to help people. We, as healthcare staff, study medicine because we want to help others. Due to the fragility of the systems and hierarchies, many of us lose that feeling along the way. I want to address the issue of medical burnout in my country.

Why did you apply to the GHDI program?
I hoped that this program would help me to strengthen many of the skills that I have already learned – not necessarily the global health part, but the delivery part of the course. I think that's something unique about this program.

What impact do you think GHDI will have on your career?
This program gave me tools I didn't know I could use. It was an experience that opened my eyes. One thing I love about the syllabus is how everything we saw during the first two weeks made sense together at the end of the program. That showed us that the faculty has been working on the program and polishing it over the years.

What work have you been most proud of in your career?
The opportunities to learn from people who inspire me every day–their achievements, where they are, and what they have been facing–have left me with an enormous feeling of hope. 

What would you say to someone who's just starting out in healthcare?
Stay passionate. The story we will tell at the end will be very powerful, and the goal we share is to fight for fair, equitable access to health for everyone.

What advice would you give to someone who is considering applying to GHDI?
Everyone should apply, because you will gain a lot of knowledge. It's a really joyful experience. It's very unique. To listen to the stories of my classmates and people who are actually making changes in the world of healthcare is a really mesmerizing adventure.