A total of 88 students, consisting of 43 UGM students and 45 international students, participated in a summer course organized by UGM from November 6 to 17.
The chosen theme for the summer course on precision medicine aims to introduce future healthcare professionals to the importance of treating patients using specific patient data, including genetic information and lifestyle factors, to identify disease risks, predict treatment outcomes, and develop targeted therapies.
In addition to classroom learning, course participants were taken to observe healthcare practices at community health centers, health examinations for elementary school students, and healthcare services for older people in Mlati, Sleman.
Some participating students from the Netherlands, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, and Myanmar were also invited to interact directly with healthcare professionals.
They took part in providing dental health education at Cebongan Elementary School and witnessed the rehabilitation of patients with a history of recurrent mental illness at Mlati 2 Community Health Center.
Berta Devi Aryani, a psychologist at Mlati 2 Community Health Center, explained that in the three villages around the health center, there are 102 patients with mental disorders who need intensive rehabilitation and care involving healthcare professionals, government support, and family support.
“We always routinely provide education to make families aware of the importance of mental health. In addition to providing information, family gatherings are also held to provide support,” she said.
Aryani said that patients who are almost healed are continuously monitored. They are invited to the health center every week to participate in various activities such as gardening, painting eggs, and making ceramic pottery.
“These activities train their emotions when they are angry and upset. It is pitiful for them to have to consume medication constantly. Here, they can participate in coloring and drawing. They can color eggs and sell them to consumers, and they earn money,” Aryani said, mentioning two of her patients from Tirtoadi Village who regularly come to the health center every week.
Joost Keijer from VU University Medical Center (VUMC) Amsterdam said he was happy interacting directly with healthcare professionals at the health center.
“We are happy because we can exchange ideas about what is important for us to adopt the health system in the future. We can meet and interact directly with the community and meet patients with mental disorders at the health center. It becomes a new experience for us,” he said.
He said healthcare services in Indonesia are very different from what he sees in his home country, the Netherlands. In Indonesia, health education involves health cadres due to Indonesia’s vast territory and diverse community conditions.
“Unlike in the Netherlands, no integrated health posts and community health centers exist. I see that Indonesia urgently needs many healthcare workers to serve the community,” he said.
Kim Schipper, another student from VUMC Amsterdam, the Netherlands, also expressed enthusiasm for interacting with elementary school children about the importance of maintaining oral health and witnessing vaccination activities conducted by health center officials in classrooms.
Maizatul Shariza from Universiti Putra Malaysia was impressed with the field healthcare activities, which she found closely related to what she had learned on campus.
“I am a student of health nutrition, and what I have learned so far can be beneficial, like conducting screenings and preventing stunting programs and prenatal classes, especially yoga programs for pregnant women. I got new ideas to educate children about maintaining dental hygiene,” she said.
Chair of the Academic Internationalization Team, Professor Gunadi, MD, stated that this summer course involving international students is part of the effort to achieve sustainable development goals (SDGs), especially in improving healthcare services for the community.
“This activity is closely related to SDGs related to community services. Now, education is no longer based on evidence but on precision medicine with genomic profiling, so the treatment is also different,” he said.
“Healthcare professionals cannot walk alone; they need precision medicine, following patients’ genomic data.”
Author: Gusti Grehenson