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   Date: 3/9/10 Bookmark and Share

Makhethe Mpoti ’08

Home country: Lesotho
Major: biochemistry

I finished Smith in May 2008. Then I moved to Boston and worked as a research assistant for a clinical study at Boston Medical Center. The goal of the study, called Project RED for Re-Engineered Discharge, was to improve hospital discharge so as to decrease the number of re-hospitalizations within 30 days of initial discharge. The inpatient doctors who started the project realized that it didn't take very long for patients to show up in the emergency room again, and they wanted to get it right the first time!

I was really happy doing this job because I knew by the time I left Smith that I did not want to do basic science research in a lab (the track that Biochemistry majors typically follow). At the same time, I didn't know much about clinical research and didn't know if I would feel comfortable doing it. It was also a great first full-time job because of the wonderful team I worked with.

Despite being quite happy at work, I was otherwise continuing to miss home terribly and in December 2008, I decided that when my work permit ended in June 2009, I would not renew it but would return home to Lesotho. And so I got back to the country on June 7th and started working a week later on June 15. I work for an organization called Lesotho-Boston Health Alliance (LeBoHA) formed by some doctors in the department of Family Medicine at Boston University/Boston Medical Center with an interest in International Health. LeBoHA has two main mandates: 1) training doctors in the specialty of family medicine in a new program that started in January 2008, and 2) improving systems in the hospitals where our registrars train.

I work as the Residency Administrator for the Family Medicine Specialty Training Program (FMSTP), the first of its kind in a country. Despite the fact that Lesotho does not have a medical school, there is a great need to train doctors to work in rural settings that are found in Lesotho.

I am extremely happy to be home. Additionally, continuing to work in the health arena is perfect preparation as I'm currently applying to medical school in neighboring South Africa.

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