A student will be speaking about his summer experience in Peru, where he worked to make more plant-based medicines available at local pharmacies.
The project was led by Linfield Tom Love, professor of anthropology, and director of the Phoebe Hearst Museum of Anthropology at the University of California Berkeley, Doug Sharon.
“I was studying abroad in Ecuador during spring semester and was looking for an opportunity to stay in South America longer, and this [project] gave me that chance,” senior Sam Gauksheim said in an email.
Gauksheim studied medicinal plants and their use in Peru’s health care system by talking with doctors and other medical professionals.
“We [were] working to establish a supply line of medicinal plants from the mountains where they are grown down to the coast where I lived,” Gauksheim said in an email. “The goal is to make more plants available to patients at the pharmacy in the clinic, while promoting sustainable farming practices and hopefully creating an income for the people growing them.”
Gauksheim spent seven months in Peru and experienced some of the Peruvian traditional medicines.
“My host mother often treated me with teas of different herbs she bought or harvested from our back yard,” Gauksheim said in an email. “I am a true believer that these plants can be used to decrease people’s dependence on pharmaceuticals.”
“If people have been using them for hundreds of years to cure their ailments, then why should we stop now?” Gauksheim said in an email.
Peru has a decentralized health care system. The largest provider, Peru’s Ministry of Health, provides for 60 percent of the population. A variety of other smaller providers provide the remaining population. This system is left with a high degree of overlap and a lack of coordination according to the World Health Organization.
The World Health Organization attributes Peru’s growing demand for alternative medicines on Peru’s poor health care system.
Gauksheim will address the use of traditional medicine in the public health sector of Peru.
“Having the opportunity to stay in South America for another couple months made me realize that much more how important culture is in our world,” Gauksheim said in an email.
“Many people couldn’t imagine living in another country where they don’t speak ‘our’ language, but it was honestly the most important part of my time here at Linfield,” Gauksheim said in an email.
Gauksheim’s talk is scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m. on Nov. 6 in Jonasson Hall.
Ryan Morgan / Senior reporter
Ryan Morgan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.