Friday, April 11, 2014
In January of this year, I traveled to the Dominican Republic with twenty-four of my first and second year classmates for a week long medical mission trip. We worked closely with the Daemen College PA Program as they have been going on this trip for years. As a team, we were able to provide the local community of Hoyo del Toro with two weeks of not only medical care but also basic needs such as food, clothing, and eye glasses. At first I was a bit skeptical as to how much of an impact we would be able to make in just seven days. However, much to my surprise, I feel like we accomplished a great deal, which was a nice reminder of our knowledge and the power of medicine. We were able to diagnose and treat otitis media (ear infections), bronchitis, urinary tract infections, tinea corporis (ringworm), and even scabies. Typically, the patients we saw were either healthy or complained of musculoskeletal pain or "gripe", meaning flu. The latter patients were so happy to leave with a week’s supply of Tylenol or Advil. Reaching out to individuals in their village and community allowed us to build a trusting relationship with people who do not have easy access to medical care. We were able to provide toothbrushes, toothpaste, rice, beans, soaps, condoms, and vitamins to our patients and the community. While these items were a small gesture, it was easy to see how much it meant to our patients.
The week was definitely an eye-opener. It made me really think about the difference between need and want and offered a new, fresh perspective. I was so humbled and learned how truly fortunate I am. I hope that I always have an opportunity to do something similar every year to keep me grounded personally and professionally. While it took hard work, dedication, and weeks of preparation, the experiences I left with were invaluable.
Thank you Daemen & Clarkson Universities, classmates, preceptors and Rafael for this remarkable opportunity.