Students and Faculty Complete 7th Medical Mission to El Salvador
Five pharmacy students, three nursing students, and Dr. Christine Birnie, Associate Professor in the Wegmans School of Pharmacy, recently returned from the 7th medical mission trip to El Salvador after spending eight days offering healthcare services to rural and underserved communities.
Pharmacy students Melanie Johnson, Jenna Clark, Matt Yacobucci, Chenzira Raphael, and Megan Ziegler, along with nursing students Madeline Anthony, Marinda McIntyre, and Emily Osgood left June 1 and returned June 9, participating in two projects while there.
The pharmacy students, along with Birnie, were in Santa Ana, while the nursing students spent their time serving in Boqueron. In total, both teams saw over 2,500 patients come through the mobile medical and dental clinics in rural settings. Pharmacy students assisted in the pharmacy, but also shadowed physicians and dentists as they treated patients. The nursing students managed the triage area for their team, recording vitals and patient symptoms and complaints.
The group traveled with Global Health Outreach, a project of the Christian Medical and Dental Associations. There were 49 members of the Santa Ana team and 22 members on the Boqueron team. The teams consisted of physicians, dentists, nurses, pharmacists, health professions students, individuals to help with reading glasses and children's outreach, as well as logistics people.
According to Birnie, one new aspect of the trip was the incorporation of patient home visits. Small teams of students and medical professionals went house to house in the community, visiting the elderly and homebound to address their specific health needs. The team provided a walker to an elderly woman that had limited mobility and provided medication and medical supplies to 94 families during the home visits.
One of the reasons Johnson chose Fisher for pharmacy school was because of the amount of medical mission trips the school supported. She said the biggest impact the trip had on her was the ability the group had to affect so many people’s lives in such a short amount of time.
“One big lesson that I took away from El Salvador was to embrace opportunities to share my faith within my job field,” said Johnson. “In the future, I still will be looking for opportunities to combine the two worlds of my job and my faith.”
Johnson says she plans to participate in at least one more mission trip while she’s a student, but she hopes to go on more.
The Wegmans School of Pharmacy will sponsor another El Salvador trip this July, with a group of eight students being led by Dr. Alex DeLucenay, Assistant Professor and graduate of the School of Pharmacy.