Twelve faculty, students, and staff from the George Washington University School of Nursing (SON) flew to Haiti on August 6, 2014 for a 10-day medical mission as part of a unique partnership to improve the health of those living in the northern part of Haiti near Cap-Haïtien.
After the 2010 earthquake, the U.S. Department of State, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and Haitian government developed strategies to rejuvenate the Haitian economy outside of Port Au Prince. One solution was to create an industrial park, thus creating jobs for upwards of 20,000 Haitians.
The anchor of this effort is Sae-A Trading Co., Ltd, a South Korean-based global company that operates a network of garment factories across the world. It employs more than 50,000 people in their factories, many of whom make the T-shirts sold in U.S. stores and that are worn everyday. In addition to the Caracol Industrial Park in Haiti, Sae-A opened a primary school that will provide free education to 200 Haitian students, many of whom have parents working in the park.
After establishing the park and school, the next step has been to provide housing and health care for the community. To support this endeavor, USAID built 750 housing units with clean running water and electricity (remarkable since only 12 percent of Haitians have access to consistent electricity). Sae-A made a generous gift to support SON faculty and student travel costs to Haiti and provided housing, food, and transportation for the SON team while in Haiti. It is expected this will be a long-term partnership integrating health care into economic development efforts for Haitian citizens. The SON team plans to make an annual trip to Cap-Haitien with Sae-A to provide health care services. Additionally, through several interdisciplinary relationships and programs at GW, SON’s students and faculty have the opportunity to travel to Haiti to continue this good work.
While in Cap-Haïtien, the GW nurses partnered with a group of South Korean-based doctors from Pusan National University, also sponsored by Sae-A, to provide treatment to almost 3,000 patients over the course of six days. The GW SON team spoke with patients and physicians through translators. During the mission, three languages were consistently used: English, Korean, and HaitianCreole.
The team encountered and treated a wide variety of illnesses. Health care providers encountered high levels of hypertension in fairly young, non-obese patients, unusual for other parts of the world and a cause for major concern. Many patients were also suffering from malnutrition and dehydration, eye disorders such as glaucoma, generalized pain, and a history of chikungunya, a mosquito-borne disease. The donation from the Henry Schein Company helped the nurses to effectively treat these patients, as GW Professor of Nursing Dr. Malinda Whitlow stated, “The unique experience providing health promotion, disease management, and being able to treat acute illnesses in the Haitian community was made possible with the donated items from Henry Schein. On the last day of the medical mission, a patient who was seen several days in a row to receive wound care for a foot laceration stated, ‘God be with you’ as he left the clinic. Those heartfelt moments could not have been possible without the dedicated medical staff and donors, such as Henry Schein.”
All patients who the team treated had their vital signs checked at triage, where the GW nursing students worked with two faculty supervisors, including SON Dean Jean Johnson. The triage team then sent patients to an appropriate specialty station: general surgery, OB-GYN, family medicine, or a pain clinic. All patients received a 30-day supply of multivitamins and a six-month supply of anti-parasite medication. In acknowledgement of the great need for medical education, all patients went through education stations, which included GW nursing student-created videos and hand-outs in Creole that address a range of topics, including hypertension, hand sanitation, rehydration, cholera, sexually transmitted infections, and pregnancy complications. Additionally, every adult man and woman received education about gender violence.
The George Washington University School of Nursing
In 2010, the GW School of Nursing was established as the university’s 10th academic institution, although the history of nursing education spans over 100 years at GW. The current status of SON gives the nursing program the recognition needed to reach its full potential and acknowledges the national need for an expanded nursing workforce at all levels of practice to serve in leadership, research, and direct-care capacities. The School of Nursing is fully accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.
For more than 25 years prior to having an independent nursing school, GW offered a range of degree and certificate programs at the baccalaureate, graduate, and post-doctorate levels. These included a Family Nurse Practitioner post-master’s certificate, as well as an Adult and Family Nurse Practitioner program at GW’s Foggy Bottom campus that was offered in collaboration with George Mason University.GW’s School of Nursing has been consistently recognized for its excellence in teaching, and it is ranked among the top 50 schools of nursing by US News and World Report, placing it in the top 10 percent of ranked nursing schools and the top seven percent of the more than 730 schools offering undergraduate and/or graduate nursing degree programs. Additionally, student enrollment continues to grow across all programs—BSN, MSN, and DNP—with more than 600 students in 14 programs, pathways, and specialty areas. These students reside in more than 47 states, countries, and military installations. Overall enrollment is expected to continue to increase, both through existing and new programs set to launch in 2015.
My Faith Looks Up To Thee Ministries (MFLUTT) located in Whitsett, North Carolina were the sponsors of a hugely successful Health & Wellness Fair on Saturday, September 13, 2014. The primary focus of this public health intervention was to assist the homeless, at-risk and other underserved populations of Guilford County, North Carolina. All of our special guests (i.e., homeless, at-risk and underserved) appreciated receiving free oral hygiene products (toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss). This was made possible due to the generosity of the Henry Schein Cares Foundation. In addition, our guests were given personal access to several healthcare professionals to answer specific concerns and provide targeted resources to help them with a variety of affordable healthcare services available to them in their communities. Also, our guests received “FREE” blood pressure and hearing screenings, HIV/AIDS testing, breast exams, and much more. In addition, our guests received spiritual health (i.e., prayer by ordained ministers, when requested). We hope to include dental screenings in the future.Although 110 people were confirmed participants (including 25 professional exhibitors, volunteers, donors), additional volunteers came on the day of the event to assist our special guests. As a testament to the success of this health fair, we were glad to learn (via completed evaluations) that many of the exhibitors, volunteers and our guests expressed interest in making this kind of health fair an annual event!
We held a charity event on Friday, June 20th that provided free dental care to the community. We saw 110 patients that day and gave free cleanings, extractions, and fillings. We stayed in our community in the Melbourne, FL area. That day we had 5 doctors and 3 hygienist working. The most common procedure we did that day was extractions, totaling up to 56 of them. We hope to give back to the community like this again in the near future!
Wellesley College chapter of Global Medical Brigades – El Obraje, Honduras
January 6th-13th, 2014
Wellesley College’ chapter of Global Medical Brigades (GMB) is part of an extensive network of student volunteers that comprises Global Brigades, a non-profit organization whose goal is to aid in the growth of developing nations. During January of 2014, ten Wellesley students participated in a medical brigade to Honduras, a country whose underdeveloped economy and poor infrastructure have contributed to the proliferation of maladies whose acquisition is easily prevented by clean water and sanitary living conditions.
With the generosity of the Henry Schein Cares Foundation, we were able to provide thorough medical & dental care to 949 patients in El Obraje, Honduras. As volunteers, we spent five days interacting with patients as well as their families, obtaining patient history and current symptoms, taking vital signs, and leading preventative education sessions. We taught children how to brush their teeth and provided them with fluoride treatment, toothbrushes and toothpaste. Intestinal parasites and fungal infections were the most common ailments and we were well equipped to treat these patients.
These intimate experiences have allowed us to become familiar with the prevalent health issues facing a poverty-stricken community. Global Brigades has allowed us to be initiated into the world of global health by making a tangible impact in small communities. Being exposed to medicine outside of the United States and understanding how a different culture interacts with their healthcare delivery system has been a remarkable and inspirational experience for us as undergraduate students.
We look forward to our continued relationship with the Henry Schein Cares Foundation to fulfill Wellesley GMB chapter’s ability to participate in this important mission.
Mission Trip to Mission Emanuel, Dominican Republic
April 36-May 3, 2014
Hope Presbyterian Church in Winston-Salem, NC had the opportunity to partner with Mission Emanuel, www.missionemanuel.org, in a trip providing pediatric care, women’s health education and dental care to a community in Cielo, Dominican Republic. Cielo is a poor community outside the capital city of Santo Domingo. Mission Emanuel has been present in Cielo for over 30 years. They have provided many specific services including a water purification plant, a pediatric clinic, a dental clinic, an early intervention program providing physical, occupational and speech therapies to special needs children, schools, a women’s cooperative providing employment to women of the village, a wheelchair factory for special needs individuals and a community health outreach program.
The pediatric team consisted of a general pediatrician and a pediatric emergency medicine physician. They partnered with a Dominican pediatrician to provide well and sick pediatric care to approximately 30 children per day. Routine sick visits were treated including colds, ear infections, asthma exacerbations and skin conditions. The team had the opportunity to treat a deep tissue abscess of the hand in a Haitian child that did not have access to medical care at the hospital.
The dental team consisted of a dentist and other team members that functioned as dental assistants. They partnered with a Dominican dentist to provide dental preventive care and restoration to 10-12 children a day.
The women’s health team was made up of a Women’s Health nurse practitioner and an Ob/gyn nurse. They made home visits to pregnant and postpartum women in the village. They brought a Doppler to allow pregnant women to hear their babies’ heartbeats for the first time. They also educated on women’s health issues.
The team was very impressed with the quality of care provided by the Dominican staff of Mission Emanuel and is looking forward to partnering with them in the future.
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