In an effort to provide the local communities of Nicaragua with adequate health services, 35 first-year Mercy College Physician’s Assistant (PA) program students traveled to the the town of Santa Maura for a week this past May to increase access to care.
The group worked with five practicing PA’s and five in-country doctors, including a pharmacist and dentist. The team served over 1,000 patients over the course of a four day clinic.
“This was something I’ve never experienced before,” said Rachel Rubin, PA-S. “I had no expectations because I had never been to a country like this before. It was a pleasant surprise.”
The locals were very grateful to the care that Rubin and her classmates provided and it was obvious, despite the language barrier.
“Everyone was so appreciative, nice and patient. It was really refreshing,” she said.
To make this trip happen, the students had to collectively raise $8,000 for the group and individually raise $1,570. To raise the necessary funds, the students ran multiple bake sales and received donations from friends, families and supporters.
It wasn’t all health care though. Following their clinic, the group dedicated two days to providing public healthcare to a few family homes outside of the city. At these locations they built septic tanks and placed cement floors to improve their abodes. Although health care is important, home hygiene is imperative to keeping the locals healthy.
Global Brigades was quintessential to this trip for the students as they provided access to finding doctors on the ground as well as setting up the compound they stayed in.
Although this trip was priceless to those who received treatment in Nicaragua, the students also come away with experiences that help them in their education and lifelong goals.
“It made me a lot more comfortable with things I have to do here [in school] because I got experience talking to and examining patients,” Rubin said. “It really helped me with my skills and how to effectively communicate with patients.”
“We are all so grateful to the Henry Schein Cares Foundation, this trip would not have been possible without those donations,” Rubin said.