This past March, physician assistant students from Stony Brook University collaborated with Blanca’s House to travel to Guayaquil, Ecuador for a health care mission to provide medical services and education to outlying, underserved communities. Our service focused on women’s health and gynecologic surgery while also encompassing pediatrics and internal medicine. Individuals in Ecuador presented with a myriad of illnesses but most commonly weight loss, vaginal infections, GI disturbances, asthma from harsh dusty conditions they live in, parasites, hypertension and diabetes. We witnessed a broad range of medical diagnosis from gynecomastia and hernias to HPV and prolapse repairs.
We were able to make a huge impact in Ecuador by supplementing our medical visits with education for our patients. Most barely spoke English and had limited medical knowledge, but we were able to provide far-reaching effects through health promotion, lifestyle modifications and medical treatment focused on prevention. We had surgeons, nurse anesthetists, physician assistants, PA students, medical assistants, nurses and translators in the hopes of making a positive change with every patient encounter. For gynecology, we were able to perform pap smears and pelvic exams screening for infection. We were able to offer children toothpaste, toothbrushes, stickers, vitamins, and wellness checks. For adults, we were able to perform many full histories and physicals, and prescribe antibiotics, topical creams, and scripts as needed.
This medical mission truly drives home the compassionate service we as professionals should strive for every day. Just one smile from any one of those kids in Ecuador touched our hearts and inspired us to do more for our communities on a daily basis, whether it be through health literacy, flyers, or word of mouth. Our passion for medicine has grown from this trip and the ability to make a difference in people’s lives fuels our ambition. We would like to thank Henry Schein Cares Foundation for all of their generous and thoughtful donations, as we could not have done this trip without their help. We appreciate your contributions and can’t thank you enough for your help in making this mission a success.
~Stony Brook PA Class 2017