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Members serve abroad with UT Global Medical Training

This past winter break, five of our members had the wonderful opportunity to volunteer with UT Global Medical Training and Work the World! We asked them a few questions about their experience and what they learned while in Peru and the Dominican Republic, each member responding with a unique perspective. Here are their answers, stories and life lessons gained.

Mason Stevens MC’15

Where did you go and with what organization?

I went to the Dominican Republic with Global Medical Training (GMT).

Why did you decide to go and what was your experience like there?

I have always wanted to go on a mission trip and when I found this organization that merges a mission trip with medical training, I thought it was the perfect trip.

Mason with some patients in

Every day we would travel to a village outside of La Romana and set up a pharmacy and a clinic in a church or a school. Once set-up, families would come and we would work as a 3-person team to determine a diagnosis. After we diagnosed the patient, we called over the doctor to confirm and write a prescription. Then, we got the medication from the pharmacy and explained why/how the patient should take the medication.

What did you learn while you were there and what are you taking back with you?

I learned how privileged we are here in the US to have such great medical care. I have seen poverty in my home city, Houston, but seeing how some of the people in these communities lived, I saw what real poverty was. Oddly, it wasn't a sad experience though because the people living in the villages found happiness in family and in everyday activities. They didn't dwell on their situation, but made the best of it.

What I brought back was a new appreciation for the blessings I have. Even the fact that I have unending access to clean water is more than the people we were serving can say. This trip changed my view of poverty; people living in poverty aren't pessimistic and angry. It's actually the opposite: they appreciate everything they have and take joy in the little things. What I hope to take away from this trip is to find happiness and blessings in the small parts of my life like my family and friends rather than in material things. Lastly, I definitely took away an ample amount of medical knowledge. In one short week, I learned so much about medicine and the way it affects our bodies. I also learned how to diagnosis and prescribe medicine to a patient, something that I know I will be able to bring into my future career in medicine.

Mackenzie Roach MC'15

Where did you go and with what organization?

I got the opportunity to go abroad with Global Medical Training (GMT for short) to Nicaragua over New Years to help give medical assistance.

Why did you decide to go and what was your experience like there?

I decided to go on this trip for a lot of different reasons. As a nursing major, it helps me learn about my future career in health care. I also love to travel and visit new places. The most important reason I decided to go was to help others who really needed it.

We set up clinics in small villages outside of Granada, Nicaragua, and helped diagnose patients (with the help of Nicaraguan doctors) and give them the treatment they needed.

What did you learn while you were there and what are you taking back with you?

I think the most important thing I learned in Nicaragua was that being a health care professional is so much more than just finding a problem and prescribing medicine. It's about taking care of people, and trying to get them to be happier and healthier. That's what I've really taken from this trip. Kindness, love, understanding, and genuine interest in someone's wellbeing is the best way to take of care of someone. Medicine helps, but kindness is key.

Christy Goldberg MC'13

Where did you go and with what organization?

Arequipa, Peru. Work The World.

Why did you decide to go and what was your experience like there?

I had a small scholarship that could be used towards research, study abroad or an internship so I started looking into nursing internships in countries that I could practice my medical Spanish over winter break. I did a week long intensive Spanish immersion program followed by two weeks of a nursing internship at Hospital Goyeneche, predominantly in the oncology unit. I traveled to Puno on my first weekend and visited Uros Floating Islands. We spent the night with a native family on Taquile Island. I went to Cusco & Aguas Calientes the second weekend and spent a day at Machu Picchu which was AMAZING.

What did you learn while you were there and what are you taking back with you?

I learned that we are very privileged to have the healthcare that exists in the states. I also learned a lot about healthcare and education in my housemates' countries of Canada, Italy, Japan and Australia.

A desire to travel more! I am so glad I chose to get outside my comfort zone and travel on my own. I met some of the coolest people and had the most interesting conversations with my housemates, patients, doctors, and new friends in Peru. I'm already looking at booking another trip to South America after graduation :)

Holly Grossman MC’15

Where did you go and with what organization?

La Romana and Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, UT Global Medical Training

Why did you decide to go and what was your experience like there?

I wanted to experience something new and help provide hope for people who really needed it.

For four days, we traveled to four different clinics to provide medical care and prescriptions in rural villages outside of La Romana. Three pre-med students would be paired with a translator, and patients would be seen throughout the day until everyone was seen. We would take vitals, collect patient histories, and list possible diagnoses and medications before consulting a doctor who would then prescribe the medication for the patient for free.

What did you learn while you were there and what are you taking back with you?

I learned a lot about medicine, but I learned even more about the situations of those in extreme poverty and what they are forced to deal with on a daily basis. Without proper medical care and sanitation, our patients in the villages had no choice but to live without cleanliness, unable to deal with their own disease. By visiting the clinics and talking personally with all of the patients, we learned much more about the patients’ lives than just the state of their health.

I took back a want to help others outside of my community. I think it is important to help those around us, but it is often too easy to stay in our own personal bubble and forget that there are many people miles away that require the same attention.

Kiley Caso MC’15

Where did you go and with what organization?

Global Medical Training (GMT), Dominican Republic

Why did you decide to go and what was your experience like there?

I'd heard about GMT freshman year and thought it sounded like a lot of fun so I joined the club this year. I kind of just signed up for a trip without thinking anything of it, but I'm so happy I did. I'd never been out of the country before so traveling out of the states was an experience in and of itself for me. Overall, I learned so much, experienced a new culture, and had lots of yummy food :).

What did you learn while you were there?

Honestly, I think the most exciting and practical thing that I learned was the reasoning behind why you can't take Advil if you have stomach problems, but you can take Tylenol--something I probably should've learned a long time ago. Overall though, I learned so much about medicine and medical applications which was so cool to me. I was able to take things I've learned at UT and watch them be applied to a real life patient. The doctors on my GMT trip were awesome and so happy to teach was a great learning experience!

What are you taking back with you?

It was definitely interesting to help people who had such little knowledge of their own medical history/information and how so many didn't have access to medicine we carry around in our backpacks like Advil or Tylenol. Going on the trip opened my eyes to a whole different perspective about what people do and don't know about the basics of their health and what they do/don't have access to.

We are so proud of our sisters who chose to spend their break serving and helping others!

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