Each year, Valparaiso nursing, pre-medical and pre-dental students travel on a medical mission trip to Costa Rica and Nicaragua as an alternative spring break. Working with licensed medical professionals, from both the United States and the local country, students perform basic health checks, identify primary health problems, make diagnoses and distribute medications in both urban and rural communities. Also, restorative and preventative dentistry is achieved as well as information on optometric need. In the poor areas of Costa Rica and Nicaragua, frequent health problems include malnutrition, malaria, lice, intestinal parasites, scabies, cholera, acute diarrhea, rapant carries, periodontal disease, and pterygium.
Not only do students get a hands on experience in the profession, they provide needed services and self-sustainable health care systems.
Dr. Janet Brown, dean of Valparaiso’s College of Nursing, said that through the medical mission trip, students see how their education can be used to make a tremendous difference in people’s lives and gain increased awareness of health issues around the world.
“Hundreds of people who don’t have access to regular health care will receive assistance from our students,” Dr. Brown said. “This is not only an opportunity for students to put into practice the skills they’ve learned, but also helps students develop a deeper understanding of how health care provides an opportunity to be leaders as they serve others.”
Amy Cory, an adjunct assistant professor of nursing who is traveling with the students, will work with students on a community-based participatory action research project to prevent those problems from occurring in the first place.
“Through this project, we aim to become partners with the community and help empower its members to develop a plan to improve their overall health,” she said.
International Service Learning
ISL Operational Statement
As an international educational agency, ISL provides medical and educational teams of volunteers to provide services for the undeserved populations of Central and South America, Mexico, and Africa.
ISL provides educational opportunities for students from over eighty universities in several countries, but primarily in the United States. It is the goal of ISL to simultaneously provide both the above educational opportunities for students from developed countries while providing services for developing countries. This is accomplished by offering the educational opportunities on a contractual basis to both educational institutions and individual students as well. The financial resources gained are then used to fund the teams serving in the various countries. In so doing, ISL provides employment opportunities for over a hundred individuals in developing countries annually. These jobs range from full-time employment to periodic contracts in areas ranging from medical professionals to the providers of service such as transportation, translation, guides and logistics (food, housing, etc.)."
San Jose, Costa Rica
& La Palma, Ometepe Island, Nicaragua
. . . coming soon. . .
2008 Medical Mission Trip pre-meders in Nicaragua
2009 Medical Mission Trip nursing, premed, predental students in Costa Rica
2009 Medical Mission Trip nursing, premed, predental students in Nicaragua
2009 Medical Mission Trip donated medication
Senior Danny Stackowicz takes instructions from Dr. Juan on extracting a tooth
Junior Steve Odegard takes a plunge
Scholarships are available for both Nursing students and Christ College Students. More information can be found by contacting your CC or nursing advisor. Any additional questions should be directed to Proff. Dr. Amy Cory, College of Nursing at Amy.Cory@Valpo.Edu.