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Service Learning Trips - Guatemala 2015

In March 2015, 14 Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University students and three Temple physicians, Emergency Medicine physicians Drs. Megan Healy and James Miranda and Internal Medicine physician Dr. Ellen Tedaldi, traveled to Guatemala for the TEAC Spring 2015 Medical Service Learning Trip. This year, TEAC worked with VIDA Volunteer, a non-profit international health organization based in Central America. In working with VIDA, the trip focused on healthcare sustainability and chronic disaster relief. The goal of the trip was to work with VIDA to deliver free medical care, education and provide medications to the underserved areas of El Chipoton and El Yalu, two small villages outside of Antigua, Guatemala. Both of these communities suffer from chronic poverty, inadequate education and little if any access to healthcare. Through VIDA, the TEAC students and physicians worked with the two Guatemalan physicians who facilitated integration into these small, rural communities.

Over the course of the trip TEAC students and physicians donated over 150 pounds of supplies, including toothbrushes, toothpaste, children’s books and soap to the patients who came to see us. A total of 229 patients were treated during the four days of open clinic. Patients presented with a variety of diseases including chicken pox, scabies, musculoskeletal pain, respiratory infections, heart abnormalities, GERD, vaccination infections and many others. In addition, TEAC members educated the local communities about health topics, including perinatal nutrition, healthy eating and hygiene. The group also visited the Hospital Nacional Pedro De Bethancourt in Antigua, Guatemala. Here, students were able to round on patients in a Labor and Delivery ward as well as assist in several procedures, including a C-section. The students and physicians benefited from being able to witness (and experience) how medicine is practiced in Guatemala and how compassion in medicine transcends cultural differences.

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