More than a dozen family nurse practitioner (FNP) students from Sutter Health affiliate Samuel Merritt College in Oakland traveled to northern Laos this month to provide free healthcare for Hmong villagers. The students were accompanied by four faculty members, led by associate professor Valerie Dzubur, EdD, FNP-C.
The 2-week excursion - to local hospitals, orphanages and villages in and around Vientiane, the capitol of Laos - is part of a new course called "Interpreting Healthcare in a Global World." The one-unit elective is an opportunity for the FNP students to travel to places such as Laos and Thailand to develop cultural understandings in international healthcare.
Along with providing free medical checkups, the program supports the local community. In recent trips, Dzubur, through work with the Windhorse Foundation, has helped build a preschool and sponsored a small orphanage. The foundation has also bought land in Thailand to create farming projects.
This year the FNP group is helping a local public hospital by buying them a gurney. In conjunction with medical supplies for the clinical screenings, the group also brings bags of clothing, books and vitamin supplements for the villagers.
"I'm really inspired because it's a really pure way of giving back, in that everything that's being donated is going completely toward the people of Laos," said Rodelia Busalpa, BSN, RN, who participated in the trip.