Interprofessional Group from SMU Provides Free Care in Panama - Watch the Video!

Friday, October 9, 2015

On August 15-21, 2015, members of the Samuel Merritt University (SMU) community traveled to the small village of Batata in Panama to provide three days of primary, ambulatory care clinics for the indigenous people in the region. On this trip, SMU sent a videographer as to provide a glimpse into the experience. Please enjoy the video below:

"Over six years and eleven trips to Panama, we have brought students from every discipline at SMU and provided care that is unprecedented in the lives of the people we reach," said Mike DeRosa, chair of the Physician Assistant (PA) Department at SMU. "Now, in Batata, we are beginning to realize the ultimate goal of forming a lasting relationship with a single population that will allow us to provide continuity of care over a long term which will enable us to tailor our efforts to the specific health needs of this community."

The group saw nearly 700 patients in three days and built three eco-stoves for selected residents of the nearby village of Agua de Salud. The group consisted of faculty, staff, and students from four universities, and consisted of students and faculty from physician assistant, family nurse practitioner, nursing, pharmacy, physical therapy, and occupational therapy programs.

“While I enjoy providing medical care and physical therapy to this region, it is exciting to see our public health project providing healthier eco-stoves for the indigenous people in this area continue," added Sharon Gorman, Associate Professor, Department of Physical Therapy. "Last year we introduced an eco-stove, building one as a demonstration at the school where we stay and have our medical clinics. This year, on two days, small groups were able to travel to nearby Agua de Salud to build three eco-stoves in that community, for people the community selected. The group built one stove the first day, and on the second day they build another stove while the villagers build the third stove after learning how. And for next year, we have funding to build 10 eco-stoves! It’s really exciting to see this public health measure grow!”

Samuel Merritt University would like to thank the other institutions whose students and faculty participated in the trip - California State University East Bay, San Francisco State University and University of Nevada Reno.

"The interdisciplinary faculty team from Samuel Merritt University and California State University East Bay has been working together facilitating the trips for nearly a decade," said Roberta Durham, CSUEB professor and SMU Professor Allumnus. “We work to improve the health and welfare of indigenous peoples of Latin America, to empower health professions students from the Bay Area to take leadership roles in global health research and practice in Latin America, and to engage in public health interventions that reach the unreachable.”

“Global heath volunteer work provides hands on experiences for health professional students to provide care to vulnerable indigenous populations. Research has demonstrated students that participate in global heath volunteering become better providers and become life long volunteers," Durham added.

Attendees included (44 total; the biggest group yet):

Four SMU faculty from the Physician Assistant (PA) program, Physical Therapy (PT) department, Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)/Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program, and Occupational Therapy (OT) department; one SMU staff from the Health Sciences Simulation Center (HSSC), three SMU alumni (2 RN, 1 PT), and 24 SMU students (4 PA, 3 DPT, 8 BSN, 2 ELMSN, 7 OT)
Other Universities:
One California State University East Bay (CSUEB) faculty (RN), five CSUEB students (BSNs), one San Francisco State University (SFSU) FNP faculty, and one University of Nevada Reno pre-med student
Community Providers:
One Pharmacist, one RN, and one health educator
SMU Videographer:
Benjamin Packard from Retainer Media/SMU

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