Our blog has moved!

You should be automatically redirected in 6 seconds. If not, visit
and update your bookmarks.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Off we go! (first in a series)

On Friday, March 5, a group from the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing will travel to the Dominican Republic armed with food, medicine, and clothing to work in partnership with Dominican nursing and medical students to serve one Haitian refugee community. During the trip, Emory nursing students will provide health screenings and share their knowledge about accessing the internet for health information. They will also accompany Dominican nursing students on home visits and elementary school visits.

Be sure and follow our nursing students' alternative spring break all week on


And so months of anticipation draw to a close as we meet each other to board our flight to Santo Domingo…

We’re all very excited to be participating in this trip. As a team, we’re a pretty diverse group – a handful of junior-year students, some seniors and a graduate student, and not to mention our faculty! Our interests and career goals range from midwifery to adult and emergency care. It can be said that our Spanish levels are as varied as each one of us, from having lived and worked in Spanish-speaking countries to being native speakers … it can also be said that a few of us have spent the last few months frantically brushing up on verb conjugations…

It’s a very special moment to be participating in this trip as well. The earthquake that struck Haiti’s capital in January left behind an estimated death toll of more than 200,000, as well as leaving countless others struggling to find food, shelter, and access to health care in a country that has already been wracked by trouble. As can be imagined, the situation for the displaced following this disaster has touched the Dominican Republic as well.

Following the earthquake, many of us felt a strong desire to somehow include some degree of service to the survivors, either directly or indirectly, as part of our overall trip objectives. Jennifer Foster, associate professor of nursing, contacted her colleagues, and in time, a joint operativo was developed, in which we will work alongside local nursing and medical students in providing care to Haitian evacuees in a local clinic in Santo Domingo.

Thus, our first full day in-country will be spent in a clinic with local students from the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo, assisting in the care of evacuees … it’s hard to imagine at the moment; we’ve seen images and read accounts of the disaster, and it’s hard to think of how our seemingly small efforts may fit into such a larger picture.

Part of our planning process these last few months has been to collect medical supplies to contribute to the operativo, ranging from gauze pads and suturing kits to shampoo and baby clothes. Abby Weil 11N and Yvonne Hewitt 11N donated their time at MedShare, an Atlanta-based nonprofit organization that seeks to reclaim unused medical supplies for overseas donation. We spent this evening dividing up the supplies and packing them into our bags…

In addition to preparing for the operativo, we held a general fundraiser to raise money in the purchase of additional supplies…we received a generous donation on the part of Tony and Cathy Weil, and for those of you who helped support our efforts by purchasing a Caribbean lunch – THANK YOU! Dr. D’s friend Gail (a professional caterer) cooked almost 70 authentic Caribbean lunches for us to sell during a lunch-and-learn on campus, and boy…that was some good eatin’…

Overall, it’s very exciting to join in the longstanding relationship between Emory’s Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing and clinical staff at the public hospital in San Francisco de Macoris. The rest of our week will be focused on community health issues related to maternity and newborn health, as well as a final “capstone” of sorts, in which we’ll make a health presentation to our Dominican hosts … details to come, as it’s still vague to us too ;)

Hasta la proxima,

-- Abby Weil 11N and Hunter Keys 11N, students, Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing

No comments:

Post a Comment