In March 2013, Park Scholars Austin Bath ’15, Emily Bissett ’14, Stuart Bumgarner ’14, Shannon Gillespie ’06, and Enioluwafe Ojo ’15 traveled to Santo Domingo, Ecuador to host medical clinics in locations across the city. The group, which included seven other NC State students, one NC State faculty member, and a team of nursing students from Montana State University, worked with medical doctors from both the United States and Ecuador to see more than 500 patients during their ten-day stay.
Bissett and Bumgarner worked with the CSLEPS Alternative Service Break office to plan the trip, which occurred over NC State’s spring break.
“Throughout the year, CSLEPS prepared us as team leaders for what might happen over the course of the trip,” said Bissett, “But they could not have prepared me for my favorite aspect of the trip: watching my team members grow as individuals and as leaders.”
Once in Ecuador, the team checked patients’ vital signs, took medical histories, and provided laboratory and pharmacy services, all the while learning about the local culture and the issues associated with health disparities in the region.
The trip was planned in partnership with Timmy Global Health, an organization that travels to clinic sites in Santo Domingo every two months to provide a continuum of care for patients in the area, specifically working with the Tsachila indigenous community.
Ojo said, “Partnering with Timmy was the highlight of my experience. They exemplified sacrificial service while encouraging us to be the most compassionate, humble caretakers we could be.”
The current Park Scholars who participated are studying fields related to health policy, medicine, and Spanish, and they plan to serve on similar medical mission trips again in the future.
“I had an amazing time,” Bath said. “The trip was an unbelievable experience, and as a future health care provider I would like to return one day as a doctor. While I would like to think we made a sizeable impact during our time in Ecuador, I believe this was just the beginning of a lifelong mission for each of us.”