April 2012, Volume 16, Number 2

Features


Caring for the World

Fiama Reyes dreams of one day becoming a doctor. Her conviction in her goal to help others was reaffirmed recently after she and nearly two dozen of her peers from Miami Dade College traveled to Honduras on a weeklong medical mission as part of the MDC chapter of Global Medical Brigades.

Part of the larger worldwide network of more than 12,000 volunteers, the students will travel to Ghana this summer on a similar mission to provide much-needed medical care and supplies to impoverished, underserved communities in the African country.

Life-Changing Experience

For Reyes, who founded the collegewide MDC chapter last year, the trip to her native Honduras was both humbling and eye-opening. “It’s a great experience that I would recommend to anyone – not just students who want to go into the health fields,” said Reyes, a biology major.

Impressively, the students are responsible for raising all the funds to cover the costs of the doctors who staff the mobile clinics, as well as the medicine administered, in addition to the cost of their travel. With the help of their faculty advisor, Chemistry Professor Jorge Salinas, the hardworking group has been busy organizing car washes, bake sales and other fundraisers.

For students interested the medical field, the journey served as an amazing, hands-on learning experience, said Tabitha Baca, president of MDC’s Global Medical Brigades chapter. They had the opportunity to help take patient information and vitals, administer medicine under the supervision of a licensed pharmacist and shadow the doctors during treatment.

Making a Difference

The most rewarding aspect, though, was knowing they were helping people who wouldn’t otherwise have access to or be able to afford medical care. She described talking with one man who woke at 4 a.m. and walked three hours on crutches to receive medical care for his knee, which had become infected after surgery. The students helped more than 800 people during the three-day clinic, which also provided dental and gynecological care.

“This experience shows you can make a difference,” she said.

For more information about MDC’s Global Medical Brigade or to make a donation for the group’s upcoming trip to Ghana, visit www.empowered.org/Medical-Brigades---Miami-Dade-College.

— AMS


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Miami Dade College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate and baccalaureate degrees.
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