While “Texas” may be in our name, we’re making a real impact in health care needs around the world. The School of Rural Public Health is actively working to create a presence that allows it to build collaborative teams for addressing significant public health problems through expanded teaching, service and research initiatives benefitting the local population. In keeping with this global initiative commitment, Dean Craig Blakely, Ph.D., M.P.H., and President Dr. Nancy W. Dickey, M.D., recently returned from a visit to Nigeria, Kenya, and Saudi Arabia for further discussions on providing public health training and research in these areas of the world.
In addition, during spring break, students from the College of Medicine Christian Medical Association went on a medical mission trip to Lima, Peru. More than 60 volunteers ranging from premed to medical students, nurses and doctors delivered medical care to more than 1,600 people in four locations that may be the only care they receive all year. Services included diagnosing illnesses, prescribing medication, providing glasses and offering health education. For the past 14 years, the student association has led similar trips to developing countries such as Mexico and Uganda.
For a third consecutive year, our inter-professional service learning team will travel to Quesimpuco, Bolivia, this time from May 30-June 9. Joining Dr. Regina Bentley, EdD, RN, CNE, and Dr. Dickey will be students and faculty from nursing, medicine, dentistry, public health and pharmacy as they set up a clinic and go into the community as a team to assess patients unable to come to the clinic. A small team will travel to an even more remote village for two days to provide health care and begin establishing relationships for future trips. A public health student will assist Oscar Munoz from Texas A&M University in providing education on how the community can make its own water filters. An educational focus will be placed on prevention and treatment of dehydration, respiratory infections, basic hygiene, and prenatal and postnatal care for mothers and infants.