The Volunteer Service program for Medical Teams is a special program designed for medical students and professionals to cometogether to serve under-reached rural Dominican communities with much needed medical care. During your time in the DR, your medical team will organize and staff as series of day-long mobile medical clinics treating patients and providing the medications needed.
As a medical professional, you will be able to put your skills to use, making a critical difference in the quality of life for people who often do not have access to medical services. As a medical student, you will be able to work directly with patients while learning from experienced US and Dominican medical professionals.
The People and their Communities
The communities you will visit are selected for their lack of access to reliable medical care. The village has no clinic of its own and is located at a great distance from the nearest clinic or the clinic is highly understaffed and under-resourced. The communities you will visit are high-need due to the the lack of medical services in the region andDuring the clinics you will see all types of patients, although most common are mothers with young children. The most common diagnoses that you will encounter are mild upper respiratory conditions, parasitic infections, fungal infections, anemia, and hypertension. Click to view the full Epidemiology Report as developed by the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine.
The Structure of the Medical Clinics
Each day as a team we will head to a rural community to hold the day's clinic. Clinics are typically held in a local school, church or other public building. Conditions are often rustic and a flexible attitude is needed. Members of your team will operate several stations by which all patients pass through: triage, intake, medical examination, and pharmacy. You will see an average of 200 patients a day in each community. Medical students form a critical part of the clinic's operation and also have opportunities to shadow the physicians.
- Triage: assessment of situation.
- Intake: completion of patient medical form.
- Medical examination: Patient's time with Dominican physician or US physician with translator.
- Pharmacy: patient receives medications as prescribed by physicians.
Putting together the right team for a Medical trip is the first component to a successful trip. While med students from all years can take part, preference should be given to 3rd and 4th year students as they have advanced further in their studies and training. Your group will also need to recruit several US medical professionals to be part of your team. All medical specialties are welcome, but there is a particular need for family physicians, pediatricians, nurse practitioners, and physicians assistants. Finally, it is important to have several people (with or without a medical background) who act as translators. CSA will help provide some translation, but it is important that there is a translator to support each US doctor.
As we seek to provide each patient with multivitamins and the medications prescribed by the doctors, your team will need to work to collect the medications that will be given out during your trip. Before your medical
team's arrival in the Dominican Republic, CSA will work with your group leader to establish the list of medications that your group should bring with you from the US (some medications we will purchase here in the DR because of lower costs). Then at the beginning of your time in the DR, we will work to organize the medications into individual packets to provide to patients as prescribed by the physicians.
The basic list of medications that teams should bring can be found here.
Fun and Relaxation
As a medical volunteer, you'll also have time for fun and adventure! To celebrate a week are hard work, we'll take a sailboat trip to a gorgeous tropic island for a day of swimming and sun. The Dominican Republic has much beauty, both cultural and natural, to explore. So come, eat a tree-ripe mango, dance bachata, and soak in the gorgeous sunshine!
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