Nova Southeastern University’s medical school recently expanded its international medical outreach programs to more developing nations with medical and humanitarian aid from students. Countries such as Bangladesh, Peru, and Argentina have been added to the list of nations that already receive medical outreach from NSU’s College of Osteopathic Medicine (COM). Those nations include Jamaica, Ecuador, and the Dominican Republic.
During four recent medical outreach endeavors in December, second-year medical students took time off from their winter vacations to travel abroad to rural and medically underserved communities in Peru, Argentina, Bangladesh, and Jamaica to provide medical services such as physicals, cancer screenings, and other medical examinations. Many of these medically underserved patients from poor, rural communities have never seen a physician and suffer from illnesses such as tuberculosis, scabies, malnutrition, hypertension, and diabetes. The students, supervised by the college’s medical faculty and local physicians, bring medical supplies and provide health and wellness lessons to help patients live healthier lives.
“We decided to expand the medical outreach programs to reach out to more countries that need medical services,” said Robin J. Jacobs, Ph.D., M.S.W., an assistant professor of preventive medicine and psychiatry and behavioral medicine, who administrates the COM international programs. “The outreach programs serve a dual purpose: they benefit patients living in communities that lack sufficient health care and provide our students with hands-on medical training. Also, the experience provides students an opportunity to learn about other cultures.”
In addition to volunteering their vacation time, participating students pay up to $2,000 for their travel expenses. The COM international medical outreach programs will continue this spring with a trip to Ecuador and a summer trip to Jamaica.