GLA’s Global Health Initiative program is a primer for studying medicine or public health in the developing world. A university-level program, it’s designed to give a progressive experience— challenging preconceptions of health with new experiences, and guidance from attending medical and public health professionals working in the field.
Global Health Initiative Itinerary
Please note: Activities may happen on different days due to weather or community needs. This is a tentative itinerary.
|1||Arrival in Santo Domingo and Night in Colonial zone|
|2||Travel to Barahona, Orientation at Homebase and have clinic orientation|
|3||1st Health Brigade|
|4||Repairs and reparation of health facility|
|5||Travel to Jimani Border town and Lago Enriquillo|
|6||2nd Health Brigade|
|7||Town water pump house restoration at the world’s shortest river|
|8||Travel to Cachote cloud forest village|
|9||Repairs and reparation of health facility|
|10||Town water tank restoration|
|11||3rd Health Brigade at Las Filipinas Mining community|
|12||Repairs and reparation of health facility|
|13||Activity Day: Boat ride to Playa De Las Aguilas and snorkel|
|14||Return to Santo Domingo and fly home|
July 23, 2017
Los Patos Clinic
After an overcast breakfast, we traveled one hour to sunny Los Patos to meet with Nurse Urki. Urki told us about the types of services the clinic offers, insurance in the Dominican Republic, government sponsored medical services, and the limited medical service the community receives. These services include family planning, checkups, and vaccinations. The clinic is only open for seven hours each day, five days a week. There are only two doctors and one nurse for 5,000 people in the surrounding community. Additionally, the clinic is unable to provide many types of medications, vaccinations – as Urki only receives thirty percent of the supplies the clinic needs from the government. As a result, the clinic in Los Patos often needs to refer patients to doctors or hospitals half and hour or more away. Urki then took us around the clinic, discussing the lack of proper sterilization supplies, and limited space.
Once we arrived back to home base, we learned about how we will be providing services to the community via medical brigades. After discussing the brigades, we performed mock brigades, with Mabelle as the sickly, spanish-speaking patient, in order to practice taking vitals, speaking Spanish, and interacting with community members. After the brigades we took a quick trip to the beach and relaxed in the pristine waters.
After dinner, we had a lecture with Erin about the seven elements of human security. We also related these securities to current day events. Before bed, we had our second mentor group meeting, and learned more about each other.
Day 3 Group Leaders: Mara Kessler and Alyssandra Deseranno
July 24th, 2017
July 25th, 2017
Today we had an early start to the day, setting out for an adventurous 2 hour bumpy ride on rugged trails up to the mountainous community of Cachote. We worked on renovations of water tanks by adding another layer of cement and new bright blue paint. Teambuilding games and activities helped build communication skills between students. For lunch we had arroz con pollo prepared by ladies of the community. Don Fran gave us a tour of the community and taught us to identify coffee trees and ébano verdes, prized for their timber. We learned about the deforestation and the dedication of Dan Fran to restore the environment to its original condition. Together we meditated on one of the hilltops of Cachote, and had a chance to enjoy complete serenity surrounded by the fruits of Don Fran’s labor. As we rode back we were filled with both a sense of tiredness and fulfillment from our work. Returning to Hotel Quemaito, we had free time to relax, followed by dinner. Then Erin lead us in yoga and leadership activities. We finished our night with mentor discussion about our sights and feelings in the community of Cachote.
-Mirra and Matthew
July 26th, 2016
Los Patos Shortest River
Before engaging in our daily activities some of us woke up early to do early morning yoga on the lawn of the home base. After a refreshing breakfast, we embarked on a 40 inute bus drive to the Los Patos river. There, we had the opportunity to swim and engage with some of the local people. The shallow waters of the river and the palm trees near its shores made for a very scenic environment. After a pleasant swim, we proceeded toe at a mix of local vegetables, chicken and rice. The local stores and restaurants made for a bustling and stimulating environment.
After returning to the home base, we enjoyed a free period of around 2 hours before listening to a lecture on social justice. The discussion structured around the concept of equity providing a more desirable society than one that would only seek to promote the principle of equality and that would not provide equality of opportunity. After the stimulating discussion, we briefly learnt how to dance to bachata music which proved to be embarrassing for some of us. After a meal mainly composed of rice, potato and beetroot salad and chicken, we were divided into groups to argue about the various problems that less favorable societies can face.
By Thomas Hill & Paige Kelly
July 27th, 2017
Jimaní Market & Lago Enriquillo
Today, we ventured out on a three-hour bus ride to the border market between Haiti and the Dominican Republic. The five thirty wake up time was brutal, leading to many of us sleeping on the bus both to the market and back to home base. One group even got to cross the border into Haiti for a few minutes! The marketplace was hectic and the culture shock was real. It was a location in which many people, both Haitian and Dominican, converge to sell products that are not seen on the other side of the border. Shoppers ran frantically trying to purchase their goods and return home to their families. We worked in three different groups to find different items and talk to the shoppers, many of whom only spoke French or Creole.
After an hour at the market, we visited Lake Enriquillo, a landmark for its historical growth over the past decade. Growing over three feet a year for many years, it displaced countless farming families. Upon arriving at the visitor’s center, we were greeted by a family of maybe five or six full size iguanas. These lizards were not shy! They would march right up to us and beg for food (the kinder of us obliged) and scare us by popping out from under the benches. We then went on a boat tour of the river and watched in awe as our tour guide pointed out the many crocodiles that inhabited the extremely salty river. Salt deposits high up on the trees marked where the river once stood and that it was now receding – a hopeful fact for the many wishing to get their land back. During these trips, we learned a lot about race relations and how global warming has a large impact on those in developing and developed countries alike.
By Rachel Tiersky and Bailey Scruggs
Friday, July 28, 2017
As the cockadoodles of our phones could be heard in the brisk dawn, it signaled the start of a new day. Today, we went on our first brigade. Although we had prepared for what was to come, we had no idea what to expect. As we loaded the 4×4’s with all the necessary supplies and people, we embarked on our journey up the mountain to Las Filipinas. After a bumpy ride, we finally arrived at the site. Our team was divided into the various stations to be efficient. We opened the doors at 10 a.m. and began to help the community. We saw patients ranging from a couple months old to 75 years old, from miners to police. We continued to serve for 4 hours and saw a total of 54 patients. It was very successful. We finally came back to home base, and after a couple hours, we had a lecture on environmental security. We made PSA’s on environmental concerns in the Dominican Republic and presented them to the group. After that, we ate dinner, followed by capstone discussions on NGO programs for potential communities with certain insecurities. We finished off with mentor groups and lugged ourselves to bed to rest for the upcoming day.
– Anna Maria and Andrew
29 del julio, 2017
What We Did Today
Hola los padres! On this lovely day of July 29, we woke up at the beautiful time of 7 am to do morning yoga with Anna. After a nice workout in front of the ocean (which consisted of me, Rachel, gracefully falling on my face at least twice), we ate some breakfast and headed out for the day. Rather than our usual work day, we had a free day, which we were all fairly thrilled about. We went to Las morones, a gorgeous river close to home base. Upon our arrival, we were surprised (typical Dominican etiquette ) with a grueling, uphill hike to the river, but it was well worth it! The river was quite refreshing after our trek, and it was a gorgeous blue color. We particularly enjoyed floating downstream, although some (me again) struggled to gracefully float whilst avoiding the rocks. After our river adventure, we came home for a brief lunch and headed out again to the supermarket.
At the supermarket we had the chance to buy those foods we were craving so much. After the market, we headed back to the Home Base and had dinner, which consisted of spaghetti and some delicious empanadas. Later, one of our mentors, Erin, led a presentation on leadership and the important qualities one must posses in order to be an efficient leader. There we also had the chance to test our leadership qualities and divided into groups according to our most valuable quality. Afterwards, we were challenged on an obstacle course around the hotel where our abilities of leadership were tested. In the end, the group that won most activities actually lost the challenge and the other was victorious by showing their capabilities as leaders and teammates. At 7:30 we all watched the movie “Captain Fantastic” and enjoyed some snacks and a discussion about the meaning of the film. We hope to continue enjoying these last few days here in the DR and can’t wait to see you all soon.
-Rachel J & Amalis
July 30th, 2017
Cachon Lab Renovation
We started the day with a nutritious breakfast at eight, and left for Cachon at nine. When we arrived at Cachon, we immediately began to sift and mix fresh cement, which we used to complete the walls of a new lab. We split into two groups, the first group worked with the cement and the second group played with local children. After about an hour, the two groups switched. We worked past noon until a homemade lunch was prepared for us. After lunch we continued to work until two thirty when we began to clean the tools we used and pack up the food, water, and materials into the truck.
We returned back to the home base at three thirty and had an hour and a half of free time, which people used to hang by the pool, and sleep. At five-o-clock, we danced merengue with GHI group B. It was a spicy experience. Dinner was at six, followed by a lecture about health care in the United States and the Dominican Republic. Finally, we ended our day with being with our lovely roommates at nine thirty, and lights out at ten.
– Olivia & Brooke
Day 11 Brigade
Today was lit. We started off the day with delicious pancakes and nutritious eggs along with toast. At 8:45 we departed for Cachon for a jam-packed day of clinic service. We attended to fifty-three locals that needed our attention. Each and everyone one of us contributed in our own way, may that be in vitals, interviews, registration, pharmacy, or data. What was cool about this specific brigade day was that we got to participate in a clinic in which helped renovate. After a hard yet beneficial day of clinical service, we enjoyed a delicious meal of rice, beans chicken and vegetables. Once we had cleaned up it was time for us to head to head back to the home base for a little bit of free time, rap sessions and journal prompting. After writing in our journals, we enjoyed an appetizing meal of dominican soup and rice. Shortly after dinner it was time for us to get into our capstone research groups to continue our discussion about environmental security threats to our specific communities. For Rachel’s birthday we were given the opportunity to celebrate with a dulce de leche cake made by our very own, Freddie. We ended the day with a deep reflection on our time here in the Dominican and what we hope to gain from this experience. Over all, today was a really fun and extra special (Rachel) day.
Over and out, your LO(r)Ds,
Carson and Ru.