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|
After arriving at the airport in Santo Domingo, we gathered with our GLA peers and staff and ate some food. With our new friends and mentors, we boarded a bus and traveled to La Zona Colonial where we stayed at Hostal Primaveral. We took a trip to a pizzeria and walked through the colonial zone and visited the plaza to conclude our night.
The next day we ate breakfast and enjoyed some naturally made jams and juices! We began our journey to our home base in Barahona, this took about 4 hours, but we stopped at a local restaurant in Azua and ate some delicious rice, fried chicken, yucca, and fruit. Upon arrival at El Hotel Quemaito, we settled into our rooms and ate a phenomenal dinner. We had orientation and concluded with our mentor group.
To begin Day 3, we ate eggs, pancakes, bread, jam, mango juice, and scrumptious fruit. Afterwards we gathered our tools and headed to Cachon to help in creating a laboratory for the clinic in the community. Our work consisted of cementing the roof and walls. Along with our hard work we interacted with the children from the neighborhood. After departing to the home base, we had free time and some of the staff took us to the beach. The beach was surreal and very blue! Then, we were introduced to the 7 elements of human security by Jonathan and learned about global health with Chelsea. These lessons will greatly enhance our learning and understanding throughout the program!
By: Maria and Ani
Today was our Medical Orientation Day training. We had breakfast: oat meal, fried cheese, ham, toast and mango. At 9:00 am, we set out for the clinic: Los Patos. We drove through beautiful scenery of crystal blue water and beaches. We spoke to a nurse and two doctors about the healthcare in the Dominican Republic and the programs the clinics offer. They were very welcoming and happy we were there. We headed back to our beachside hotel and ate Pastelón de Plátano Maduro. It was by far a favorite. We began clinical training with a lecture followed by a clinical simulation presented by Doctor Thomas. We practiced our medical brigade, had some free time, then ate dinner. After that, we watched Poverty Inc. and discussed our ideas on the topics presented in the film. Needless to say, it was an amazing day!
Today we got the opportunity to go to the Haitian-Dominican Center. There, we helped construct a multi-purpose room to the building, and played with the local community members. People who were on construction were mixing cement and spreading it on the walls. The people playing with the kids were doing activities like playing volleyball to running around with the children to having dance lessons. The Haitian- Dominican center is a refuge for Dominicans of Haitian descent or Haitian immigrants. This place helps them obtain information about their rights and resources. Michelle is the leader of the center and advocates for all people who enter the center. He is an amazing man and got to learn a lot from him in our Q&A session. We learned about the prejudice Haitians face in this country an how people like Michelle are helping them. After this, we got to go to the beach by our hotel and participate in a leadership activity which taught us about active listening. We had to figure out how to interpret information from people using limited information and come up with creative ways to communicate. Overall it was a great and eventful day!
>Authors: Christina Martin & Sophia Adeghe
This morning we woke up to a power outage that was caused by a tropical storm that was hitting the southern coast of the DR. We didn’t let this stop us from enjoying our adventure day! After yet another delicious breakfast, we headed out to the manroe river. To get to this river, we had to hike up a very challenging, steep hill. When we arrived at the river we were all super excited to jump into the crystal clear water. We took many pictures in our “traje de banos muy bonitos” and explored the rocks and area around us.
For lunch, we went back to the hotel and ate chicken and pasta. Then, we headed back out to the city of Barahona for an exciting scavenger hunt around the city. For this scavenger hunt we had to try local ice cream, find out information about local drinks, and learn more about the city. We truly enjoyed the Dominical culture and the authenticity of local life. After we had a fulfilling grocery shopping experience where we got to load up on snacks. We ended this fun excursion day with dinner and a movie- Another great day in the DR!
Authors: Jane Coghlan and Yue (Alex) Yin
We started our day with breakfast of Fruit Loops and fresh pineapple, and then departed to renovate a lab in the community “Cachon”. First, we worked by sifting through a pile of sand to pull out rocks to refine the sand, then mixed it with cement and water to make the cement a toothpaste consistency. After we started to paint the walls of the lab with the newly made cement. While others were mixing cement, the others were playing soccer with the local kids. Another group scraped off the excess hardened cement on the roof of the lab. Then, at 12:00PM we had lunch, which consisted of pork, rice, beans and salad. Afterwards, the groups switched and we continued work on the lab. Once we were done working, we packed up and road home with DJ Suvar playing music in the bus all the way back to home base. When we arrived, there was a group of merchants that was selling a local rock unique to the Dominican Republic called Larimar. It came in various forms, such as bracelets, necklaces and earrings. They also sold paintings and T-shirts. Dinner time soon arrived which consisted of salad, fruit, tostones and vegetables. Then, we started a lesson on a dance called “Merengue”, which is a traditional Latin American dance. This lesson turned into a miniature dance party, topped of with Keah’s birthday celebration where we ate cake and danced. Finally, we broke off into mentor groups to discuss our day and our general thoughts on the trip so far.
Authors:Kennedy Allan and Jonathan Buckner
Date written: 8/13/17
**Hello, family and friends! DR is receiving severe rain causing the internet to be down. The staff is having a hard time getting blog posts updated! The kids are safe and having fun. Please stay tuned for more updates soon.**
Next, the patients were interviewed with more specific questions related to their medical histories and lifestyles. This was a great opportunity for some of us to utilize our fluency in Spanish and for others to further develop their skills. At the first three stations however, we encountered language barriers with community-members who spoke Creole and did not understand Spanish. Luckily, the patients were very cooperative and we were pleasantly surprised by the universality of gestures for communication. Next, patients were led to the two doctors who accompanied us to the clinic, Dr. Thomas and Dr. Wagner. This was an opportunity for students to shadow medical professionals in a system very unfamiliar to us. Some of us even tried to deduce the diagnosis before the doctors had announced it. Finally, people stationed at the pharmacy prepared and packaged prescribed medication for patients. We saw 51 patients from 10 am to 3:30 pm, and were exhausted yet satisfied by the end.
We arrived back at the hotel for free time at 4:30, some us indulging in showers and naps, while others went straight for the pool. We had an exquisitely cooked dinner at 6, followed by mentor groups at 7. We closed the night with an enlightening lecture about the healthcare systems in both the DR and the United States (with a little info about Canada and France for our international friends!).
We are all in agreement that this experience is flying by faster than we would like, and that we are learning more about ourselves, each other, and the world. We love you and miss you all, but just to let you know we are staying here forever… oops!
-Edith Freeman and Shannon Loehr