Between May 10 and 18 Assistant Professor of Biology Sarah Comstock, Ph.D., led a group of twelve Health Science students on a medical mission trip to Haiti. The trip offered many unique experiences to her students, most of whom are interested in pursuing careers in health care.
Comstock wrote her reflections on the mission in Haiti and its impact on her students and the people they served.
Provost Matt Lucas and his daughter, Abbie, accompanied our team, bringing the Corban total to 15. In addition, the team of 36 was composed of five physicians, a nurse practitioner, a dentist, eight registered nurses and six additional members with various talents and abilities.
We held medical clinics for five of the six full days while we were in the country. The physicians were able to treat approximately 2,000 people during that time. While the impact on the people we visited was significant, I believe the trip had a much stronger, and longer lasting, impact on the students.
Throughout the mission, students had unique opportunities to show the love of Jesus Christ to the people of Haiti. They worked in triage, taking temperatures and blood pressures and interviewing patients about their symptoms. They worked in the pharmacy handing out medications and vitamins to the patients. They worked along-side the providers, helping to diagnose and treat the patients. They also educated the Haitian people about simple, yet crucial, health practices such as hand washing and water sterilization.
I can say, without a doubt, that the students we selected to take on this team represented Jesus Christ and the university well. They worked in the Bible and education station, praying with patients, sharing God’s Word. They worked tirelessly to serve the Haitian people and, when the clinics came to a close, they worked diligently to serve the doctors and nurses on the team.
There were moments when each team member felt like giving up. Partly because of the three hour bus rides in 100 degree heat, because they were being relentlessly tormented by malaria infested mosquitoes and because of the hour-long treks uphill to far away villages. However, they continually relied on Christ as their source and strength.
Our team leaders, Dr. Guesly Dessieux and Nurse Debbie Turrell, should be commended for their guidance. Both have taken several medical mission trips to Haiti. On this trip, they worked together to provide unique encounters for our Health Science students that they would not have had the opportunity to experience in the United States.
During a discussion I had with Doctor Dessieux, he indicated that he, and the team of practitioners and nurses, may have been able to see more patients if they did not have students to train. However, as leaders, their goal is not simply to treat the sick but also to prepare and inspire tomorrow’s physicians and nurses.
Our students came back inspired to dedicate themselves to succeed in their chosen professions in order to “make a difference in the world for Jesus Christ.” While they understood that the physical impact they made during the week in Haiti may have been minimal, they were able to share Christ’s love and make an everlasting, eternal impact.
Thank you all for your prayers, encouragement and support!