UMDNJ Nursing Students, Faculty Join
Medical Mission to Dominican Republic
NEWARK — Nursing students and faculty members from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey will trade the comforts of home for the opportunity to provide healthcare to underserved populations during a medical mission to the Dominican Republic from August 4 to 9.
Thirty students and four faculty members from the UMDNJ-School of Nursing will participate in a Nursing Service Leadership Trip to this island nation. From their base in Santo Domingo, they will travel to impoverished, rural areas to set up makeshift clinics and offer treatment to residents who lack regular access to medical care.
The service trip is co-sponsored by Omicron Pi (the UMDNJ chapter of the Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing), the Consortium of New Jersey Sigma Theta Tau Chapters, and the College of Saint Elizabeth in Morristown. Travelers will be hosted in the Dominican Republic by the Foundation for Peace (http://www.foundationforpeace.org/), which has supported access to education, clean water, healthcare, and economic opportunity in the Dominican Republic for more than 17 years.
“This is by no means a luxury trip,” said Dr. David Anthony Forrester, a trip organizer who serves as professor at the nursing school and president-elect of Omicron Pi. “We will be working hard and living in basic accommodations-exchanging the comforts of home for the chance to advance the health of people in the Dominican Republic.”
The students and faculty will work with local medical professionals in clinics held in schools and other public buildings in rural towns and “bateys” (villages of sugar cane workers). Common conditions treated at such clinics include infections, aches and pains, malnourishment, and the problems of aging, in particular hypertension and diabetes.
Service trip participants are paying their own expenses and collecting medical supplies to bring with them. The students from UMDNJ are enrolled in the Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.S.N.) program, which draws career changers seeking to enter the nursing profession. “This trip will serve as an enlightening experience that will only enhance students’ and faculty members’ professional pursuits,” said Dr. Forrester.
Members of the media who would like to arrange pre- or post-trip interviews may call Terri Guess at (973) 972-3000.
UMDNJ is the nation's largest free-standing public health sciences university with more than 5,700 students attending the state's three medical schools, its only dental school, a graduate school of biomedical sciences, a school of health related professions, a school of nursing and its only school of public health, on five campuses. Last year, there were more than two million patient visits to UMDNJ facilities and faculty at campuses in Newark, New Brunswick/Piscataway, Scotch Plains, Camden and Stratford. UMDNJ operates University Hospital, a Level I Trauma Center in Newark, and University Behavioral HealthCare, a mental health and addiction services network.